Pastor Doug Wilson says ministers who voted for Obama are unfit, but his comments raise questions about his own ministry.

Pastor Doug Wilson says ministers who voted for Obama are unfit, but his comments raise questions about his own ministry.

Doug Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, says that pastors who voted for Barack Obama in the last election should resign.

“Any evangelical leader — by which I mean someone like a minister or an elder — who voted for Obama the second time, is not qualified for the office he holds, and should resign that office,” Wilson wrote in a blog post dated October 14. “Unless and until he repents of how he is thinking about the challenges confronting our nation, he should not be entrusted with the care of souls.”

Voting for Barack Obama, Wilson said, “exhibits a fundamental condition of cluelessness” because the President is pro-choice.

Forty-two percent of Protestants and 50% of Catholics voted for Barack Obama in 2012, according to Pew Research. This includes 95% of black Protestants.

In his post, Wilson took special aim at African-American Christians:

Not only must the dignity of human life be upheld by white and black Christian leaders alike, to the extent we may allow any differences, it should be to expect a greater vehemence in opposing abortion (in the person of its advocates and enablers) from black leaders. This is because it is their people who are being disproportionately targeted by the white Sangerites. And a black Christian leader who cannot identify a Sangerite is a rabbit leader who does not know what a hawk looks like.

He later likened voting for Barack Obama to German leaders voting for Hitler.

Wilson has quite a following, particularly among Reformed Christians. He’s written numerous articles for Mark Driscoll’s “Resurgence” blog, has shared a stage with popular pastor John Piper, and his book on fathering was released by Christian publisher Thomas Nelson in 2012. He has more than 16,000 twitter followers.

From the outset, let me say that I am unashamedly pro-life. I believe that the culture of abortion in our country will be judged as a blemish in our history by future generations. Abortion is one of the most significant moral issues of our time.

Yet, I would never argue that a pastor who voted for Barack Obama should resign his post. And I say this because of my allegiance to the Bible, not in spite of it. The Bible talks extensively about the qualifications for a pastor, most directly in the books of Titus and 1 Timothy. But even though it lists more than a dozen requirements from those who should hold that office, it does not list anything resembling a political requirement.

In fact, the Apostle Peter in his first epistle says that pastors should be examples to their flocks. He does this just three chapters after he tells the faithful to “honor the emperor.” This does not sound very extreme to modern readers, but a first century audience would know that the emperor was known for approving mass murder of the Jewish people.

As I pointed out in my book, A Faith of Our Own, just before Christ’s birth, Roman armies rolled through Galilee, burning down villages and killing innocents. Any who resisted their rule were tortured and often executed to deter mass rebellion. Sometime around or after Jesus’ birth, the Roman general Varus gathered the rebels in and around Jesus’ hometown and crucified about two thousand men.

Yet, Peter told believers to honor this emperor? Maybe Wilson thinks the surly apostle should have resigned his post too.

By all accounts, Doug Wilson jumped the shark a long time ago.

He expressed disturbing views on slavery in his pamphlet “Southern Slavery, As it Was.” Speaking fondly of the “unexpected blessings” of slavery, Wilson said, “slavery produced in the South a genuine affection between the races that we believe we can say has never existed in any nation before the War or since.”

In 2005, Wilson also insinuated that gays and lesbians could be executed by law in some circumstances:

This is what happens when people comb through my words without reading them. “Yes, they will say, but notice that even if you don’t believe in the death penalty for homosexual behavior in all circumstances, you have (by implication) said that there could be occasions when it is called for. Admit it!” Okay, I admit it.

As support, he cited Leviticus 20:13, which states that those who commit sexual acts with someone of the same gender should be put to death.

“I also believe that the law of the Old Testament was the model for our common law system,” Wilson commented,  “and our system should work in the same way.”

He added that “killing homosexuals is pretty much a non-priority for me” since AIDS is claiming so many lives in the LGBTQ community.

These comments are only the tip of the outrageous iceberg that is Doug Wilson’s public record.

While there is not a political requirement for pastors in scripture, the Bible does say that they should not be quarrelsome, but peacemakers, self-controlled, gentle, humble, and respectable. Given these requirements and the comments above, who do you think should be penning a resignation letter right now?

151 Comments

  1. Here we get a glimpse of Wilson’s racism and homophobia. But he’s also a misogynist:

    He wrote: “In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage.”

    He also said that “sex is something I do to my wife, not with my wife.”

    When I called him out on this publicly, he mocked and slandered me and called a friend of mine a “dyke,” which is a homophobic slur.

    The Reformed crowd, particularly Piper and the Gospel Coalition, has been nothing but supportive of him in spite of his fringe views. It really blows my mind.

    They have so little tolerance of even he slightest doctrinal difference, but you can cal gay and lesbian folks cruel, hateful names and shrug off slavery as no big deal, and you’re still in the “club.”

    Frustrating.

    • There’s a significant problem among many Christians (kudos to Jonathan Merritt in this case) for not exposing the Pharisees in modern day Christianity.

      Douglas Wilson is a pharisee, fueled by hate, he appeals to those who live by hate, with poison oozing out of his mouth. It’s people like this that continue to cause the decay of Christianity, and a lack of legitimate Christians saying “No, this is not what we stand for.”

    • Brand development.

      “Thanks for your patience, wisdom, support, and willingness to call me on my crap. You’ve helped me grow my brand, yes, but you’ve also made me a better person. I hope we get the chance to really know one another someday.”

      • This bothered me enough that I did a bit of looking into it, and sure enough, Wilson describes feminists as women who have frustrated, unfulfilled rape fantasies. Where? In his book on fatherhood of all places. Check Father Hunger, p.55 and then pp.141-2. Oh, and you can read these in context for free on amazon. No need to give this bad man any money.

    • Oooh, I just vibe with the love oozing and flowing from your post. I don’t hesitate to disagree with pastor Wilson on his own blog, and I don’t think he’s censored me. (And this blog is nicely open to varied responses here.) Look, a doctor who tells all his patients “You’re healthy” when some of them need drastic treatment is in a way hating his patients, however nicely he says it. A doctor who diagnoses and prescribes accurately is loving them, and the example of God in Scripture shows that simple niceness need not be the only way he talks in expressing love. So if triune Dr. Jehovah diagnoses all sex outside Adam-and-Eve type marriage as serious (repentable and forgivable) sin, and prescribes repentance, any doctor who says anything else is a hater, who lacks an element of love than any doctors who follow Him have, whatever elements they may lack. Paul preached so Felix or Festus trembled, and if Nero heard him I suspect the same. Would Jonathan preach so President Obama would tremble?

    • Doug Wilson is not a racist or a homophobe. You aren’t making a valid argument for your statements, nor is the author being honest in his portrayal of Doug Wilson by yanking a stub of an a blog post out of the whole. You should read some of his stuff…you might not agree with most of it, but at least you won’t accuse him of being a racist, nor will you come away thinking he has “an intense fear of” homosexuals.

      • I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time reading Douglas Wilson’s writings and I’m still convinced that’s he a racist, misogynist and a homophobe. He’s smart, he’s funny, and he’s a TERRIBLE representative of the gospel.

  2. It’s a shame that he can not harness his energy to do good and bring light into the world. I’d like to believe he does not understand the error of his deceptive ways, but I am not sure of that…his controversial approach gets attention and sells books. Making money off of hate is always disgusting. I don’t think he should resign, he should be fired.

  3. Thanks for posting this, Jonathan. People like Wilson call themselves pro-life and have no problem condemning Democrats — yet Democrats are standing up for poor people and people who have no insurance and can’t get any (my wife and I were both denied health insurance. I was denied because I have a vertebral abnormality, revealed on a scan, which gives me precisely zero symptoms!) I don’t say Obamacare is perfect, but I do appreciate that it allows people like myself to be covered. Republicans love to blather on about being pro-life (and good for them for their real defense of pre-born babies), but they basically take the stance: we’ll defend life in utero, but good luck after they’re born! It’s pro-life to allow people to get affordable medical care! It’s anti-life to deny people medical care! In America, it’s so often the case that dollars are more important than persons.

    • Mark, here’s you argument in a nutshell: Obama is a staunch defender of abortion – the murder of one million American citizens each year – but that isn’t reason enough to condemn him because he does some good things too.

      One million children. Each year.

      But, dang it, he got me healthcare coverage, so of course he’s a good guy!

  4. I have long been distressed by Douglas Wilson’s views, and even this roundup of horrific quotations is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s distressing that he gets a hearing in relatively more mainstream quarters, but it is equally distressing to observe the little empire he has built for himself: a denomination, an association of Christian schools, a publishing house, a magazine, a college, and more, and his family is all tied in with it. I can’t help but find that a bit suspicious just on the face of it.

  5. Dear Rachel,

    The “Reformed” have not all that supportive of Wilson. In fact, those who confess the Reformed faith, as defined in the Reformed confessions, have been quite critical of his theology. Several Reformed denominations (e.g., The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, The Presbyterian Church in America, The Reformed Church in the United States, and the United Reformed Churches in North America) have either published reports or adopted ecclesiastical statements of various sorts expressly rejecting Wilson’s theology.

    Further, there are several books and websites published by confessional Reformed authors (as individuals) explicitly rejecting Wilson’s theology, including his plagiarized work on slavery. I myself have been pointing out his errors on the doctrine of salvation, the doctrine of the church, slavery, and theonomy— the latter of which is the fuel for much of what he writes, which Jonathan has highlighted in this post.

    It is true that there are popular evangelical figures (e.g., John Piper, Justin Taylor) who have uncritically embraced Wilson. Those of us in the confessional Reformed world, however, do not necessarily except the “young, restless, and ‘Reformed'” as authentically Reformed. Few in this movement are members of actual Reformed ecclesiastical bodies or subscribe Reformed confessions practice a piety that is recognizably Reformed. The YRR movement is mostly composed of Evangelicals who have discovered the doctrine of predestination. That one qualifier is hardly sufficient to make them Reformed or else Thomas Aquinas was Reformed and that is absurd.

        • Some critic of Wilson at Westminster Seminary West wasn’t hospitable, on his blog, to comments from a friend-with-reservations of Wilson. Wilson himself seems to allow critics to comment pretty freely.

        • “The Reformed crowd, particularly Piper and the Gospel Coalition, has been nothing but supportive of him in spite of his fringe views. It really blows my mind.”
          Seemingly, you haven’t checked out the discussion between him and Thabiti A. on his writings about slavery at Thabiti’s Gospel Coalition blog. You might want to check those posts out, Rachel. I certainly wouldn’t consider those “nothing but supportive”.
          And I do think its wrong for someone to call a lesbian the term starting with d, or anyone else. Of course, it’s also wrong to knowingly serve communion to a non-celibate glbt person, or non-celibate unmarried “straight” person as well, per I Corinthians 6:9-11, until they repent.

      • Rachael Starke

        Rach,

        There are plenty of us within the TGC ecosystem who choose a kind of Prov. 26:4 when it comes to the eloquent ranters. Others, such as Thabiti Anyabwile, agree with Bonhoeffer that not to speak is to speak, and so they have, pretty firmly. TGC may appear to many to be a type of Reformed Magisterium, but it’s not.

    • “The YRR movement is mostly composed of Evangelicals who have discovered the doctrine of predestination. That one qualifier is hardly sufficient to make them Reformed or else Thomas Aquinas was Reformed and that is absurd.”

      Love it! I tend to use the phrase neo-Reformed when referring to the YRR crowd, since it hints at their own self-understanding without equating them with historic Reformed denominations.

    • Brian Josiah Alldredge

      Are you serious, Clark? You are so concerned about Wilson’s views that you are going to take common cause with RHE? You should be embarrassed. Wilson is lightyears closer to your views on the faith than RHE and others of her ilk. This is just lame.

      • Rachael Starke

        Brian, to borrow a page from the StrangeFire book of church polity, if we don’t call out our own outliers, outsiders will. And they’re right to do it. We’re not citizens of ad hominem land, no matter how much with talk in its accent.

  6. To be honest, I find myself in the YRR crowd and yet still critical of much of what Doug Wilson writes. I find his quoted statement on executing homosexuals to completely miss Christ’s work of substitutionary atonement, yet I do believe that the Old Testament texts that command this should point us toward how seriously God takes all sexual sin, including homosexuality. I think modern Christians don’t feel the weight of these texts, and that is a source of much sin in the Church.

    I’m honestly at a fork in the road when in comes to his statement about evangelical leaders who voted for President Obama the second time needing to resign.

    As far as Merritt’s call for Wilson to resign, I do believe that Scripture’s command to “honor the emperor” is still a command for us today, but I don’t believe that command means we should like or approve of an ungodly emperor, or President.

    What if Peter’s audience had the ability to vote out Nero? What if they had the ability to end the real persecution, torture, and murder of Christians and countless others just by raising awareness, pointing out the wicked deeds of the emperor of their day, and calling on Christians to vote for a more godly emperor? I think we’d be fooling ourselves to believe that Peter wouldn’t encourage this. I do believe there is a way to honor the position of the President and press Christians to see how the current man who holds that office is blatantly pressing toward things that are completely unbiblical. Finding that balance takes much discernment and wisdom, and maybe we should more readily extend grace to those who aren’t able to find it as easily as others.

    • Clearly Rome was not a democracy. But Paul (and other early Christians) did far more than suggest that since we can’t do anything about it we should just ignore it.

      Paul’s Jesus is Lord, so Ceasar is not show some of the lines that early Christians were drawing. But in spite of the familiarity of the psalms, I see no evidence that any early Christian called for praying for the death of the Emperor. But US a number of US Christians have call for praying for the death of Obama. (And to be fair a number of US Christians have rightly spoken out against that.)

      It just seems to me that current political tensions are ahistorical right now. We are not at a point where the whole world is going to end, the disunity of the US while on the high end, is not anywhere close to civil war (although a lot of people literally think we are on the verge of a military civil war.)

      I am pro-life, but I am democrat and while I certainly can see why many people vote republican, I don’t understand why so many republicans can’t see reasons that a reasonable Christian would vote democrat.

      I also think it is short sighted to suggest that more democrats should be publicly pro-life. Especially since the pro-life movement actively campaigned against pro-life democrats and was primarily responsible for the lost of almost all pro-life democrat house seats in the past 10 years.

        • I was thinking of Psalms 109:8-9 (Let his days be few; Let another take his office. 9Let his children be fatherless And his wife a widow) which I have seen more than once as bumper stickers and facebook posts referencing Obama.

    • Marcus Johnson

      The desire for a “godly” president, for me, seems about as laughable as the desire for a healthy meal from McDonald’s. Sure, you can insist on it, but it’s not going to happen. Best to just let that dream die, and live in a reality in which the task of spreading the gospel is in the hands of the church, not a president.

      And now on to other parts of your argument:

      a) What if Peter’s audience had the ability to vote out Nero?

      Obama is not Nero, so I wouldn’t come close to that analogy in my argument. Doesn’t matter how much you disagree with the policies of the current administration (and I have plenty), there is no call for making a comparison between the two leaders.

      Also, that question is a pretty moot point. If the citizenry of the Roman empire (and, especially, the Christian church) had that kind of political freedom to overthrow a dictator through a simple vote, then Nero–by definition–could not be a dictator, and persecution of the kind sustained by the early church could not have existed in the Roman empire.

      b) What if they had the ability to end the real persecution, torture, and murder of Christians and countless others just by raising awareness, pointing out the wicked deeds of the emperor of their day, and calling on Christians to vote for a more godly emperor?

      I would refer first to my previous point about the illogical nature of your hypothetical. However, let’s pretend that your hypothetical–in which a hypothetical Roman empire with such freedoms of speech and assembly can also, somehow, be fraught with brutal religious and political persecution–makes any sense. In that case, I honestly believe that the apostles would suffer unto death (as they did in real life) and let their martyrdom be a witness to the rest of the empire.

  7. We obviously do not serve and love the same Lord and Savior. I think it is so sad that some who claim to love the Lord seem to thrive in hateful rhetoric and pointing fingers at certain sins that are on their “most terrible list”. I still believe that sin is sin and that your sins of lying, theft, cheating and sex out of marriage, just to name a few, are just as hurtful to our sovereign God. I would encourage this man to leave the Torah just occasionally and visit the book of John and the other wonderful books of the NT.

  8. Pharasaism seems to be running rampant 2000 years after Jesus called it out to their faces. Not only is there no political test as a requirement for church leadership, his use of the phrase “care of souls” shows he’s adding a duty to the leadership role as well. Nowhere does any New Testament writer – as far as I’m aware – say that care of souls is a pastoral duty. My soul is cared for by the Holy Spirit who dwells within me, not by my pastor.

    Thanks for identifying yet another Pharisee, JM.

    Tim

    • P.S. I just read his response to you at his blog. He inexplicably concludes with reliance on the Noahic Covenant. Does he not know that we are under a New Covenant and those that came before are obsolete? “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13.)

        • Tim,

          Doug was being sarcastic about the fact that most people following 2 kingdom theology, those like Scott Clark in the comments above, want to rely heavily on the Noahic covenant as the only one applicable to all human societies. Advocates of 2 kingdom theology say that society’s laws should be secular and not reflect specifically Christian views because the kingdom of God is totally separate from the kingdom of man.

          Doug was sarcastically joking that if that is the case, then these people who say that a pastor’s view on pro-abortion politicians has no effect on his ministry should also consistently say that in the 1950s, a pastor’s view on segregated schools should have had no effect on his ministry. After all the Noahic covenant doesn’t say anything about segregated schools. However, as even extreme 2 kingdomers would disagree with that and say that the Church should have stepped out and condemned segregation, Doug is concluding that 2k theologians are inconsistent. Pastors should be equipped and ready to discern and confront cultural evils wherever and whenever thy occur. If a pastor turns a blind eye to the genocide of over 50 million people (the death toll claimed by abortion in America from 1978 – 2008), then, Doug reasons, perhaps he is not qualified to be a pastor.

          • Thanks Rick. I can see how it might have been sarcasm now that you mention it. I missed it for all the flippancy. Got to bone up on my reading skills. Glad I’m not cramming for the SATs any more.

          • Probably so, thanks Andrew. Keeping watch is not the same as having responsibility to care for our souls, though.

    • ” . . care of souls is [not] a pastoral duty.”

      Honestly, some bloggers/commenters seem determined to alienate occasional readers to the point of sheer exasperation. Do we have to play childish semantic games with words and phrases? For God’s sake grow up!

  9. Anyone having so little regard for representative democracy envisioned by the American experiment and guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution, the value of pluralism in American culture, religious freedom that insures that no one can force his or her religious beliefs (or non-belief) on another and the freedom and duty of citizens to vote as they see fit should consider renouncing any claim to US citizenship. Christ is Lord of the church, I really don’t care what a racist, homophobic bigot has to say about my or anyone else’s pastoral leadership.

  10. Serious question—and I admit this came from Wilson’s response on his blog, but I am wondering nonetheless—why do you bring up his views on slavery and civil laws regarding homosexuals? Aren’t those political issues? I thought the Bible’s qualifications for elders did not have a political component. Not trying to be snarky—I’m legitimately wondering why you did that.

    Furthermore, there is a big difference between honoring an existing emperor (in a system where Christians do not have a political voice) and supporting an emperor (in a system where Christians do have a political voice). I seriously doubt Peter would have encouraged Christians to vote for Nero.

    • Marcus Johnson

      Seeing as how Nero was a dictator, and Roman citizens had no concept of the kind of representative democracy America has today, I agree; Peter would not have encouraged Christians to vote for Nero. He also would not have encouraged them to drive fuel-efficient cars.

  11. The author states: “I believe that the culture of abortion in our country will be judged as a blemish in our history by future generations”. The author goes on to say that it is “outrageous” to liken voting for Obama to Germans voting for Hitler. Why is it outrageous? Just stating it does not make it so. In this article I see a lot of critism of the person of Wilson, but very little real engagement with the substance of his point. Pulling out some of Wilsons more controversial quotes may be useful for rallying the troops behind you, but it does very little to further the quest for truth.

    I have read quite a bit by Wilson and I do not fall in lockstep with everything he says, but I can say that he is very well reasoned and consistent in his thinking. He also delves into areas of scripture that are difficult to deal with (e.g. slavery), that few seem to have the courage to grapple with. You may not like his conclusions, but he at least attempts to interperet scripture consistently.

    I would enjoy a well argued engagement with Wilson on this issue, unfortunately, from what I’ve read so far, you may not currently be up to the task. I hope you will spend a little more time thinking about this and come back more prepared.

    • Wilson is consistent, but I am not sure about well reasoned. Slavery has been considered inconsistent with Christian theology for quite a while. There is quite a bit about why it is not inconsistent with scripture to suggest that because no where is scripture says that it is sinful to have slaves, that it would be also true to say that having slaves is not sinful. I have not read everything that Wilson has written about slavery. But what I have read seems to be re-hashing a lot of arguments from the 1850s.

      Mark Noll’s book The Civil War as Theological Crisis is a very good book about the part of Christian history. There is not really a good reason that we should need to rehash those arguments at this point. But if you want to read about them I would encourage you to do so. Wilson is not only not orthodox on this point, he is well outside of virtually all of evangelical Christianity on this point.

      • I don’t really want to get into all of the slavery issues in this forum, but obviously Wilson’s views on the subject are not mainstream Christian thought today…that’s what makes them controversial. However that has only been true for the last 100+ years or so and I don’t think the average Christian has really grappled with the issue (nor do I neccesarily think they should be since it’s not a very current issue). I also don’t think that the average Christian has a clue as to what was being debated by Christians during the time slavery existed in America. We’ve just been taught that slavery was bad and anyone who was for it was too. If someone suggests that it was more nuanced then that they are fairly quickly labeled a racist. I find this really ironic given many of those same people demand we take a more nuanced approach to the major moral issue of our day namely abortion.

        • I don’t want to get into a fight over slavery either. But the hermeneutical issues are important. The problem is that Wilson is fighting over the slavery, not the hermeneutical issues. Yes the average Christian has not spent a lot of time looking into thing. But there are plenty of academic Christians that have and basically none of them support Wilson’s position.

          So while I agree that we should not be automatically calling him a racist, the fact that he continues to suggest that he is right, in the face of a lot of evidence to the contrary is disturbing.

          I just don’t see the nuance to his arguments. Maybe I have not read the right things. He is advocating a Biblicist position that is contrary to the way the the majority of Evangelicals (and Christians throughout history) have understood the reading of scripture.

        • I just went and watch a longish video of him trying to address how he is usually misunderstood in regard to slavery. And I think I have probably misunderstood him at least to an extent (he also cited Noll’s book).

          But he still seems to be pushing an historically ignorant position. In the video I just watched he suggests that there is racism in the US because of the civil war, that it was primarily southerners that were against the slavery prior to the civil war and he doesn’t quite say, but hints that if the north had just ignored the south that slavery would have gone away in a couple of years and the country would not have split. All three of which are pretty questionable points.

          He also suggests that the real point of his work on slavery was as a connection to abortion (which makes sense to me). But he misses lots of problematic connections.

  12. Jason Chatraw

    Seriously, I want to know why any pastor would ever promote any political position from the pulpit? A pastor’s charge is to preach the Word and care for his flock. Whoever is leading our country — or misleading our country as is most often the case — does not change who is ultimately in charge of our lives. Pastors are supposed to plant seeds that make room for the Holy Spirit to change hearts, not attempt to make people change their minds. … I suggest we ignore comments like these and quit extending the platform of pastor’s like Wilson.

    • Two corrections: First, Merritt is critiquing something that appeared on Wilson’s blog. Second, the rebuke is appropriate for both blog and pulpit because the life of the unborn is a moral issue, not simply a political one.

  13. Jonathan, how are your critiques of Wilson’s comments on homosexuality and slavery not every bit as political as his critique of pastors who have, through their voting, assisted enabling abortions? How can he not be allowed to call for pastoral resignations for political stances but you are allowed to? Seems you are trying to have it both ways.

    • Marcus Johnson

      Jonathan is not asking pastors to resign just because they voted for Romney. Political affiliations are not a standard by which a minister should be judged. That’s the big difference between him and Wilson. You can’t be that oblivious to such an obvious difference.

      Merritt does, however, occasionally call for so-called spiritual leaders to step down when they have reached a point in their ministry in which they have become so entangled in their personal political platform that they start to view other people as enemies or threats to the church. That entanglement has nothing to do with the gospel, and is evidence of a pastor’s worthlessness in spreading the gospel.

      • Wilson’s worldview says that Christ is Lord of all, in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). Therefore there is no area in the affairs of men in which Jesus’ authority should not properly be acknowledged, including how someone votes. FYI, Wilson would also not vote for a white Republican presidential candidate who is pro-choice.

        So, you may not agree with Wilson, but at least he is acting consistently with his worldview and with Scripture as he interprets it. When Merritt attacks Wilson’s pastoral qualifications using the very same categories he just chided Wilson for using on others, it wreaks of hypocrisy.

        You’ll have to excuse me…I’m not part of the Merritt et al. mutual admiration society that most of the other commentors seem to have signed up under.

        • Marcus Johnson

          I definitely agree with you that Wilson “is acting consistently with his worldview and with Scripture as he interprets it.” I’ve done my research on him, and this latest statement is by no means inconsistent with his worldview.

          However, his worldview is incredibly biased and skewed, and lends itself to a belief structure that allows him to make up rules about pastorship that have nothing to do with Scripture or sound doctrine. Voting for Obama is not an endorsement of abortion; given this past election, most folks (including myself) believed that Obama just happened to be the better of two really crappy choices.

          And, of course, the lordship of Jesus Christ should underscore every decision that one makes. That doesn’t mean that a voting decision means that someone is for or against Christ. We’re going to see Republicans and Democrats, Romney and Obama voters in heaven. If Wilson can’t get with that reality, maybe he should question whether or not he really wants to go there.

          So I agree with Merritt, although I’m not sure what this “admiration society” is to which you refer. Is there a membership fee? Club T-Shirts?

          • Hi Marcus, Wilson also would agree that there will be Romney and Obama voters in heaven. He isn’t saying that Christians in general who voted for Obama aren’t true Christians, nor is he saying that Christian leaders who voted for Obama aren’t true Christians. He is saying that Christian church leaders who voted for Obama, and therefore knowingly (note Wilson says “2nd term”) for a pro-abortion agenda (one which in the US is biased against African Americans by the stats), are not fit to continue in their leadership positions unless they repent of how they cast their vote last time round. That’s what he’s saying. So far, no one in the comments has come close to making a case opposing what he actually said, least of all Merritt in his original post. Based on the writings of the two gentlemen, if I were an unborn baby, I would much rather have Wilson in my corner than 100 Merritts.

            Not sure about the fee or tee-shirts but if I find out I’ll let you know.

            Blessings.

          • Marcus Johnson

            So, Christians who vote for Obama can be “true” Christians (without “repenting” of their voting decision), but if they are pastors, then it’s wrong and they should resign? I had to do a double take there. I’m not seeing where the logic works. How does a pastor’s voting decision impact their ability or qualifications to lead, if their decision makes them no less of a Christ follower than their parishioners? Explain.

          • Big difference, Marcus. Go read the passages on qualifications for church elders/pastors and what they are called to in their ministry. Then read Wilson’s own thoughts on it, say in Mother Kirk, than read Merritt’s post again. Wilson is calling for pastors/elders to either repent or step down, not saying they can’t be forgiven. Church leaders are called to a higher standard because they are leading and their lives are supposed to be examples their churches may follow. If a pastor is enabling a known abortion advocate and expander of the practice, his church, or at least some of them, will follow his lead.

          • Marcus Johnson

            I read those passages. None of them specifically address the complex situation that is a voting decision. Healthcare, job growth, economic stability, national security, education reform, immigrant policy reform–all of those issues were on the table when someone voted for either Obama or Romney. Oh, and there was also abortion. It would be incredibly asinine to vote for a president based on just one issue, even if the voter was a pastor. That’s a really complex decision, and it is equally asinine to ask a pastor to resign from office just because they vote for a candidate that identifies the wrong way on one issue. And I hope that a pastor would feel safe to explain the complexity of his decision, and encourage his church to struggle with that decision as well and follow his lead.

            Also, it should be noted that the abortion rate declined in Obama’s first year. As in “less abortions.” I wouldn’t be surprised if, when the ACA gets its kinks worked out, that rate drops further.

  14. I’m not sure you really dealt with the content of his position. He didn’t say that having voted incorrectly disqualifies someone from pastoral office. He said that voting incorrectly in this particular instance reveals underlying issues which disqualify one from pastoral office.

    I can understand your general frustration with Wilson, his writing, his particular emphases, some of his more controversial positions and statements, and especially this particular position. However, you didn’t even begin to address the content of his position – you just emoted against the man.

    • Hear, hear. I do not agree with every single statement I have read by Douglas Wilson, but have read many of his books and follow his blog, and I don’t recognize him from the descriptions here. He is not racist, nor homophobic, nor misogynist, so far as I can tell (and yes I’ve read much of the stuff about blacks/slavery and women! – though this was the first quote I’d come across about homosexuality).

      I assume the point of Mr. Merritt’s blog post was to be inflammatory, not to have a real discussion. Anyone seriously interested in what Mr. Wilson thinks really should read his stuff themselves – including clarifications (and even apologies) about previous writings.

      • Yes, you can take just about anything out of context and twist it so that it sounds like what you want. People should actively research a matter before they try to discuss it. Not just read someone else’s view then make judgements. Just in the few articles referenced, Merritt completely missed what Wilson was actually saying.

  15. Wilson on abortion here doesn’t seem all that surprising to me. Francis Schaeffer was saying similar things ages ago

    http://www.peopleforlife.org/francis.html

    ” In other words, they acknowledge that human life is there, but it is an open question as to whether it is not right to kill that human life if it makes the mother happy.

    And basically that is no different than Stalin, Mao, or Hitler, killing who they killed for what they conceived to be the good of society. There is absolutely no line between the two statements — no absolute line, whatsoever. One follows along: Once that it is acknowledged that it is human life that is involved (and as I said, this issue of Newsweek shows conclusively that it is) the acceptance of death of human life in babies born or unborn, opens the door to the arbitrary taking of any human life. From then on, it’s purely arbitrary.

    It was this view that opened the door to all that followed in Germany prior to Hitler. It’s an interesting fact here that the only Supreme Court in the Western World that has ruled against easy abortion is the West German Court. The reason they did it is because they knew, and it’s clear history, that this view of human life in the medical profession and the legal profession combined, before Hitler came on the scene, is what opened the way for everything that happened in Hitler’s Germany. And so, the German Supreme Court has voted against easy abortion because they know — they know very well where it leads.

    I want to say something tonight. Not many of you are black in this audience. I can’t tell if you are Puerto Rican. But if I were in the minority group in this country, tonight, I would be afraid. I’ve had big gorgeous blacks stand up in our seminars and ask, “Sir, do you think there is a racial twist to all this?” And I have to say, “Right on! You’ve hit it right on the head!” Once this door is opened, there is something to be afraid of. Christians should be deeply concerned, and I cannot understand why the liberal lawyer of the Civil Liberties Union is not scared to death by this open door towards human life. Everyone ought to be frightened who knows anything about history — anything about the history of law, anything about the history of medicine. This is a terrifying door that is open.

    Abortion itself would be worth spending much of our lifetimes to fight against, because it is the killing of human life, but it’s only a symptom of the total. What we are facing is Humanism: Man, the measure of all things — viewing final reality being only material or energy shaped by chance — therefore, human life having no intrinsic value — therefore, the keeping of any individual life or any groups of human life, being purely an arbitrary choice by society at the given moment.

    The flood doors are wide open. I fear both they, and too often the Christians, do not have just relativistic values (because, unhappily, Christians can live with relativistic values) but, I fear, that often such people as the liberal lawyers of the Civil Liberties Union and Christians, are just plain stupid in regard to the lessons of history. Nobody who knows his history could fail to be shaken at the corner we have turned in our culture. Remember why: because of the shift in the concept of the basic reality!

    Now, we cannot be at all surprised when the liberal theologians support these things, because liberal theology is only Humanism using theological terms, and that’s all it ever was, all the way back into Germany right after the Enlightenment. So when they come down on the side of easy abortion and infanticide, as some of these liberal denominations as well as theologians are doing, we shouldn’t be surprised. It follows as night after day.

    I have a question to ask you, and that is: Where have the Bible-believing Christians been in the last 40 years? All of this that I am talking about has only come in the last 80 years (I’m 70… I just had my birthday, so just 10 years older than I am). None of this was true in the United States. None of it! And the climax has all come within the last 40 years, which falls within the intelligent scope of many of you sitting in this room. Where have the Bible-believing Christians been? We shouldn’t be surprised the liberal theologians have been no help — but where have we been as we have changed to this other consensus and all the horrors and stupidity of the present moment has come down on out culture? We must recognize that this country is close to being lost. Not, first of all , because of the Humanist conspiracy — I believe that there are those who conspire, but that is not the reason this country is almost lost. This country is almost lost because the Bible-believing Christians, in the last 40 years, who have said that they know that the final reality is this infinite-personal God who is the Creator and all the rest, have done nothing about it as the consensus has changed. There has been a vast silence!

    Christians of this country have simply been silent. Much of the Evangelical leadership has not raised a voice. As a matter of fact, it was almost like sticking pins into the Evangelical constituency in most places to get them interested in the issue of human life while Dr. Koop and Franky and I worked on Whatever Happened to the Human Race, a vast, vast silence.”

    • Marcus Johnson

      I am Black, and while I agree with much of your statement, I have always taken issue with the phrase “Bible-believing Christian.” I think the problem with folks like Wilson is that, while they certainly believe in the Bible, they certainly do not believe–or have faith in, or seek to know–God Himself. Hence the tendency to argue that those who vote for Obama are, consequently, bad pastors; that comes from a belief in the Bible without a real faith in, love for, or knowledge of, who God really is.

      • Not sure I follow. 1) “Bible Believing” is a very useful phrase to distinguish that xianity from those that are willing to dispense with some or most of inspired scripture as a guide or total truth. 2) It seems odd to me to specify that Wilson’s view that voting for O makes you a bad pastor doesn’t just make him say, a bad pastor, but someone who actually has no personal faith? That’s a rather strong claim: needs more evidence or argument at least. 3) if severe criticism of other Christians allows us to call out the critics as not being really Christians it seems to fall into its own trap.

        • Marcus Johnson

          First, I’m not sure that “Bible-believing” is not that useful of a phrase. The Bible is a book, not a God, and it is so easy to fall into Bibliolatry just from ignoring that the Bible is a tool, the means to an end, and we bring a cultural lens to our interpretation of Scripture that impacts what we get out of it. There are folks throughout history who “believe in the Bible,” take it literally, dispense with nothing they read, and use their belief as a foundation for some really horrible acts and incredibly insensitive and illogical statements. To that degree, then, “Bible-believing” is no clearer a distinction of what make a true Christ-follower than “Bible-carrying” or “church-going.”

          Second, I certainly have no problem with anyone disagreeing or disapproving of someone’s choice to vote for Obama. I voted for him twice, and I am starting to really regret my decision (although, I really don’t know of a better alternative). I’m not a big fan of Christian leaders trying to influence or comment on people’s voting decisions (don’t see its connection to spreading the gospel), but I could probably let that slide if he was just saying that pastors who voted for Obama made a mistake. However, Wilson is not just saying that; he is stating that someone’s voting decision alone makes them suspect as far as being a good pastor–with no consideration of any of the stuff that really matters. Here’s where being a “Bible-believer” (if there ever was such a thing) counts; Paul made specific exhortations in his epistles regarding what made for an effective pastor/bishop; none of those had anything to do with political affiliations.

          Finally, I have no problem with calling out self-professed Christians on their hypocrisy or bad doctrines. If Wilson was calling out pastors for actions that demonstrate a clear lack of faith, leadership, or moral standing, then I would be more than happy to give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe even support him. But by claiming that a voting preference calls a pastor’s credibility into question, he is making up rules that have nothing to do with who God is, what Scripture details, or even what any respective denominations affirm (can anyone show me a denomination that says, “Proper spiritual leaders vote for _____”?). Wilson is not just giving a simple critique; he is adding stuff to gospel and doctrine. That cannot be tolerated.

          • The old RPCNA used to say that voting for any candidate that didn’t agree that the united states should be explicitly covenanted under King Jesus was illegitimate, so they didn’t vote at all (since nobody was). They’ve mellowed a bit. They were actually (the National Reform Association) taken seriously in getting a “jesus” amendment added to the constitution back in the day.

        • Marcus Johnson

          I never said I knew what’s in his heart, and I never used the phrase “name in the Book of Life,” but I can definitely infer what he believes from what he says (unless he’s the type to say one thing and mean another, then that tells me something, too).

          • I dunno, saying he doesn’t “have faith in God” and he’s actually a hypocrite requires some kind of heart knowledge.

            It’s not the “political affiliation” that’s the issue. Its the support for abortion, and the active steps Obama has done to make it more prevalent, legal, and protected as an act, not less.

            “If Wilson was calling out pastors for actions that demonstrate a clear lack of faith, leadership, or moral standing”

            1. Wilson clearly believes, in good faith, that this does demonstrate a lack of moral standing. That’s why he said it.

            2. He may be mistaken on that, but then it needs to be argued on the merits: why is Wilson wrong that a) the way Obama has provided support for legal abortion is immoral b) support for Obama in the light of that is immoral, or the inability to discern a moral issue in such voting is evidence of a badly formed moral conscience

            surely there are voting issues where it might be actively immoral to vote for that person or for a person who supports such an issue, and where a pastor who commended such should be severely criticized. IF that’s the case, where IS the line and why is it abortion not it? And if its not the case that some voting might be immoral, how is that not the case?

            I cited the stuff from Schaeffer to provide some context. 40 years ago Schaeffer and Koop were aghast that evangelicals were silent on the slide into legal abortion. But if, 40 years later, they are not just silent, but actively providing political support FOR it… then isn’t stronger language that even schaeffer’s warranted?

          • Marcus Johnson

            I certainly never called Wilson a hypocrite. On the contrary, I think he perfectly emulates what he believes; it’s just that what he believes is pretty asinine and has no real basis in logic. What if these pastors saw Romney as a man who was insensitive towards the poor, had bad economic policies, and was less literate on foreign policy than Obama? Do we tell them that they cannot exercise their right to vote for who they believe is the best candidate, that their only concern needs to be about abortion and nothing else? Christianity is not a one-issue belief system; we have to be concerned with the way we treat our neighbors, how we treat the poor, how we educate, etc. I don’t see how basing a voting decision based on one, and only one issue, is a responsible thing to do.

            I would love to discuss what Wilson said purely on the merits you mentioned, but we can’t go there yet, because he’s making up rules and standards about what makes for a good pastor. It doesn’t matter that he’s doing it “in good faith,” either; plenty of folk have make asinine and demeaning statements in good faith, and they are still wrong.

          • Marcus, “RPCNA”= Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, a small denomination whose Scottish forbears (Covenanters) also insisted that the King of Scotland, and of England, had made a covenant to acknowledge the rule of King Jesus and were bound to keep that covenant. (Charles II, famous for adultery, had in fact taken the covenant in an effort to become king, but did not keep it when he became king without covenanter help.) / I sing through the RPCNA’s “The Book of Psalms for Singing” probably 2+ times per year: Psalms 1-150 singable. Love God, love God’s lyrics, including Psalm 2 (Be wise now therefore O ye kings…kiss the Son–notice that Revelation 2 applies this to Christians in this age), and 101 and 110 and 149 (all saints may bind kings with chains).

  16. Wilson’s worldview says that Christ is Lord of all, in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). Therefore there is no area in the affairs of men in which Jesus’ authority should not properly be acknowledged, including how someone votes. FYI, Wilson would also not vote for a white Republican presidential candidate who is pro-choice.

    So, you may not agree with Wilson, but at least he is acting consistently with his worldview and with Scripture as he interprets it. When Merritt attacks Wilson’s pastoral qualifications using the very same categories he just chided Wilson for using on others, it wreaks of hypocrisy.

    You’ll have to excuse me…I’m not part of the Merritt et al. mutual admiration society that most of the other commentors seem to have signed up under.

    • Marcus Johnson

      I definitely agree with you that Wilson “is acting consistently with his worldview and with Scripture as he interprets it.” I’ve done my research on him, and this latest statement is by no means inconsistent with his worldview.

      However, his worldview is incredibly biased and skewed, and lends itself to a belief structure that allows him to make up rules about pastorship that have nothing to do with Scripture or sound doctrine. Voting for Obama is not an endorsement of abortion; given this past election, most folks (including myself) believed that Obama just happened to be the better of two really crappy choices.

      And, of course, the lordship of Jesus Christ should underscore every decision that one makes. That doesn’t mean that a voting decision means that someone is for or against Christ. We’re going to see Republicans and Democrats, Romney and Obama voters in heaven. If Wilson can’t get with that reality, maybe he should question whether or not he really wants to go there.

      So I agree with Merritt, although I’m not sure what this “admiration society” is to which you refer. Is there a membership fee? Club T-Shirts?

  17. BOTH Wilson and Obama need to be given pink slips. But it’s still too late; both guys have done their respective damages in their respective purviews, and so have their respective supporters.

    Judgment time, America. Judgment time.

    • Marcus Johnson

      A brief survey of American history will demonstrate that this is nowhere near the worst thing that America has encountered. Might be a little too soon to call for “judgment time.”

  18. Johnathan Merritt’s critique is sloppy and devolves into a Poisoning the Well tactical fallacy. He slings any and all dead horses into the well ring. Ironically, this demonstrates that Merritt is not really interested in the /merits/, but in clouding the air and fouling the well water. That’s why it is a recognized informal fallacy.

    Wilson does not condemn African-American Christians for voting for Obama. Wilson does not condemn 42% of Protestants and 50% of Catholics for doing so. Wilson distinguishes the sheep from the shepherds in his rebuke. It’s the Christian leader who is culpable and open to the present rebuke because he is to be held to a higher standard of discernment. They are showing themselves to be disqualified from their position of influence. Wilson is not calling for a revolt or coup in American churches, but is calling those Christian leaders themselves to repent of their open-eyed support of Obama for a second term. Judgment starts with the house of God first, and it starts with the guardians of that house.

    Johnathan Merritt excuses the abortion topic as a mere indifferent political debate, off limits as a criteria for passing any judgment on Christian leaders. But if the lives of the unborn are not a sufficient moral yardstick of accountability for Church leaders in their endorsement of politicians, what is? If a church’s lampstand was threatened by merely tolerating Jezebel, how much more if they had elected her? Is there no moral criteria by which Church leaders can ever be disqualified or held accountable in their exercise of the ballot? I’m afraid Merritt’s position is that there is none, not even the election of Jezebel herself, but I would be glad to be proven wrong. If the lives of the unborn are not sufficient, what is? Is there no line that pastors can agree together must never be crossed? Now is the time to reestablish where those lines are.

    • First question is why now? What is it about this particular time in political history that is so different that a line must be drawn in the sand now?

      Second point/question, what is different between shepherds and sheep that the activity of merely voting is sinful for the shepherd but not for the sheep? We don’t say that about other qualifications for pastor. It is not somehow not sinful for a lay person to divorce in a way that it is sinful for a pastor to divorce. So even if Wilson did not explicitly say that it was sinful for anyone to vote democrat, there is certainly an implication that if it is sinful for anyone to vote democrat then it is sinful for everyone to vote democrat.

      • Wilson did not broadly state or imply that it is sinful to vote democrat. Wilson was very specific to target only Obama (given his wicked public stance against nearly all legal protections for the unborn) and Wilson was even more specific to target only the set of Christian leaders who voted for Obama the second time (thus removing any excuse that Obama was an unknown quantity, or that he offered any real hope or change in any other area that could offset the carnage of abortion).

        Could Wilson have aimed at a much wider set? Certainly. But, as was mentioned, judgment begins with the house of God first, and it begins with the guardians of that house first. It doesn’t necessarily stop there (unless God grants repentance), but it should start with the big-E on the eye chart. We see this principle in the rebukes of the churches in Revelation. If there is resistance to this focused rebuke of obvious transparent sin, then it helps us to diagnose the scope of the need for repentance.

        • If it is not sinful to vote democratic for the lay person then how is it sinful for a church leader to vote democratic. It can’t be a sin for all pastors to vote for Obama for the second term and not a sin for all lay people. That just isn’t how sin works.

          • I believe the issue is that sin is compounded by the leadership role, and that because the standard is higher for leaders, they ought to resign their positions for the sin that they share in common with the people they’re leading.

          • The point isn’t that the vote itself is sinful and disqualifies the individual from a pastoral role. The point is that the vote reveals a lack of judgment and ability to properly shepherd sheep, and therefore disqualifies the individual from pastoral ministry.

            Basically, if you aren’t sufficiently discerning to not vote for someone with President Obama’s record on abortion, then you have no business in pastoral ministry. Not because lack of discernment is sinful, but because that sort of discernment and judgment is necessary for pastoral ministry.

            That’s his argument. I wouldn’t argue the same, but I think it’s important to be correctly interact with his argument, which very few people here are bothering to do. They just don’t like his conclusion, and so assign to him the kind of reasoning that they assume he is making, because they either lack the intellectual depth to engage his actual arguments or because they don’t care to do so and just want to declare themselves to be nicer and more loving that mean ol’ Doug Wilson.

          • I am not convinced that you are correct about what his argument was. But if you are right then he clearly obfuscated the argument in the follow-up post.

            However, if that is his argument, (that it is not sin but discernment that would require a pastor to resign) then it is concerning that discernment in his mind comes down along racial lines. Which gets back to the reality of our political system, that single issue voting is not the way the system works.

            And given the reality of the US political system, it would seem that every pastor that votes should resign because all parties are corrupt and no candidate has been perfect. Which is an odd position for a reformed pastor to take.

  19. Abortion is a political issue? Shoot. I didn’t know that. I thought murdering babies was a moral one. Does the bible say anything about moral issues for pastors?

    This just in! God was very upset with the faithful prophets who fought against the sacrifice of children to molech. “Don’t do that!” He yelled. “That isn’t the sphere I want you to worry about. Just make sure the temple work is going well and be happy with that.”

    This is beyond stupid. If you support a man who wants to murder babies, then you are defacto supporting the murdering of babies. A moral issue. Guess what, faith has consequences.

  20. Let’s conduct a little thought experiment: What if one of the candidates in the last election was running for re-election to a second term and what if in their first term they had advocated a policy of broadening legalized human trafficking and they promised more of the same second time ’round. Should pastors and church leaders be held accountable if they had voted for that candidate, thereby supporting someone who favoured human trafficking? Would this count against a biblical qualification of being “above reproach” or “blameless”?

    • Marcus Johnson

      What if they advocated a policy of broadening legalized human trafficking, but promised to be pro-life? Should they get our vote just because they’re pro life? Is there a hierarchy of sins somewhere that we need to take into the voting booth with us?

      • Marcus, I note you did not (could not?) answer my question?

        Your scenario is oxymoronic. How would an advocate of human trafficking by pro-life?

        Would you (or someone currently railing against Wilson) answer my question instead of honing your sophistry skills?

        • Marcus Johnson

          I answered your question with another question (which requires some excellent sophistry skills–thanks for acknowledging that). My scenario is not oxymoronic just because you find the two views incompatible; there are plenty of countries in which abortion is illegal, but lots of other human rights are subject to government violations.

          Don’t worry, though; you don’t have to answer that question because, just like your earlier question, it is pretty ridiculous and unrealistic. For the responsible voter, voting for a president is much more complicated than deciding solely on the issue of abortion (or human trafficking). Given that the choices, in my opinion, consisted of a douchebag and a turd sandwich, a lot of voters (including myself) had to go into the voting booth and make a choice based on who would run the country the best (in terms of improving the economy, maintaining national security, increasing job growth, making health care more accessible, etc.). That decision is tough enough without having some ultra-conservative windbag like Wilson accuse me of endorsing abortion; that decision is no less difficult for pastors, either. But that decision is one of public policy, and should not be a judging point for deciding someone’s ability to minister as a pastor.

          I should probably point out that the current administration’s policy toward abortion as well as issues which might impact abortion (i.e., health care, education, etc.) might actually do more to decrease the rate of abortion (and that rate did decrease in Obama’s first year, by the way, so he’s not the baby-killer we all thought he was).

          • Marcus, we are not likely to agree on this issue. I won’t spend anymore time commenting but I did want to mention one last thing. If a man offered to help me by increasing my family’s access to health care, sharpening our family’s budget, improving our education, etc., but I happened to know that he was also enabling other families in my neighbourhood to kill their unborn babies, I would opt out of his offer of help in all those other areas and I would teach my children to do the same.

            I see pastors and elders as being those charged with shepherding the flock under their care. I know you continue to insist that elections are complex matters and I agree with you in one sense. However, even if Obama were able to fix the economy, improve health care, improve education, sort out the immigration tangles (none of which his proposed policies would accomplish even if he had both houses – just look at the price tag….but all that aside), even if he could do all this, all these other issues put together don’t come close to balancing the scales with a leader of a nation that promises to continue and further advance the mass murder of the most defenseless of that nation’s citizens.

            In what I am about to say, I am not equating Obama with Hitler. If any of you can’t see that and decide to harp on me for doing just that, well, whatever. I’ll just chalk it up to more penetrating commentary on the issue at hand….ie. “Wilson is wrong cause I can’t stand him!!”

            Granted, Hitler removed the vote prior to much of what he did later in his rule. However, if anything, that makes American citizens more complicit than WWII era Germans in much of what came next, other differences in the respective situations notwithstanding. So, while not equating Obama with Hitler, I do want to point out some parallels to the Nazi policy of extermination of unwanted peoples and that of those who campaign for state funded and sanctioned extermination of unborn peoples as well as those who, by voting for them, by default support those same policies. Mainly I want to focus on the pastors.

            Hitler improved the economy, “took care” of immigration, improved health care (if you were Arian), strengthened education, etc., but at a huge cost to the most vulnerable groups in society. Those who he wanted to eliminate, he first declared sub-human, not unlike the “pro-choice” declaration of unborn babies as non-human. I believe any German citizen who supported Hitler after his policy of the “final solution” became publicly known and clear was complicit in the Nazi’s crimes. History has judged the German pastor’s who supported the Nazis and even those who merely remained silent as being guilty of massive capitulation and abuse of their positions of church leadership, largely because their congregations went along with their lead. From our vantage point, we see that the pastors ought to have stood up to the Nazis and spoken out against them and encouraged their congregations (who numbered in the millions) to do the same. We don’t lay the same level of blame on the congregations that we do on their shepherds. Joe congregant, who by active support or by silence, supported the Nazis is not guiltless, but his guilt is not the same as that of the men who were in the position of leadership and set the example for their flocks. Were Bonhoeffer and Niemoller wrong in their scathing criticism of the capitulation of German pastors?

            Is the mass murder of millions of babies today not just as moral an issue as the mass murder of millions of Jews, blacks, Slavs, confessing Christians, and other minorities then? Was the situation the German pastors faced not just as politically complex as the one pastors face today? I wonder how history will judge pastors who, by considering economy, health care, education, immigration, etc. on equal footing with state-assisted mass murder, lead their congregations astray, or refuse to speak clearly on an issue which the Bible connects to true spirituality – defending the fatherless, taking care of orphans, defending the defenseless. I have to echo my brother who earlier called up the work of Francis Schaeffer – he saw this coming.

  21. Douglas Singer

    All you folks spewing venom against Pastor Wilson cannot see who the actual Pharisees in the room are. More were on the side of Zedekiah than Micaiah.

  22. You folks are funny. Has anyone here actually read one or more of Wilson’s books from cover to cover? Or listened to one or more of his sermons, from the very beginning to the very end? Or are these various quotes ripped off of other quoters the only basis for the vehemence of your judgments?

    For such a tolerant bunch of people, people whose lives are supposed to be defined by the love of Jesus, I haven’t seen much tolerance, or much love.

    Or is it that we must hate only the haters?

      • What if I just quoted your reply in the following way…

        But Steve D said, and I quote: “I don’t think that I need to read much…”

        It sounds to me like you have something against literacy my friend.

          • And yet, how can you know the full meaning of what he his saying without hearing/reading it in context of his larger argument? I knew the import of your phrase “I don’t think that I need to read much” had a more specific meaning than illiteracy, because I read the that phrase in the larger context of your reply…

            In an argument, B only makes sense in light of A and C.

          • And I know you were not condemning him btw… nor am I condemning you in any way… just trying to understand folks who dismiss an entire argument based on the evaluation of one quote.

          • I think that the quote is quite self explanatory. I do get the concept of context. However, having read the article, I think that the quote reflects a pretty accurate representation of his view. Wilson likes to make controversial statements that get him press. Unfortunately, he claims later on that people don’t understand what he said. I would propose that he doesn’t communicate as well as he should. It’s HIS responsibility to get it right. If other people don’t understand what he is trying to say, then doesn’t he bear responsibility?

          • There wasn’t a reply button on that last reply, so I’m inserting this up here… :)

            How do you know that that quote represents a “pretty accurate representation of his view” if you “don’t need to read much to know it is wrong”? When people don’t understand what he is trying to say, is it still his responsibility when they refuse to read the whole argument, where he does explain himself more fully?

            Again, I’m not saying this is what you are doing. You probably have read the posts where these quotes are taken from, and have still disagreed with him. And that’s fine by me. I don’t agree with him on everything myself. But many people seem to be pointing their vitriolic guns at an imaginary Wilson, one that they themselves have created from the small collection of quotes they have read from other bloggers, and not in the context of his actual arguments.

          • Yes, I used to read Wilson’s blog quite regularly. To answer a few thoughts that you had.

            First, I have found that some writers have a rhetorical style that makes simple statements. Then the defense of the simple statement is a good deal of words that tend to obfuscate the meaning. I have found that most of Wilson’s more controversial statements are quite plain. His explanations are muddled. Therefore, with Wilson, reading for context can be more confusing than not. He tries to sound impressive, but winds up confusing many of his readers.

            Second, Wilson has had a long and storied history of making controversial comments. I believe that he enjoys the attention. The trouble is that he is not main stream Evangelical. His statements lean him in a decidedly more Conservative position than many Evangelicals. Frankly, I find some of his statements to be against a New Testament understanding of grace and forgiveness.

            Finally, there is a stiff price to pay for becoming a single issue voter. So, a candidate might be pro-life, but have bad moral judgement otherwise (think extra marital affair, bribe taker). To claim that any minister who voted for Obama the second time should resign is foolish and lacks understanding of how our political system works. There are no perfect candidates, just like there are no perfect people. And no perfect Christians. Sorry, I can’t reduce my political view down to one issue

        • Marcus Johnson

          You quoted from a section of Steve D’s statement. Steve D made an inference from a full statement that Wilson made. I don’t care if Wilson’s previous works were full of sound doctrine and logical thinking (it’s not); he’s wrong to make the statement he made, to write the blog article he wrote, and to hold the ideology which he has so clearly expressed in that article.

  23. Thanks for posting this.
    I went to a small nontraditional Christian school. I got a great education, but I definitely remember lots of Doug Wilson, Ken Ham, and Apologia textbooks that were unfounded, unforgiving, sweeping rants. I’m not condemning the viewpoints of creationism or pro-life, and we do need to take seriously the Bible’s statements on adultery, homosexuality, etc. — but not to the extent of victimizing people. Jesus did not condone the adulterous woman’s actions, but he gave her grace. How much less important is evolution and voting Democrat! Give me a break. Feel free to disagree, but Democrats are just as Christian, maybe more, than me, and if the Church had to vote Republican or get defrocked, we’d have a pretty terrible world.

  24. I am a young reformed Christian, and I am appalled at the lack of credibility and the careful misconstruation of other people’s words. For a Christian blog there is far too much judgement occurring in these comments, something of which many have accused Wilson of. It is people like this (as portrayed in their comments) who slowly but surely erode my confidence in the childhood ideal that people somehow mature and grow in wisdom as they get older. I guess there is a reason why Solomon asked for wisdom from God, because it evidently does not come naturally with age or experience.

      • Wilson has made his case for himself. Why don’t you interact with his arguments, rather than asking someone else to make the same case again before engaging with it?

        • Because there is no case. The argument is an inconsistent one (why is it OK to vote for Obama in 2008 but no 2012? Why is it ok to vote for the admitted polytheist Mitt Romney?)

          • Wow, can’t believe this actually has to be spelled out.

            “why is it OK to vote for Obama in 2008 but no 2012?” Listen carefully: The first time around (2008) people didn’t truly know what Obama stood for or what he would really do. The second time around (2012) they had no excuse.

            “Why is it ok to vote for the admitted polytheist Mitt Romney?” Still listening? Carefully? Although not a perfect candidate either, he took a pro-life position in the election and said he would work toward reducing or eliminating the mass slaughter of babies. This is known as the lesser of two evils. Voting for Obama the second time around is not.

          • “There is no case.” How convenient. I hope Wilson reads the comments here, as such a well-constructed rebuttal will surely reveal to him his error.

          • I’ll stop beating around the bush, since neither of you seem to get it.

            I AM a Christian. I DID vote for Obama in both years, and because I actually follow politics (unlike some people here) I knew how policies both times around. AND… I have no regrets for my vote.

          • Why is it okay to vote for the admitted polytheist? Because the fact that he is a polytheist has nothing to do with being President. When it comes to voting for a President, willfully permitting (even advancing) the slaughter of the defenseless is relevant, and believing in false gods is not.

            I really am glad you are a Christian. I think it was a mistake for you to vote for Barack Obama for President. That’s okay, I don’t judge you – I voted for George W Bush twice, and it was a mistake at least the first time, and perhaps the second time as well. The fact that you voted for Barack Obama does not cause me to doubt you are a Christian. In fact, I doubt that it would cause Wilson to doubt that you are a Christian, either.

            But, apparently, Wilson thinks that your vote reveals terrible judgment and discernment on your part, and thinks that makes you a poor candidate for pastoral office. You disagree with his position. I disagree with his position, too. But that doesn’t make his position illegitimate or indefensible. He has made a case for his position. Neither you nor Merritt has made a case against his position.

      • Nowhere did I even make an indication that I wanted to start debating whether Wilson was right or wrong. My problem lies in the fact that so many people here seem to be unable to interact with the actual arguments Wilson makes, and instead deem it important to slander, pronounce judgement and make incessant sarcastic remarks about his character and any other random information they think will vilify his name. This is disgraceful. As some people have very nicely tried to point out in these comments, interact with his arguments and point of view, and don’t make it your goal to slander his name and try to prove that you are on higher moral ground. This is not Christ-like in the least, and if Christians can’t even discuss these differences in a civil way, what is to become of this world?

  25. I feel as though come of what Doug Wilson said has been misrepresented. I don’t believe it is unreasonable to believe that it’s appropriate for the State to execute people like the Catholic priests who trick/convince little boys to commit lewd acts with them. Be honest with me. How would you respond if you were alone with the man who convinced your little boy to perform lewd sexual acts? Would it cross your mind to put your hands around his neck and kill him? Research does not favor the idea that sexual predators can be rehabilitated. You may disagree with the idea that the State can or should execute certain homosexuals (of the pedophilic variety, which is whom Wilson clearly seems to have had in mind), which is totally fine. But to say it is wrong or unreasonable for him to believe this is somewhat outlandish. He is free to believe that. I imagine if sexual predators/perverts were executed by the State that there would be much less people who would risk acting those types of destructive impulses. I, for one, care too much about women to disagree with Wilson on that point. Conservative estimates state that 1 in 7 women will be sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime. If that is a statistic you are fine with, then by all means keep criticizing Wilson for his position on that issue. If that statistic troubles you, as it should, then give Wilson the benefit of the doubt on that point. You might disagree with his conclusion on that point, but the least you can do is be glad he at least cares enough to see there is a problem in our society that needs to be fixed and/or dealt with.

      • Actually, by poisoning the well, I think Eric means by merely calling names, heaping up other accusations not germain to the current discussion, and by trying to rally any and all opposition to the opponent by all means possible rather than putting together anything remotely resembling an actual intelligent, logical, and biblically based reply to the issue under debate. Eric’s right.

  26. St. Peter said we were to honor the emperor. Who is the emperor in the American republic? It is the people, not the president. We should, of course, honor the office of the president and the man who holds it, but he, unlike the emperor of Rome, is not the sovereign. The people are. To vote for someone who promotes the state doing nothing to prevent, but rather to facilitate, the murder of millions of unborn babies is not worthy of the sovereign. It is, in fact, an abdication of our duty. Any pro-choice president is to the American republic what King Ahab was to his kingdom. Being pro-choice isn’t the only policy worthy of disqualification and the Republican candidates have had plenty of disqualifying positions as well, but being pro-choice certainly is disqualifying in and of itself.

    I frequently disagree with Pr. Wilson, but on this point, he is correct.

    • Precisely. Further, even if “honor the emperor” meant what some here want it to mean, then the outcome would be to require Christians to always re-elect incumbent politicians. I doubt many would be willing to explicitly make that case, but that is the logical end of that particular argument against Wilson.

  27. Marcus et al, we are not likely to agree on this issue. I won’t spend anymore time commenting but I did want to mention one last thing. If a man offered to help me by increasing my family’s access to health care, sharpening our family’s budget, improving our education, etc., but I happened to know that he was also enabling other families in my neighbourhood to kill their unborn babies, I would opt out of his offer of help in all those other areas and I would teach my children to do the same.

    I see pastors and elders as being those charged with shepherding the flock under their care. I know you continue to insist that elections are complex matters and I agree with you in one sense. However, even if Obama were able to fix the economy, improve health care, improve education, sort out the immigration tangles (none of which his proposed policies would accomplish even if he had both houses – just look at the price tag….but all that aside), even if he could do all this, all these other issues put together don’t come close to balancing the scales with a leader of a nation that promises to continue and further advance the mass murder of the most defenseless of that nation’s citizens.

    In what I am about to say, I am not equating Obama with Hitler. If any of you can’t see that and decide to harp on me for doing so, well, whatever. I’ll just chalk it up to more penetrating commentary on the issue at hand….ie. “Wilson is wrong cause I can’t stand him!!”

    Granted, Hitler removed the vote prior to much of what he did later in his rule. However, if anything, that makes American voting citizens more complicit than WWII era Germans in much of what came next, other differences in the respective situations notwithstanding. So, while not equating Obama with Hitler, I do want to point out some parallels to the Nazi policy of extermination of unwanted peoples and that of those who campaign for state funded and sanctioned extermination of unborn peoples as well as those who, by voting for them, by default support those same policies. Mainly I want to focus on the pastors.

    Hitler improved the economy, “took care” of immigration, improved health care (if you were Arian), strengthened education, etc., but at a huge cost to the most vulnerable groups in society. Those who he wanted to eliminate, he first declared sub-human, not unlike the “pro-choice” declaration of unborn babies as non-human. I believe any German citizen who supported Hitler after his policy of the “final solution” became publicly known and clear was complicit in the Nazi’s crimes. History has judged the German pastor’s who supported the Nazis and even those who merely remained silent as being guilty of massive capitulation and abuse of their positions of church leadership, largely because their congregations went along with their lead. From our vantage point, we see that the pastors ought to have stood up to the Nazis and spoken out against them and encouraged their congregations (who numbered in the millions) to do the same. We don’t lay the same level of blame on the congregations that we do on their shepherds. Joe congregant, who by active support or by silence, supported the Nazis is not guiltless, but his guilt is not the same as that of the men who were in the position of leadership and set the example for their flocks. Were Bonhoeffer and Niemoller wrong in their scathing criticism of the capitulation of German pastors?

    Is the mass murder of millions of babies today not just as moral an issue as the mass murder of millions of Jews, blacks, Slavs, confessing Christians, and other minorities then? Was the situation the German pastors faced not just as politically complex as the one pastors face today? I wonder how history will judge pastors who, by considering economy, health care, education, immigration, etc. on equal footing with state-assisted mass murder, lead their congregations astray, or refuse to speak clearly on an issue which the Bible connects to true spirituality – defending the fatherless, taking care of orphans, defending the defenseless. I have to echo P Duggan, who earlier called up the work of Francis Schaeffer – he saw this coming.

    • Marcus Johnson

      Seriously, you can’t possibly be so clueless that the only thing you took away from my comments is, “Wilson is wrong, because I can’t stand him.” If that’s all you see, then that’s just willful ignorance on your part. So you’re right; there’s no middle ground we can come to.

      And if voting for a president that allows abortion is bad, I should remind you that Republican presidents, even with a Republican-controlled Congress, still gave room for abortions to be committed over the past 30 years. They did so because, this being America, they were elected officials. Despite their personal misgivings or convictions, they realized that their job security depended on pleasing their constituency.

      I’d tell you more, but you obviously haven’t taken anything from my comments, so I’ll save my finger muscles for now.

  28. Sorry Jonathan,

    Epic Fail.

    You think abortion is only a political issue while slavery is a moral issue? You wouldn’t vote for a president who thought it okay to catch blacks and trade them, so why do you think it is okay to vote for a president who thinks it is okay to cut up babies (who even more tragically are mostly black). This is Wilson’s argument.

    I’m definitely not a right winger like Wilson*, and I’ll admit don’t have the guts to offend the Scribes and Pharisees like he does, but Doug is a man who is not ashamed of the gospel, nor scared of preaching it; unlike some ‘evangelicals’ who are ready to accuse even Jesus of hate-speech.

    Wilson is a lover of righteousness and a man who knows grace; and I know that he prays that God will give grace and repentance even to the most wicked of us while we still have time before the judgement. But when that judgement comes, Wilson will not say that God’s judgement is not just.

    As always, wicked humanity has blood on its hands, and we can either say ‘Peace, Peace’ or we can pray for the name of Jesus to be known and loved throughout the world. I don’t think we should be slagging off pastors who pray that prayer.

    Yours In Christ,
    Steve

    *For the doctrinal card-checkers here, I am also not particularly ‘Reformed’ – although I do read the Bible! And nor am I a young-earth creationist. Maybe I’ll have my own debates with Doug later, but hopefully not in a public slag-fest.

  29. I’m reading through these comments, and wondering what this country would be like if Christians cared about human life after it leaves the womb with a quarter as much passion as they care about the unborn. An eighth, even.

    • I promise you if there were businesses in every major U.S. city where grown adults were carted in and torn from limb to limb and discarded in the trash it would stir in me the same level of intense disgust as abortion.

    • KatR, we do care about human life after it leaves the womb. We care about the mothers who will live forever with guilty consciences and far higher chance of numerous physical, emotional and mental health issues. We care about doctors who are pressured or required, often against their own consciences and better judgement, to conduct abortions. We care about doctors and workers in abortion clinics who willingly abort babies – we want to see them repent and go and sin no more so that they might find forgiveness and grace. We care about fathers who ought to be supporting the mothers of their children rather than abandoning them. We care for politicians who pave the way for abortion, calling them to repent to escape the coming judgement. We care about would be grandfathers and grandmothers who will never hold their grandbabies. We care about any and everyone that the issue of abortion touches: the unborn, because no one else will speak for them, and those who participate in and support or condone abortions, because we don’t want to see them under the righteous judgement of God.

      However, unlike the so called pro-choice folks, life outside the womb isn’t the only life we care about, but since we are the only ones who seem to care about the lives inside the womb, we have to care that much more and that much more loudly.

      And about other human hurts not related to abortion, Christians have a far higher rate of giving of their time, money and resources to help the poor, the homeless, and the disadvantaged, than do non-Christians. Check the stats for yourself. Christians take seriously Jesus’ commands to the church to take care of widows and orphans, visit and care for the sick and those in prison, etc. A Christian typically does this out of pocket or through the church. When a non-Christian decides to “help” the disadvantaged, their default position is too often to lobby the government for funding to start a program. In other words the Christian (the biblically consistent one at least) gives of his/her own resources to those in need whereas the non-Christian often demands of the government to give of other people’s resources to those in need. I know this isn’t always the case, but it is largely so.

    • Indeed.
      Yes abortion is terrible but what is the alternative ?
      What do we do to achieve 100% birth control ? Or 100% adoption ?
      What do we do to support the lives of all the ‘unwanted’ ‘unplanned’ little ones ?
      Not just in the USA but all over the earth ? Abortion is a fact of every nation.
      It is so easy to go against abortion but much more challenging to offer real solutions isn’t it ?

    • I disagree with your assertion that Christians care more than 8 times more for the unborn than the born. Can you give any evidence to support your statement? The bible calls for both/and, not either/or.

  30. One issue (abortion, or more to the point, who is allowed to make the decision on an abortion) seems to disqualify everything else a pro-choice Democrat might do, and it seems that same issue is enough to gloss over anything else a pro-life Republican might do. if the evangelical Right intended for abortion to be the only issue in American politics, they certainly succeeded (at least among church folk). The addiction to pro-life officeholders can make you pretend waterboarding, poverty, misadventures in Arab lands, income inequality, infrastructure deficiency, voter suppression and government shutdowns don’t matter. Roe not only trumps all, it is all. Phooey.

    • Being Pro-Life is not a sufficient condition for voting for someone. However, being Pro-Choice is a sufficient condition for *not* voting for someone.

      That’s not the same as being a single-issue voter.

      • Amen–and that is the foundational issue: Proactively voting FOR a person who is in favor of baby-killing is dreadful and, yes, I agree that if that voter is a pastor they have no business being one for lack of wisdom.

    • Hey Mr. Phooey,

      You mention important issues for sure and, as a conservative Christian, I don’t support misadventures in Arab countries or torture, and I give to alleviate poverty. However, if you want to put income inequality and infrastructure deficiency in the same category as tax payer funded, government provided mass murder of infants by dismemberment, you’re a sick man and you’re a big part of the problem. WAKE UP and readjust your moral compass. Infrastructure deficiency?! Seriously?! Potholes, bridges and freeways vs. 50 million+ murdered in 50ish years. Yup, you’re part of the problem. Does your compass even have a needle anymore?

    • Patrick,
      There is only one kind of faith that saves and it is the faithful kind. Without the faithful kind of faith, there is no justification by faith. The Bible calls the other kind of faith “dead”. If obedient faith (aka faithfulness – the kind of faith that looks to Christ and, in love, keeps his commandments) is not the kind a person has, they have no faith. If that is not true, then the apostles James and Paul would also have to step down.
      Blessings.

      • No. Grace is not law, belief is not works, and faith is not faithfulness. These are historic, orthodox terms in Christianity, and to intentionally conflate them the way Wilson and his cohorts do is the most dangerous kind of heresy there is. James does not teach that our commandment-keeping plays any part in our justification before God, and if Wilson et al don’t understand that essential, non-negotiable Christian doctrine, then they have no business in a pulpit, period.

  31. Any Christian who votes to be ruled by an unbeliever is a theological idiot.

    John Lofton, Director, The God And Government Project
    Recovering Republican
    JLof@aol.com

    A recent story about the The God And Government Project:

    http://christiannews.net/2013/09/24/taking-back-city-hall-christians-urged-to-speak-up-at-city-council-meetings-on-duty-to-obey-god/

  32. Mark Obenauer

    I lost a friend this political season. There are many problems we have that are not pro life. And I am not talking only about issues that come immediately to mind, but also policies of our US government that impact innocents who are also living. These innocents are powerless in the face of policies that they have no control over but politicians in state capitols and Washington have control over. To be consistently pro life these policies also have to be examined. One example: I see inconsistencies between some gun right advocacy and being pro life. This is just one of many examples. Another example is that whether we admit to it or not, we are still a racist society, and the example of comments made by Doug Wilson and Michele Bachmann proves this, and the Trayvon Martin murder also proves it. It is not consistently pro life to advocate for racist policies. Some see conservatism . Sorry I see hypocrisy.

  33. Jonathan,

    The bible says to honor the leaders of our land, but honoring them as God ordained authorities is not the same as aligning with them. Paul never said to align with the emperor. If it were a democratic society back then, and one of the candidates made it clear that he would kill Christians if he were voted in, I’m confident enough to say that Paul would have condemned voting for that guy because a Christian voting for someone who says they will make killing Christians a priority is essentially voting for the death of their own brothers and sisters. To vote for someone is tantamount to aligning yourself with them. Even if you don’t agree with some of their policies, you don’t vote in the stuff you like, you vote in the whole person, and so by voting you align yourself with them in a general sense, and when someone makes it clear that they will advocate for abortion, you don’t vote in healthcare only, you vote in abortion as well. Honoring authority is not aligning with authority, and voting for is to an extent aligning with because your vote makes no distinctions between what you like and what you don’t. If I say “I support Obama” and someone responds “Well you know he’s the most pro-choice president in U.S history” and I respond “Oh. Yea. But I don’t like that part.” My not liking it doesn’t matter. If I support Obama then all he sees is an approval rating which to him is as good as an approval of all his policies. If you vote for someone who you disagree with on a crucial issue of justice and human rights, then either you think it’s a necessary and justifiable evil to vote for them, or you don’t get what you’re doing.

  34. I’m prolife, more so than most people, AND I’m a feminist too, and a person who cares about minority groups. I’m totally anti-racist, and strive to be every day. Come on, people, this is the 21st century. I’d like to say if this Wilson is so abominably enthusiastic about slavery–God forbid that ANYONE SHOULD BE SO ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT SUCH AN ABOMINABLE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE AS SLAVERY–perhaps he should become a slave himself. That would teach him!

    Serve him right, it would. But since I’m a woman, my opinions don’t matter.

  35. I forgot to add that we need to RECONSIDER and RADICALLY SHIFT the entire definition of prolife so that it doesn’t include this–pardon the crudity–pony poo.

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