Thursday, July 27, 2006

Doug Wilson Pleads Ignorance

Doug Wilson CRECCREC Pastor Douglas J. Wilson has been a master of artifice for many years. Up until recently he's usually gotten away with it, but ever since he rolled out the red carpet to his buddy RC Sproul Jr it seems to have just blown up in his two-faced face. Wilson probably had no idea what he was in for, nor the number of detractors that RC Sproul Jr has earned himself. In fact Sproul may be the only pastor in the world (defrocked, ordained, or otherwise) who has almost as many detractors as Doug Wilson has (and that's no minor accomplishment).

Surprising only to those who don't know these two very well is the fact that they both glory in any attention they can garner for themselves, even if the attention comes via scandal. In fact scandal can be especially effective because it allows them to play the martyr. Yes, it's a sick and perverse way for pastors to conduct themselves, but it's quite common among sociopaths.

Doug Wilson has written multiple "A Justice Primer" articles since January, many of which have either directly or by inference dealt with the RC Sproul Jr defrocking, made into a debacle not just by RC Jr's duplicity but also the CREC's duplicity. Now the debacle has devolved into a full blown scandal thanks to Doug Wilson's duplicity. RC Sproul Jr teamed up with the CREC to "clear Sproul's name" but all that the CREC and Doug Wilson have managed to accomplish is to turn a personal embarrassment for RC Jr into a public disaster. With friends like Doug Wilson who needs enemies?

In reading Doug Wilson's blog articles people have had no trouble at all deciphering where Wilson has been talking about RC Sproul Jr, even where Wilson broaches the subject in his typical cryptospeak. Some of Doug Wilson's articles have sparked outrage and generated a flurry of questions and requests for clarification. The hottest so far, based upon the number of comments and questions posed, have been:
Arguments and Character (131 responses)
With Wooly Mittens On (217 responses)
Many Thanks And Saint Peter (146 responses)

Blog articles abound on the internet about RC Sproul Jr's defrocking, and most of them have had some reasonably civil discussion, but not Doug Wilson's blog articles. Wilson just seems to have a knack for creating a firestorm every time he brings up the name RC Sproul Jr. No doubt that has a lot to do with all the lies he's told.

Things have just been getting way too dangerous in the RC Jr/Wilson/CREC minefield. So now all of a sudden Wilson is pleading ignorance and attempting to distance himself from the CREC "not judicial in nature" Commission:
"One of those presuppositions in this whole thing appears to be that I have been a major player in the CREC commission, and so on. But I was not. In discussion, I agreed with the formation of the commission, and after they had done their work I read their report. For the most part, that's what I know. So I posted my thanks on this blog for the work these men had done, and then the organic matter struck the rotating device."
Too late Doug! You've been running your mouth for seven months and talking about every conceivable angle of the RC Sproul Jr debacle, which by running your mouth for seven months you've now turned a debacle into a scandal. Now you expect to just back away and wash your hands of it? Do you really expect anyone to believe, "For the most part, that's what I know"? You really expect anyone to believe that you weren't personally responsible for orchestrating that sham of a Commission? Come on Doug, that's one tough sell, even for a master of artifice like yourself.

It appears as though Doug Wilson took his cue, and part of the sudden change in his story line, from CREC Pastor Gene Franklin:
Tim:

You are correct, I have not followed it carefully enough, but that's OK, men I trust are watching it for me!

Gene - 7/25/2006 5:44:32 PM
So at 9:39 PM the same day a light bulb goes off in Wilson's head. He takes Pastor Franklin's cue, suddenly deciding that it's time to slip out of the minefield in which he was personally responsible for planting many of the mines. This doesn't mean that he'll be able to slip out safely since he's forgotten where he placed a lot of his mines (liars need to take careful note of all their lies or they'll be easily exposed). So Doug posts:
"Now, why am I content with this approach I have taken? Because I know the men on the commission, and would trust them with my life."
The cover story that Wilson lays down goes a lot like this: Really, you can trust me. I didn't have anything to do with setting up that Commission. I didn't hand-pick those five guys. It just all came together kinda spontaneous like at RC Jr's request to, um, well not me. It was, um, Randy Booth that RC Jr called. I don't really know much of anything about it myself. I'm just trusting the CREC Commission guys that they took care of everything real good. Really, you can trust me.

Let's go back to Pastor Gene Franklin's claim that "I have not followed it carefully enough, but that's OK, men I trust are watching it for me!" Unlike Doug Wilson's newly-found ignorance, which bears striking resemblance to Pastor Franklin's ignorance, there's no reason to distrust Pastor Franklin's claim. Unlike Wilson, Franklin hasn't been blabbing about everything he knows for the past seven months and writing Justice Primer articles and defending RC Sproul Jr. Nevertheless, Pastor Franklin's position is seriously flawed, so let's quickly bring to its logical conclusion Pastor Franklin's operating assumptions.

I don't have to guess about any of this because I've personally seen numerous comments left on a number of blogs, including Wilson's blog, that prove that my concerns aren't just speculative. Let's use an example discussion that's taken place probably numerous times in various forms between two church members. The one is a member of a CREC church and the other a member of a non-CREC church (feel free to also substitute a Saint Peter member every time I say "CREC member" because the same thing applies to them as well). Non-CREC members are asking the following questions of CREC members because they presume (incorrectly so) that CREC members probably know something more than the general public. The reality however is that a lot of CREC members, probably even the majority, actually know far less than non-CREC members (the same goes for Saint Peter members), for reasons which will become apparent in the following dialogue:
"Hey Joe, have you been following the RC Sproul Jr hullaballoo?"

"Sure. As you know I'm a member of a CREC church, and this has become a big deal in the CREC. A lot of people are really interested."

"So what can you tell me Joe?"

"Well I know that the RPCGA defrocked Sproul over some BCO violations. You know, stuff like practicing paedocommunion (roll of the eyes, as in "Pretty silly, huh?"). But that stuff doesn't apply in the CREC, so the CREC Commission said that he's 'considered ordained' in the CREC."

"Well Joe I've heard other CREC members say the same thing. But that's confusing to me because that doesn't square with the RPCGA's Declaratory Judgment. Are you just telling me what you've heard from someone else, or have you familiarized yourself with the case documents? Have you read all the RPCGA's documents? Have you read the CREC's Report, as well as all the other CREC Report-related documents that the CREC strangely didn't post on their web site, but that you can easily find for yourself if you just took ten seconds to Google for it?"

"Well not exactly. I know it probably wouldn't take much time to find it all and go through it, but my pastor is a friend of Doug Wilson. Well, sort of. Actually he's said that if they passed on the street they probably wouldn't even recognize one another. But they're still really close, sort of, and my pastor really trusts Wilson and Wilson vouches for the Commission, so that means that everything's cool, which is good enough for me."

"Okay, but Doug Wilson's just said on his blog, 'In discussion, I agreed with the formation of the commission, and after they had done their work I read their report. For the most part, that's what I know'. So he's also claiming that he doesn't personally know much of anything either but he agrees with everything the Commission did because as he's said, 'Now, why am I content with this approach I have taken? Because I know the men on the commission, and would trust them with my life'. I'm just not getting this form of logic which says, 'I don't really know much of anything myself personally because I haven't bothered to study the documents for myself, but I'm going to defend these guys because I trust them.' Isn't that just like assuming that they must be infallible?"

"Well, I guess I hadn't really thought of it that way. I guess I'm just trying to trust my pastor who's put his trust in Doug Wilson who's put his trust in Randy Booth. I guess it's kind of a loyalty thing. That's good enough for me, and you know me. So you should just trust what I'm now telling you too."
Wilson himself has used the illustration, "I know thus and such because I've got an uncle whose cousin has a sister who's mother told her that..." to demonstrate how foolish it is to pay any mind to unverified third-hand stories (commonly referred to as "rumors"). What we have with the RC Sproul/Wilson/CREC scandal is little different; lot's of people with no first-hand knowledge, because they're too lazy to read the primary source documents for themselves, taking the word of people that are four or five layers removed from those who perhaps do know (but even that's debatable).

So what we have is "trust" that's four or five steps removed from the knowledgeable and responsible party. To call that "trust" is worse than ignorant. In point of fact it's not trust at all, it's willful ignorance.

Little wonder that one of the most common criticisms leveled at RC Sproul Jr and Douglas Wilson is that they're cult leaders. All people have to do is look to the willful ignorance of their followers to confirm their suspicions that Sproul and Wilson are cult leaders; perhaps bible-based cult leaders, but cult leaders none the less.

Church members think for themselves, investigate for themselves and ask probing questions when things don't smell right (and real church members have no trouble discerning for themselves when something stinks).

Cult members live in denial and avoid asking their leaders embarrassing questions, which is precisely the behavior evidenced by the followers of Sproul and Wilson. Logical conclusion?

There's a little phrase worth repeating here that President Ronald Reagan stated many times to his cabinet during the eight years of his presidency: "Trust but verify."

9 Comments:

At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Disillusioned said...

Craig Sproul, (his real name up until a few years ago)or "Precious" as he is called by his mother, needs to pull the plug on any hope of a "ministry" now, find a real job, preferably something physical in nature, and spend the rest of his life in quietness and contemplation of the laughable state of the reformed faith thanks to men like him. All that covenantal thunder we heard. Turns out it was flatulence.

As a latecomer to the reformed faith 15 years ago, I have grown so disgusted with what I have witnessed among supposedly conservative, Biblical Presbyterian and Reformed churches that I showed up at an Easter vigil at a Catholic church this year. Truly, it's getting this bad. Never in all my years within evangelicalism did I see as much much sniping, lousy ethics, and back stabbing going on as I have in reformed churches, and that's just the church women. Doug Wilson and "Craig", two men I had earlier respected largely because of their books, have contributed to my growing belief that nobody in leadership is really what they seem. I'm depressed and wondering if anywhere at all there is a church that teaches the doctrines of grace with integrity and true Christian love. The Jesuit church I attended certainly showed me that love the night I attended. Strange how little supply there is from men like Craig and Doug and all the other covenental thunder out there.

 
At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Beware False Shepherds said...

Come on, disillusioned... Going from disappointment in the cult of the Wilsonites to the cult of the Pope is like going from Hitler's glorious Reich to Stalin's glorious revolution.

The real thing still exists.

 
At 2:50 PM, Blogger RC 2.0 said...

Disillusioned, perhaps one of the great travesties of Wilson's "ministry" has been that a large number of his admirers have later become so disgusted by his duplicities and hypocrisies that they equate Reformed theology and practice itself with duplicity and hypocrisy. As a result some have abandoned Reformed theology altogether and have returned to Rome. Interestingly enough Wilson himself doesn't particularly have a problem with that.

I've heard several testimonies of former Kirkers who for job reasons had to leave Moscow and the Kirk. Wilson will generally ask about the church situation where they'll be moving. On the surface this might appear to be rather pastoral of him, but there's a fly in the ointment. If there's no Reformed church in their area, and the only Protestant church option might perhaps be a Baptist church, Wilson will actively encourage them to attend Catholic or Eastern Orthodox services. "At least that way we know you'll be getting the Lord's supper weekly."

It's for good reason that Doug Wilson is thought by many Reformed clergy to be a sacerdotalist.

 
At 3:00 PM, Blogger RC 2.0 said...

Those who have been following Doug Wilson's blog in recent weeks know that Wilson has been straining after any lame excuse he can find to ban anyone who asks him too many embarrassing questions. One of his favorite tricks is to ban anyone that he so much as suspects of posting anonymously, as though anonymous posting were, in itself, a sin.

Now Pastor Evan Wilson, brother of Doug Wilson, has posted an excellent article on his blog about that very issue: Is There a Problem?

 
At 3:05 PM, Blogger RC 2.0 said...

Kevin D. Johnson is also taking on Doug Wilson's favorite recent straw man, anonymous blog commenters. In his article On Anonymity and Open Discourse Kevin notes that the history of the Reformed church is replete with examples of great theologians whose works were often published anonymously. For Wilson to allege that anonymous publishing is sinful or unjust is to disparage the name of many Reformed luminaries.

 
At 7:44 PM, Anonymous John Steinhausen said...

Because there was so much in the CREC Commission Report that I couldn't make any sense of I went to Doug Wilson's blog to see what he had to say about it, and maybe ask some questions myself. What a bizarre experience that was! I've never seen anything like it. Rather than answering any questions Wilson just demands to know the personal vital information of his questioners, including their pastor's names and contact info. This is from the last post I made before he banned me,

"This blog has got more intrigue, suspense, conspirary, and paranoia than a John Grisham novel. I'll have to say though that I'm really disappointed with how this chapter is working out. Here I was coming to think that Stan might have had something to do with used condoms and mailboxes. Or perhaps Stan is a local lesbian activist? Then one of the main characters in the story, who's had virtually no dialogue role of any kind, suddenly pops out of the shadows for no other purpose but to allege that rather than being a scintillating lesbo condom vandal Stan might be nothing more than a humdrum anti-501c3 guy. Well, the chapter isn't over yet. Who knows. Maybe it'll take another interesting turn."

I've never seen a pastor that even comes close to the spin that Doug Wilson puts out. Some of the other RC Sproul Jr related Dougspin articles include:
Many Thanks and Saint Peter
Arguments and Character

 
At 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that pastors in general (including Wilson) have a knack for spinning church battles to the advantage of their own theological/personal buddies, but I think we've also got to be balanced and not simply say all the bad things about someone, esp. a pastor. I've had a pastor, who, in my view was very much "lording it over" the flock and mixed up in congregational scandal, but I don't hesitate to give credit where credit is due to him. Similarly, I find it irritating when people have only bad things to say about Wilson. Just because he's in theological/ecclesiastical disagreement with people or in error doesn't erase the fact that he's been used of the Lord to help people through books, teaching, etc.

Anyway, no offense to you. I don't mind reading all sides of a controversy.

 
At 10:03 AM, Blogger Lamar Carnes said...

I am now amazed that John Piper is having a conference that lists Doug Wilson as a keynote speaker. How can Pastor John, whom we all hold in high esteem, have such a man being displayed as a role model for anything we Reformed folks consider holy? I wrote to the Conference group and he asked me about my concerns since he was not familiar with the issues. I sent him a few articles on the problems we face about Doug Wilson. I certainly hope these folks will do due diligence in their picking of speakers for their conferences because it places the leaders such as John Piper in a bad light. What have you heard about this upcoming event at John Piper's Church and Doug Wilson? Please respond! My email is Lcarnes1@satx.rr.com

 
At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Daniel said...

I just coming into the situation regarding R.C. Jr and Wilson. So I have no idea at all just whats going on or has gone on. I'm going to do my research

But even without any knowledge at all I find this site and all the things said very disturbing. Why, just the tone, what sounds to me like an attitude.

Even if everything said about these men are true, I can't find a whole lot or very little that sounds Christian in this blog. (comments excluded).

I have yet to find one comment or word suggesting prayer, either for men on both side's, prayer for the situation, wisdom, guidance, God's will, eye's to be opened, understanding ....Eph 1:15-23, 3:14-21. Is anybody praying? Well, now I am. God is still on the throne and He is still Sovereign and in complete control.
Would anybody be wiling to join me as prayer partner, make our request known to God and enjoy watching Him do what He does, and experience the joy and peace that come's as a result? Hit me at daniellynem47@gmail.com

Grace and Peace,
Daniel

 

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