Tuesday, September 29, 2015

HT Phoenix Preacher--Carl Trueman response to a Doug Wilson post on "why Christian women are prettier" Wilson presents himself as a prototype for the rhetorical style of Mark Driscoll 2000-2012

HT to Phoenix Preacher
Posted on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 by Carl Trueman
Over at his blog, Douglas Wilson has an interesting post on why Christian women are prettier.  [that was Tuesday, September 22, 2015] I was particularly struck by this paragraph:
"Unbelieving women either compete for the attention of men through outlandish messages that communicate some variation of “easy lay,” or in the grip of resentment they give up the endeavor entirely, which is how we get lumberjack dykes. The former is an avid reader of Cosmopolitan and thinks she knows 15K ways to please a man in bed. The latter is just plain surly about the fact that there even are any men."
So there you have it.  That is Mr Wilson's sophisticated take on the psychology of non-Christian women: they either aspire to be sex mad prostitutes or, failing that, turn into butch lesbians.
I guess he must be describing my mother because she is not a Christian -- but I am not sure at what point in her life she quite fitted this description.  I must have missed it.  When she married, still chaste, at 20?  Throughout her 46 years of faithful, devoted marriage to dad?  When she patiently and lovingly nursed him through his long, final, painful illness, administering his meds, lifting him on and off the toilet, attending to his most basic and undignified bodily needs? During the years since his death when she has been faithful to the memory of 'the only man I will ever love', to use her phrase?
To be sure, she is not a Christian.  She needs Jesus as her saviour.  But I suspect the reduction of non-Christian women to whores or lesbians says more about the psychology of the writer than it does about my mother.  And maybe other mothers too?
Wilson, for his part ...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Well, you’ve gone and put your foot in it now, Wilson. Why, what have I done? It’s all very well to aspire to become the bad boy of Reformed letters, but there are supposed to be limits. But this piques my curiosity. To what might you be referring? Yes, you pretend to be ignorant, but you know very well what you have done. Well, yes, I actually do know. I did toss a cinder block into the goldfish bowl.

As I mount the gallows and look out over the crowd gathered for the festivities, the chaplain accompanying the hangman asks me if I ever thought it would end this way. Well, kinda, I did, but to be honest, I hadn’t anticipated that it would be for believing that Christian women were prettier.

Monday, September 28, 2015
The issue before us is a simple one. Does the Lordship of Jesus Christ extend over absolutely everything? And, if it does, does it make any difference to the good?

At this point the line of influence between Doug Wilson and Mark Driscoll should be pretty easy to observe, even for those who don't want to observe it out of a sympathy for some of Doug Wilson's ideas.

The breezy tone, the jovial self-description of someone senselessly being set up for pot shots.  Boiling everything down in the wake of a provocative cyber-statement into a single question so abstracted from anything that was in the original statement it begs a person to agree with the initial statement by default.  Yes, it does seem as though its going to be fairly easy to observe the parallels between the Mark Driscoll rhetorical approach from 2000-2012 and the Doug Wilson approach that has taken shape before that.

I've said before that Mark Driscoll's views on sexuality and gender roles could be construed as taking the ideas of Doug Wilson on the same, pumping them full of steroids, and then sending them off to the gym.  Consider Mark Driscoll's official response to the kerfuffle at Liberty University from 2012.


Lately, I’ve been busy with something you may have heard of called Easter. So, I’ve not been on the Internet much but instead busy with church and family. However, rumor has it there is a bit of mushroom cloud of controversy over my planned trip. So, I asked our community relations manager, who gets to enjoy reading blogs about me while eating breakfast every day (it’s amazing he holds anything down), to give me a summary of this kerfuffle. (Henceforth, we will officially refer to this situation as “The Kerfuffle.”)

The trouble started with a Southern Baptist blogger . . . yes, you should have seen that one coming. Now, to be fair, the blogger quoted an anonymous “source.” And, we all know that almost everything bloggers say is true. But, when they have something as solid as an anonymous “source,” then you can rest assured that when Jesus talked about the truth over and over in John, this is precisely what he was referring to. I have a degree from Washington State’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and worked professionally as a journalist, and I can assure you that The Kerfuffle is a very serious matter to be taken with the utmost sobriety and propriety. In fact, one anonymous “source” I spoke to said that Watergate pales in comparison.

Or consider "Pussified Nation".  We've discussed the influence of Wilson on Driscoll's ideas and style at some length.  To provide a parallel that's more recent than 2000 ...

This week the Christian blogosphere worked itself into a frenzy over a Facebook status posted by Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The status, which was later removed, read, "So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you've ever personally witnessed?"
The Issue Under a Lot of Issues
Mark Driscoll

Gender. Is it a socially constructed reality or a God-given identity?

That’s a significant question, and how you answer it has massive implications. The question of gender underlies many current cultural conflicts and theological controversies that go beyond even the long standing debates about whether or not a woman can be a pastor and whether or not a man is to function as the head of his home. ...
By now it's going to be difficult for admirers of Doug Wilson to not see a direct and substantial influence by Wilson on both the style and substance of Mark Driscoll's history of talking about sexuality and gender roles.  Whereas Mark Driscoll, once his writings as William Wallace II were brought back into public view, issued an apology for them and repeated that he came to regret what he said under that pen name, Doug Wilson's approach seems to not merely be doubling down on what he said and how he said it, but to playfully present himself as being brought up to the gallows via social media for just saying stuff.  He brings things back to it being about some foundational basic question of an idea within Christian thought reduced to such a basic level you couldn't possibly object to such a generalization. 

What's striking about all this breezy writing from Wilson is that it was up days after ...

Leithart's public apology regarding his role in the case of a pedophile who was greenlit to marry ...

Now might not be the greatest or wisest time to even bother with the assertion that Christian women are prettier to begin with, let alone providing a case study in how Doug Wilson's style and substance could be construed as paradigmatic for Mark Driscoll's public persona in the last fifteen years. 

But, hey, Doug Wilson can publish what he wants.


Mike said...

Sure, he can publish what he wants, but he cannot avoid the consequences. He proves himself beyond refutation to not only be a fatuous ass by writing foolish things, but also a little boy who cannot take criticism of his writings.

He makes himself out to be a veritable Christ-like figure--a martyr to the cause of what? Kindness, loving others? Sharing the hope that he (allegedly) has in Christ with gentleness and respect for those who do not share that (supposed) faith? No, he makes himself a martyr to the cause of making himself an immensely offensive buffoon.

I'd bet the equity in my house that the man would test out as a full blown NPD or sociopath.

chris e said...

There are plenty of people who will continue to support Wilson's (and Pipers) assertions on the basis that they spring from a consideration creational principles - whereas Trueman's criticisms merely quibble about the details. This would be an example:


Though when one is continuously led to conclusions that demonstrate a certain fractal level of wrongness, perhaps it might be worth considering whether those principles are actually correct, and actually applied correctly at all.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

The shortcoming of the ignoring nature counter-polemic is that the Piperian/Wilsonian version of appealing to the creation order has to deal with the secularist/evolutionary substitution for what used to get called natural law. I've seen attempts to defend natural law in the more traditional Christian understanding of the term but not all Christians would make an appeal to natural law tradition. More to the point, there's a lot of what I've dubbed heteronormative biological determinism in the Wilsonian/Piperian/Driscollian variation of gender roles. Male boners are considered self-legitimating mandates to marry so long as the boners are for women. Teaching women to be pliant enough to decide they will submit to someone's not the same as teaching men and women alike that they might end up not being able to afford to marry or start families.

While I was at Mars Hill, where Piper and Wilson were strongly influential, I met more than just a few guys who seemed positive that ever having erections for women was proof they needed to marry. Paradoxically it seemed to me that that line of reasoning could be potentially the same as advocates for contemporary secularized sexuality in America where sexual desire is so frequently seen as self-legitimating simply for existing. In that sense a complementarian of the Wilsonian/Piperian but particularly the Driscoll type may have more in common with a sociobiological/evolutionary psychology concept than with someone like Richard Baxter, who warned that those seeking marriage out of concupiscience would not cure it.

Mike said...

You're right, WH, but the thing is, I doubt these types think long enough or hard enough about what they're proposing or are even emotionally capable of the introspection necessary to see where their ideas inevitably lead.

Their philosophies and theologies seem to spring from pure pragmatism (i.e., what will be most likely to get me precisely what I want as efficiently as possible, be it a sexual favor from the little lady or reliable source of narcissistic supply). Piper's theology of the church membership covenant clearly springs from the second example in the parenthetical, Driscoll's theology of the morning BJ from the first.

They're simply not to be reasoned with because to take a counter point is to wrest their coveted toys from their chubby little fingers, and as a father of many, I can attest to how unlikely that is to elicit a reasoned reaction. When dealing with the average celeb Christian cut along the lines of Piper, Driscoll, MacDonald, Morris, Phillips, when you assume they have the emotional maturity and ethics of the average six year old boy coupled with the sophistication and cunning of an adult sociopath, their behavior and theological positions start making perfect sense.