Category Archives: Douglas Wilson

Wilson vs. Hitchens on NPR


From NPR:

Last fall, journalist, literary critic and proud atheist Christopher Hitchens went on a debating tour with Pastor Douglas Wilson. The topic: “Is Christianity good for the world?”

The argument started with the release of Hitchens’ book, God Is Not Great. Instead of a regular publicity tour, Hitchens wanted to debate the thesis of his book with anyone willing to take on the challenge. Wilson answered the call.

They filmed their debates, and then edited them for a new documentary called Collision.

“I think there is no role for faith, no useful role, of any kind — and certainly not the Christian one,” Hitchens tells NPR’s Guy Raz. But, Hitchens says, “one of the reasons this argument never becomes tedious to me is because I have a great respect for religion and for the role it’s played in the evolution of the human species. It was our first attempt at cosmology, at philosophy. It was, in many ways, it was our first attempt at literature.”

Wilson responds to Hitchens and other atheists by saying that atheists are terrible at being atheists.

“It’s not a question of whether we have faith, it’s what we have faith in,” says Wilson. “Christopher has faith in the role of scientific inquiry, rational inquiry. He has faith in that process. Christopher is as much a man of faith as I am.” Continue reading Wilson vs. Hitchens on NPR

Hitchens vs. Wilson on the Laura Ingraham Show

Laura Ingraham hosted Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson on her show. The debate was an hour long, but without the commercials it only lasted half an hour. As is typical of this type of debate on national radio, there is little room for substance and plenty of room for soundbites. Hitchens and Wilson are masterful at the soundbite level. Hitchen’s advantage was to be in studio, which gave him primacy in speaking. He probably did about 70% of the talking. He uttered his typical vitriol against religion. “Vicarious atonement,” says the British pugilist is “a wicked thing.” Throwing our sins at a man being punished at the cross is a wicked concept. How about our sin Hitchens; ain’t that wicked?

Hitchens does make an interesting observation when he states that our minds are trained to think that there is a beginning. Where does that training come from? He does not answer. Is it instilled in mankind, as Paul makes clear? Wilson responds by saying that every position has an infinite regress of something, but the Christian’s assumption is that the eternal and infinite Triune God of Scriptures is the beginner and creator of all things.

Pastor Wilson– in traditional VanTilian style– declares that Christianity is good for the world because it is true. The argument that it brings good benefits is irrelevant to answer this question. Christianity is not pragmatic or utilitarian.

Ingraham spent the latter part of the debate on what differentiates us from animals. There was actually agreement on this part. Both agreed that there was a difference. This places Hitchens at least in a different category than a Peter Singer, who in my estimation is a much more consistent atheist.

Side Note: This was perhaps the first time I heard the name Jonathan Edwards come up in a national radio show. A caller observed that there was little emphasis on the work of the Spirit in these types of discussion.

Hitchens is fond of the description “wicked” for the Christian faith. Wilson then asks the obvious question: “Who will judge me for having all these wicked ideas?” Hitchens answers–to Ingraham’s amusement–that he will judge Wilson! A couple of laughs and the end of  the beginning of a short movie tour. Next NPR, and then Fox and Friends.

Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson; Review and Analysis, part 3

Review, Part I

Review, Part II

The second earthly reason for marriage is “godly children.”[1] Malachi 2:15 states that God seeks a godly offspring. Man alone is completely helpless. God desires that this world be filled with godly children. His promises are covenantal promises. It is the covenant’s purpose to extend to this generation and all generations world without end. This is what Rev. Robert Rayburn refers to as “covenant succession.” In other words, this refers to the continual faithfulness of one covenant to the next.

It is undeniable that one of the main purposes of marriage is procreation. The Christian is called—as God makes possible—to bring children into this world that reflects the grace and goodness of God. In our modern American society, the average family has two children. These are healthy and productive couples that for the sake of their careers and other unbiblical reasons decide not to bring more children into this world. There are—undoubtedly—godly reasons[2] why some parents are only able to have two children, but in general, Christians have given over the blessings of childbearing, thus allowing humanists to set the agenda for this world.

Muslims understand what is at stake, and despite their horrendous worldview they are quick to produce and bear fruit. They realize that children will establish policies in the future; children educated under a particular worldview will be more likely to change society. The majority does win! The promise of the gospel is that Christ will win, but in many ways it appears that we are walking backwards on this issue.

Significantly, Malachi does not simply conclude that seeking godly offspring is a beneficial purpose in terms of Christian superiority in the world, but that also having many children leads to the defense and protection of the wife. The two ideas are connected. According to Wilson, “If a man is treacherous to his wife, it will clearly have an effect on the children.”[3] This is a principle not understood by Islam, which is known for the mistreatment of women. Christianity, on the other hand, encourages procreation for the sake of the wife of your youth. Our godly wives are to be treated by godly husbands with great love and gentleness; cultivating her and cherishing her, so that her offspring will be a joy to the nations.

[1] RM, pg. 17.

[2] This is a very difficult topic. The possibility of adoption is a very real one for many parents who can no longer have children, due to health issues. I am not advocating—nor is Doug Wilson—that ever Christian family should have ten children. This is an issue that requires much wisdom. My usual pastoral counsel for young couples is to at the very least beat the pagan average of two children.

[3] Ibid. 18.

Douglas Wilson on Paedocommunion

But this agreement of mine to the principles involved should reveal to us a hidden assumption that is helping to drive this debate. This is the assumption that when very young children are taught to respond this way, we are simply training them, as you would a puppy, and not really educating them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The plastic nature of a child’s soul is thought to be such that you could tell them anything, and since they don’t know any better, this responsiveness of theirs cannot be known to be true faith. And since we cannot “know” it to be true faith, then we need to wait until their profession of faith is mature enough to cross-examine. We are bringing the logic of courtroom verification into the rearing of children. Nothing against courtroom verification in its place, but that’s not what we should be doing here. Christian nurture is more like breastfeeding than it is like grilling a hostile witness. (Wilson answering Lane Keister on Paedocommunion)

Ascension Sermon by Douglas Wilson

This Lord’s Day is Ascension Sunday, the day we have set apart to commemorate the exaltation of Jesus Christ to the right hand of the Ancient of Days. This was the day upon which He was given universal and complete authority over all nations and kings, when He was given all rule and authority, dominion and power. Our Lord’s name is the name which is high above every name, and His is the name that, when spoken, will cause every knee to bow, and every tongue to confess, that He is indeed Lord of heaven and earth. And, as we cannot emphasize too much, or say too often, this is no invisible spiritual truth. It is simply, undividedly, true. This means it is true in a way that makes it true on the most practical levels. It is true when church is over.


Doug Wilson says:

Every Saturday night I ask my grandkids certain Sunday worship prep questions. Do you love God? Yes, they all yell. Are you baptized? Yes. Is Jesus in your heart? Yes. Will you take the Lord’s Supper tomorrow? Yes. Now no Reformed folk can really object to these sorts of personal questions without also objecting to the Heidelberg. “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” “That I . . .”

The reason for this controversy is that the following morning we act like we believed their answers. We do that by giving them the bread and wine. Now if you make them say these things, but then you refuse to believe the answers through the sacrament, then how can you expect them to believe the answers? You are just doing a catechism drill. You are insisting that they speak high and lofty words indeed. But at the end of the day, as we all know, “I’m just saying these things.” Nobody acts like they are true. “Why should I?”

Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson; Review and Analysis, part 2

Wilson begins chapter one by making a worldview observation: “God is the Lord. He is central to the coherence of all things, including marriage.”[1] Biblical maturity in marriage comes from acknowledging this central truth of Christianity. It is impossible to be mature in marriage if one is not mature in the Lord. Hence, to understand what marriage is in the eyes of the Lord, it is incumbent that we understand who God is and how He operates throughout the Scriptures. There is a fundamental concept that ties and unites redemptive history, this is the covenant. As Wilson observes, “the nature of the triune God is described to us in the Scriptures under a figure of the father-son bond.”[2] The covenantal picture is that God has established a relationship with His beloved Son. God relates to us via covenantal relationships. If this is true of the Triune relationship, then it must be true of marriage, since God is the source of all relationships.

The Biblical picture of a perfect marriage outside the Triune godhead is the picture of Christ and His bride, the Church. This covenantal bond between a Groom (Christ) and the Bride (Church) is our common bond in marriage (Ephesians 5).

God establishes covenant as a means through which we may model our earthly relationships. If the nature of God is denied-as feminism has denied for so long-naturally there will be a defiance of how God instituted marriage in creation. Indeed following this feminist pattern consistently, man will marry man and woman will marry woman. But the error of feminism is not the first attack, but one of many. However, heresies do serve a purpose. Pastor Wilson notes:

…destructive heresies have been used by a sovereign God to force the church to define that which was unclean.[3]

Reforming Marriage assumes the error of such impotent theological paradigms. The church has prevailed to this point in continuing to define marriage between a man and a woman, but it has failed drastically in fleshing out this relationship and its purpose. Many marriages merely exist; they fail to produce what the Bible requires. According to Reforming Marriage (from now on, RM), there are three earthly reasons for marriage.[4] In this post we shall discuss the first. The first reason is for helpful companionship. According to Genesis 2:19-24, Adam named the animals with the purpose of finding a suitable helper. From the beginning, God knew that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). Hence, though creation had been successful thus far, it was not yet complete. God could not declare creation “very good” until Adam found a suitable helper. Man needs a suitable helper to pursue what God has called him to pursue, which is dominion. Man cannot fulfill this mandate alone; he needs a helper. She must be oriented towards his goals, which is ultimately God’s agenda for creation. Her task is not one of lifting the bricks, but rather her work is ministering to him. He is oriented to the task, and she is oriented to him.[5]

Part 1

[1] Reforming Marriage, pg. 11.

[2] Ibid. 12

[3] Ibid. 13

[4] Marriage also serves as heavenly pattern.

[5] Ibid. 17.

Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson; Review and Analysis, part 1

reforming-cvr-lgReforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson marks the end of the unbiblical agenda of most books on marraige.  Wilson wants to bring back the biblical aroma to the household of faith. Only a “Christ-like home atmosphere produces this sort of aroma before God and consequently before man.”[1] Pastor Steve Wilkins is fond of stating that “marriage is for the sake of the world.”[2] It cannot be hidden from the eyes of the world, because it is intended to be a public display of God’s love for His bride.

According to Ephesians 5, husbands are to cherish (lit. keep warm) our wives with our love. Wilson writes:

A wife is not kept warm in the securing love of a husband if he is erratic in how he loves her. If he is harsh with her or ignores here but occasionally shows her kindness, he is not walking in love. The kind of love Paul requires here is constant. So godly husbandry is constant husbandry.[3]

For the godly husband, he does not need to re-invent the wheel, but he has before him an example of one who has come before Him and loved His wife perfectly, even to the point of death (Phil. 2). The example of our Lord is not a formulaic one. The externalist who is simply looking for the “ten laws” to a happy marriage will not produce the aroma of godliness. Wilson rightly notes that, “many people who are miserable in their marriages are also those who have read all the books.”[4] A biblical aroma in the home does not stem from mere obedience to external rules, but a true aroma stems from a heart committed to the glory of God. To re-rephrase the first answer to the catechism: “A marriage’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

Marriages can also be at the center of idolatry. This is why it is significant to establish the biblical priority that our marriage to our spouses must be secondary to our spiritual marriage to our Lord. Wilson concludes: “Those who place their wives before God will lose their wives.”[5]

[1] Wilson, Douglas, Reforming Marriage. Pg. 7.

[2] Sermons preached at the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church.

[3] Ibid. pg.8

[4] Ibid. pg.9.

[5] Ibid. pg. 10.