When A Theology Bite Gives You Rabies

“That big bad man” Douglas Wilson


Douglas Wilson is certainly no stranger to controversy. An accomplished wordsmith, his words leave his detractors with more than a sour taste in their mouth. The “theology that bites back” has given some detractors rhetorical rabies, foaming at the mouth waiting for Wilson to slip up.


Jussie Smollett from Empire has been in the news a lot lately over allegedly faking his own hate crime, It reminds me of the people who have to make things up to be outraged at Douglas Wilson, because idahomanbad.exe.

Wilson gets attacked from many different people of many different persuasions but they all share something in common, they like to be perpetually outraged.

I think I’ve spotted a trend with the typical Wilson detractor. They start out with either disliking him for whatever nebulous reason they see fit and then try to fit his “wrongdoings” into their box of “Douglas Wilson is bad”.

This was exemplified when people were disagreeing with an article he wrote over the whole Al Mohler situation and even though many agreed with what Wilson said, they were mad at him for it because he said it.

This reminds me a lot of when I wrote against sexism and a feminist told me that she agreed with me but that I should take it down because I’m a man and I should have no say in the matter.

I don’t need to defend Wilson, his silver tongue is capable of defending itself. But I thought it wouldn’t hurt to debunk some of the popular objections to Wilson that I’ve seen, in the hopes that the honest person would at least stop using the objections mentioned.

FEDERAL VISION

Here is one of the most popular objections to Wilson I have seen. The funny thing is, dare I say, that many who object to federal vision couldn’t define it properly.

Here’s one thing: Federal Vision does not deny justification by faith alone.

It reminds me of the Lordship salvation controversy, where people think anything that doesn’t fit with their greasy grace approach is a denial of sola fide. Historically, Sola Fide wasn’t determined by your outright belief in it. You can refuse to believe in Sola Fide and still by saved by Sola Fide. Faith alone really means faith alone. Heresy still exists, sure, but strict adherence to Sola Fide is not what saves you. (I can already hear the clacking of the keyboards from online self-titled apologists and heresy hunters coming at me for an orthodox statement.)

For those who actually listened to Douglas Wilson’s CREC examination, you’d find out that a lot of the critiques you might read on a blogspot or WordPress blog coming at Wilson with verbal aggression probably didn’t listen. Otherwise, they wouldn’t make such vain conclusions based on hearsay or a misunderstanding.

My favorite was the teenage angst of R. Scott Clark, who incorrectly stated that Wilson believed “baptism puts someone in a state of grace, then that state of grace is maintained with covenant faithfulness.” The angst I’m referring to is when Clark threatened to shut down his comments and saying “I can read English!” Wilson’s response? No Speakee.

Wilson tries to explain to Clark that he rejects that doctrine, but it’s hard to convince someone who is bent on seeing you as wrong.

When Wilson wrote an article rejecting the FV label I saw many responses of just people accusing him of lying. Don’t you love positions defended by unfalsifiable hypotheses?

Everyone got their panties in a twist over FV which can only be boiled down ultimately to one thing: Guilt by association. Some FV guys are bad news, Wilson isn’t one of them. 

SEXISM

Oh that male chauvinist pig Douglas Wilson with his book attacking male infidelity…oh wait I mean, dang Douglas Wilson for calling out an example that culture uses!!
Yeah, that was one of the most infuriating things I’ve ever seen. So Wilson in an attempt to explain the cultural phenomenon of why women are viewed as sluts for having multiple partners quoted the key lock analogy. Certain women quoted this out of context, as if Wilson agreed with this old adage. The height of dishonesty, really.


Read in its context, Wilson used it to EXPLAIN something, not AFFIRM.

Here’s how it goes. Women are viewed as sluts for having multiple partners, while men are congratulated for having many. Why is this? The key lock analogy explains. A lock that opens to any key is a useless lock. However, a key that opens any lock is referred to as a master key. If you substitute the lock for a woman and the key as a man, you can see where it is going.

Nowhere did Wilson affirm this analogy, but he merely brought it up to explain why something is occurring. This is a common secular mindset, put in another way, it is generally harder for a man to get in a woman’s pants than vice versa. Wilson rejects this logic as do I. But you won’t hear that from his detractor who’d rather ignore the context of the statement, one of which is Wilson is against pre-martial sex, so the tallying of women wouldn’t even be something he’d support.

Wilson is only sexist by third-wave feminist standards, but who isn’t when Lady Feminist justice is quite literally blind?

PLAGIARISM

I have a disdain for plagiarism and have a history of calling out my fellow bloggers for it. I would not tolerate Wilson plagiarizing for several reasons, one of which is that he is already a great writer, he doesn’t need to steal anyone else’s work. If I was convinced by the “evidence” against him, I would condemn his actions. However, the evidence is rather weak and easily rebutted.

There were three separate occasions in which Wilson was accused of Plagiarism.Wilson has already wrote extensively on what happened in all these cases but I will summarize it here.

In “slavery as it was” his co-author unintentionally plagiarized.

In “A Justice Primer” his co-author plagiarized. Douglas Wilson took responsibility because his name was on the book and apologized. Canon Press took the book off the market, his co-author resigned from a CREC position and Wilson thanked the person who pointed it out. This doesn’t sound like someone nefarious, now does it?

In Wilson’s Omnibus textbook series, during the editing process, some of the citations were not correctly put in, due to some editing errors outside of Wilson’s control at the time. If I were to put a quote in brackets like [The only thing you contribute to your salvation is the sin that made it necessary] and miss the citation of – Jonathan Edwards, that’s technically Plagiarism. But again, this was an editing error and not Wilson trying to take credit for someone else’s work and it was corrected.

People not familiar with writing books show that they aren’t when they think every little issue like this is some evil genius plan to make money off of others ideas.

Conclusion 

A lot of critiques of Wilson are unfounded and are lead by those who seek to discredit him any chance they get due to some personal dislike for him. 

Wannabe Edgelord Goths Co-opt Peter’s Cross

Caravaggio, Crucifixion of St. Peter



Yeahhhhh mannnn you know what will make that old church lady down the street think I’m a bad ass? If I wear the cross, right? But instead of right side up, I wear it upside down! It’s a metaphor bro, like down with Christianity!

Unfortunately for our Edgelord friend, an upside down cross shows more devotion to Jesus than if you wore the more popular right-side-up cross.

It can get confusing sometimes when talking about objects used in religions, because there are so many overlaps with religious symbols. While your upside down cross might shock a boomer coming home from their cozy independent fundamentalist baptist church but anyone who knows a little bit of Christian history will admire your devotion to Jesus, whether you actually admire him or not.

You see, the reason the cross is upside down is because Saint Peter, unwillingly to die the way Jesus did, asked to be crucified upside down. He saw himself unworthy to even die in the same way as his savior. So when I see an upside down cross, the first thing that comes to mind is St. Peter, not your amateur emo metal garage band.

The Church historian Eusebius (A.D. 325) wrote

Peter appears to have preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia to the Jews of the dispersion. And at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way…. These facts are related by Origen in the third volume of his Commentary on Genesis (III.1) i

Sorry guys, Peter’s cross is ours, you’re welcome to use it though.


This post was inspired by the lovely Albany and her dank twitter account




i Eusebius, Church History, (Book III) 

Defending the Mother of God from Nestorians

Auguste-Antoine-Ernest Hébert “Virgin of Deliverance”


“Mary is the Mother of Jesus, not God!”[1] says the evangelical, overreacting to popish claims. It really is a shame that anything that sounds remotely Roman Catholic is rejected, the point of the Reformation was not to get rid of everything the Roman church has done but to get rid of its excesses and perversions.[2]
We shouldn’t reject the work done by others just because they aren’t Christian or because they don’t agree with us in other areas. Jonathan Edwards writes

“[We don’t need to] reject all truth which is demonstrated by clear evidence, merely because it was once held by some bad man.”(Words in brackets mine, for context) [3]

So, because it is popular in Roman Catholic circles, Protestants of both the historical variety (Calvinists, Lutherans, and Anglicans) and non-historical Protestants, which I just prefer to call “evangelicals” for distinction sake, freak out when they hear some Calvinists or Lutherans say “Mary is the Mother of God” as if a bee had landed on them, or perhaps they touched soaked leftover food on a dirty plate in the sink.

Misunderstanding Mom

There are several misconceptions that occur when you say Mary is Theotokos, the most common objection in my experience is the misunderstanding that when we call her the Mother of God, that we actually believe that she predates God, or that she is the Mother of the Trinity. [4] This is not the case. The other common misunderstanding is what I quoted above, that Mary is only the mother of Jesus and not God the Son. Such a distinction misunderstands the hypostatic union, for a nature doesn’t have a mother, a person does. Jesus is one person with two natures, not two persons with two natures. The person who claims that Mary is only the Mother of Jesus is unwittingly treating the human nature as if it is a distinct person, which is an error rejected by Chalcedonian Christology. [5]In the Scriptures, for example, Luke 1:43, Elizabeth has no hesitation in correctly identifying Mary, we read

“…Why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (ESV)

Hmmm, that silly Elizabeth she must have been a papist! Or maybe she understood the ramifications of her statement.Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 ESV)

Immanuel literally means “God with us”(Matthew 1:23) So I have a question, did the divine nature enter the human body after Jesus was out of the womb? Be careful, as such reasoning is dangerous speculation. I hope you’re taken aback at the absurdity of the thought, Through the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:18) The one person of Jesus, consisting of two natures was in the womb of Mary, there is no reason to think otherwise.  It was not a mere human nature because a human nature is not a person.

Nestorius Rising In Protestant Thought

In my experience as anecdotal as that may be, I am surprised by the number of Protestants who seem to knowingly or not, adopt Nestorian language and conclusions as a sort of overreaction to Roman Catholicism. It is silly to discredit everything a Roman Catholic says because of these errors.  James White who is by no means a Roman Catholic in his book “Mary: Another Redeemer?” states

“Nestorius objected to the use of the word Theotokos….He quite rightly expressed concern that the word could be easily misunderstood……his denial of the propriety of Theotokos led him to insist that Mary was the mother only of the human”element” of Christ, which resulted in a functional separation of the divine from the human in Christ. The basic danger of Nestorius’ position then was that it led to a Jesus who was two persons with no real connection between the divine and human.”

White goes on to say

“Those who defend the use of the Theotokos did so by insisting that the Messiah was fully human and fully divine from the moment of conception” [6]

Conclusion

So, to conclude Jesus is one person, with two natures. Natures don’t have mommies, people do. Jesus has one mommy, is one person and has two natures. Are you following the line of reasoning now?  God the Son did not originate in or by Mary, but God the Son was in the womb of Mary.

NESTORIUS WILL NOT BE VICTORIOUS.


[1] Bible.Org “Should we worship Mary?”
[2] Shameless Popery “Did Luther Want To Start His Own Church?”
[3] Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden p. 443
[4] Wordofhisgrace.org “Was Mary the Mother of God?”
[5] The Definition of Chalcedon (451 A.D.)
[6] Mary: Another Redeemer by James White p. 47

Why Are So Many Christians Against Psychology?


Have you ever wondered what Christians have against psychology? Perhaps you’ve seen a Christian rant about it online or you saw it on a sign of a yelling Pelagian at a festival or sporting event, you know, wherever you’re trying to have a good time.

 

What is it about psychology that makes Christians furious? The anti-theist might immediately chime in and say “Christians hate all types of science, like evolution, climate change and vaccinations” and I agree with you that some Christians are very anti-science.

 

However, psychology seems to have a special place in their heart for rejection. I can understand why a Christian would object to Evolution (specifically, Young-Earth Creationists) and I know the political motivations that taint the whole climate change debate, but what exactly did psychology do to gain so much distrust among the Christian community?

 

I’m in my second year in college, majoring in Psychology. It is safe to say that I do have a vested interest in this topic because my oftentimes my faith is invalidated by those who think I’m against the faith I profess because of my future profession.

 

For example, a semi-popular Evangelical named Andrew Wommack wrote an article titled “Psychology vs. Christianity”i

 

In the article, he talks about how the origins of psychology were in men like Plato and Socrates, who were not Christian believers.

 

While it is true that Plato and Socrates were not believers, Plato in particular has had an immeasurable impact on Christian theology through his influence on the Church Fathers.

 

Regardless, this objection is irrelevant, it is a genetic fallacy at best. It doesn’t matter where Psychology came from, it matters if it is a reliable scientific field that produces evidence for its claims.

 

Sigmund Freud

He then pokes fun at Sigmund Freud for being “obsessed with sex” a man who had “serious problems” that “even his most devoted followers admitted”. Poisoning the well aside, I enjoy Freud, he has made many good contributions to the field. However, again, his moral failings or the fact that he was not religious does not invalidate his scientific work.

 

Wommack then cites Matthew 7:17-18, to compare the root of psychology with the corrupt tree that only brings evil fruit. This is a gross misuse of Matthew 7, rather, Matthew 7 is referencing a personal, internal problem. It doesn’t work if you apply it to a whole system of belief indiscriminately. The corrupt tree isn’t science. 

To paraphrase John Gill, a good man is a good man before he does good works, because the good had to be there internally for him to want to do the good work.ii 


He says we shouldn’t have psychiatrists in the church because Jesus didn’t. I’m fine with admitting that God is a better psychiatrist than I would ever be, but guess what, we aren’t God. It’s okay to accept help from people lesser than he is, if your house is on fire, you don’t reject the firefighter even though God could have saved you out of it himself. When you get surgery, you go to a surgeon even though God could have done it himself. The question is not whether God is sufficient, it is whether God has commanded us to only go to him for these things, rather than trust in his provision that he will provide skilled people made in his image to help you.


He goes on to list the “four tenants of psychology” where he butchers it so badly that Schuman’s is shook.

 

1. We are products of our environment
2. Therefore, we are not responsible or accountable for our actions.
3. This leads to placing blame for our actions on anything else but on us, making us victims.
4.  Self-esteem is paramount

 

As he sets up this straw man he seeks to debunk them with scripture. Let’s go through each point and consider his objections.

 

First, “we are products of our environment” is undoubtedly true, however, where you take that idea could have you running into some logical problems. Wommack’s objection to this is to cite Proverbs 23:7 and say that it is our thoughts that make us who we are.

 

This seems like a ridiculous distinction to make, because obviously your personality traits show outwardly what kind of person you are, but Wommack wants to somehow say that your personality is completely innate, that it isn’t determined by any outside factors like your environment and that is just not true. How you were raised plays a factor, the friends you grew up with is a factor, the way you’re treated on a daily basis can be a factor. We aren’t just born with a full-on personality.

 

The second point is complete nonsense. Psychology as a field does not have that as an official position. The question itself is more for philosophy and the idea of free will and moral responsibility, not the science of psychology.

 

The third point is the height of irony, because psychology is what helps us understand why people blame others for their own faults. Instead, Wommack wants to attack victims of mental illness and take an old-school conservative approach. Probably the type of guy who thinks ADHD isn’t real (Probably never listened to Kendrick Lamar) and that the good old days is when people ran away undiagnosed.

 

The fourth point was confusing at first. I don’t get why self-esteem in and of itself is bad. I figured he was conflating it with self-righteousness. He never explains point 4, instead he says he’s “run out of room” to type everything he wanted.

 

I think the rejection of psychology can be a variety of things or a mixture of them. The general distrust of scientists, conspiracy theories about mind control and a misconception that psychologists are just mind evolutionists, looking for the natural explanation to spiritual phenomena.

 

I want to briefly talk about that last point. There are psychologists who are materialists and naturalists, they think everything has a natural explanation. The problem with this is not their methods or claims, it is how they limit themselves. As far as a psychologist goes, they should be using science to help people. However, there are ways to use religion to help people as well.

 

What Freud calls a “crutch”iii can actually prove useful to someone psychologically speaking. What I mean is we do not need to pretend that every mental problem is a spiritual problem. This does not mean I deny spiritual problems. I just deny they’re major causal factors in observable medical phenomena.

 

I can pray for someone and use science to help them get better, no need for the false dichotomy.



i Andrew Wommack, Psychology vs Christianity, Andrew Wommack Ministries website, (accessed March 20th, 2019)

ii John Gill’s commentary on Matthew

iii Sigmund Freud, The Future of An Illusion


Who Created God?

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo


One of the most frequent questions that I see on the Internet from skeptics is the question “Who created God?” On the surface, this seems like a reasonable question. The religious person probably just got done telling the skeptic that God created everything, so the skeptic wonders, well how come God isn’t created? What makes him so special? Why can’t the universe itself be uncreated?

Continue reading “Who Created God?”

And Joseph Knew Her Not Until? The Perpetual Virginity of Mary in Various Traditions

Leonardo Da Vinci “The Annunciation”

 

 

 







As with many topics, people sometimes take extreme positions as a reaction to an unfamiliar proposition coming from the other side. It becomes a classic left vs right, us vs them attitude.You might think this is only an issue in politics but I’m afraid you’d be wrong. When following the Church throughout history you see many positions being adopted in reaction to something else.

Continue reading “And Joseph Knew Her Not Until? The Perpetual Virginity of Mary in Various Traditions”