In a recent radio interview, Donald Trump revealed that his favorite Bible verse is this:
I mean, when we get into the Bible, I think many, so many. And some people, look, an eye for an eye, you can almost say that,”
He was ignorant, of course, of how Jesus appended that with the following:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:38-44 ESV)
Doug Wilson has similarly pitted Jesus and Paul against each other with the following quote:
Jesus tells us that when we are struck on one cheek, we are to turn the other. The apostle Paul teaches us to punch back twice as hard. Furthermore, there is no contradiction. If there is apparent contradiction, we are not to try to resolve it through ignoring half of the evidence.
We all know that Donald Trump is not familiar with the Bible, that shouldn’t be shocking to us. What should be shocking is that someone who has appointed himself as a pastor shares Trump’s level of theological ignorance. To back up his claim that the apostle Paul teaches us to punch back twice as hard, Wilson cites the following passages:
But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. (Romans 3:5-8 ESV)
Man does not have the authority to condemn others, only God has that authority (James 4:12)
Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! (2nd Timothy 14:16 ESV)
In this verse Paul explicitly states that it is not he who will repay Alexander for his deeds. Paul will not punch this coppersmith back twice as hard. Alexander’s comeuppance will come from the Lord, not from man.
And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (Two Corinthians 11:12-15)
It is not our place to judge the offender and execute the end described above. Romans 2 tells us that if we try to bring about God’s judgment by our own actions, God will instead bestow his wrath upon us for our hypocrisy!
In which of these passages does the apostle Paul instruct us to punch back twice as hard? None. Paul does not teach the reader to persecute their offenders and drive them from their midst. Instead he promises that any judgment inflicted will not come from man, but by the perfect justice and judgment of a Holy God. Doug tells his readers that Paul is giving them permission to “punch back twice as hard” whereas the apostle is telling us the exact opposite. Every verse referenced above is consistent with what Paul commands of us in this key passage:
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21)
How could Doug Wilson say that Paul the apostle has told us to punch back twice as hard when that same man was inspired to write the verse above? Perhaps it’s because Doug Wilson is one of those men that Paul warned us about in 2nd Corinthians 11.
What’s really happening is that Doug Wilson is self-justifying his behavior via very selective readings of the Scripture taken completely out of context. He has attempted to punch back, twice as hard, against anyone who has deigned to affront him and feels a desperate need to twist Scripture to make his actions appear not only justifiable, but godly.
Let’s consider how Doug has retaliated against those who have stood up to him and contemplate if his methods match those proscribed by Paul:
Dr. “Duck” Schuler was asked to sign a commitment of loyalty to Christ Church after refusing to vote to promote Nate Wilson as a fellow of New Saint Andrews. Mr. Schuler honorably declined to sign this statement and resigned from both New Saint Andrews and Christ Church.
Gary Greenfield was proprietor of Bucer’s Coffee Shop, a popular haunt for kirkers and New Saint Andrews Students. Alarmed by the popularity of this establishment, Doug informed Mr. Greenfield how his business would go south if he ever crossed Wilson and was pressured to sell the business to someone who Doug could place more firmly under his thumb. Mr. Greenfield’s refusal to go along with this and other schemes to control his business later lead to Doug imagining Gary being run over by a truck in a Credenda Agenda story.
Doug Wilson uses a truly tortured analogy linked above (his specialty) to belittle Dr. R Scott Clark for criticizing Federal Vision theology. In doing so he not only insults Dr. Clark, but also deprecates pastors who have actually been trained at seminary (“The waiter hadn’t been to seminary, so he was a little bit disoriented”). No doubt a shot made to cover Wilson’s own insecurity for never having had that claim of authority. If having gone to seminary makes one so craven and duplicitous, why does Doug promote his own seminary, Greyfriars Hall?. He also dismisses the Synod of Dort (authors of the Canons of Dort, an essential part of the Three Forms of Unity) as “some council or other”. Doug’s position is that those who disagree with Doug may be swiftly dismissed with prejudice.
Doug Wilson becomes aware of CREC Memes and attempts to silence the criticism it lays against him by implying that the person who runs the site is some sort of metrosexual pretty boy who lives in Portlandia. This is the same Portlandia charge that would later be levied against Natalie Greenfield when Doug labeled her a “Daughter of Portlandia”. Doug also claims that the CREC Memes site runner wants to be within the Christian church but just “a little bit lost”. Apparently being a “little” lost means disagreeing with Doug; one cannot be fully within the church if they contradict Doug.
Exhibit E – Craft Morecaroni and Cheese:
In issue 15-1 of Credenda Agenda, a fake advertisement for “Craft Morecaroni and Cheese” was printed. This was retaliation against the RPCUS finding against the Federal Vision theology (a move that would later be mirrored by the OPC, URCNA and other Reformed denominations). This (excuse my language) half-assed bit of theological commentary wasn’t just meant to be an insult against the denomination itself, but against Joseph Morecraft specifically. Unfortunately, the original piece seems to have been lost to the internet. What has not been lost was Wilson’s disdain for his faithful readership who thought he might have gone over the top with his obvious contempt towards those who would question him. After many disappointed readers sent in letters to Credenda Agenda about this subject, the following cartoon was ready for them:
In December 2015, Rachel Miller, with the assistance of Valerie Hobbs, uncovered plagiarism in the newly released Canon Press book ‘A Justice Primer’, authored by Doug Wilson and Randy Booth. To its credit, Canon Press initially thanked Rachel Miller for bringing the problem to light so it could be corrected. Their official findings however showed an about-face in their attitude towards her. In it they blamed Miller for improper citation due to the assistance provided by Dr. Hobbs and engaged in nitpicking over the definition of plagiarism that was so reminiscent of President Clinton wanting clarification over what the definition of the word ‘is’ is. It should be noted that Miller has since responded to these charges. More recently WORLD magazine, in an article addressing the issue of plagiarism in the Christian book market, revealed that Canon Press CEO Aaron Rench has taken Doug Wilson’s unbiblical teaching to “punch back twice as hard” to heart:
Rench took the unorthodox step of contacting the dean of the English department of the University of Sheffield, Adam Piette, and accused Hobbs of piracy. Piette vigorously defended her. Miller’s perspective: “Published material can be legitimately scrutinized publicly. … That’s not an inappropriate use.”
This is how the Christ Church cartel operates. If you find and publish significant wrongdoing, or even something that’s just embarrassing, they will even go so far as to threaten your job. Fortunately, and unlike Dr. Schuler, Dr. Hobbs does not work for a Christ Church affiliate and they were unable to turn the screws on her like they’re normally able to on their own employees.
Doug Wilson, reeling against his misconduct in handling Natalie Greenfield’s abuse being exposed for the world to see by a simple blog post on Jezebel, retaliated by having a loyal goon sniff out and dredge up the most embarrassing thing he could find against Natalie: performance art created by her husband for a school project. His lackey, Darren Doane, gleefully crowed about his findings in cryptic tweets before what he had unearthed was featured on Doug’s blog. Doane locked his twitter account almost immediately after his involvement became known. I would have hoped that this was done out of shame and repentance but unfortunately he was recently featured hand in hand with Wilson on a recent episode of Apologia Radio.
The Babylon Bee is a relatively new website that seeks to provide satirical news ala the Onion but with Christian culture in focus. Doug Wilson has written a few articles for this site, the latest being: Apostle Paul Hate Blog Announced. Doug writes about how Jezebel is going to dedicate a feature towards attacking the apostle Paul for being inconsistent, for writing things that hurt their feelings, for being triggering. Doug may not be able to punch Jezebel back twice as hard for publishing their Shock Jock Theologian piece about him, but he’ll at least spit in their face. Moreover by doing so, he equates himself, his importance to the church and his stature with the apostle Paul. Forget about the dangers of the New Apostolic Reformation, Doug considers himself a modern apostle. Questioning Doug’s deeds is not a matter of accountability, it’s tantamount to questioning Scripture. Doug couldn’t just allow the Shock Jock article to be forgotten, he had to retaliate against it somehow, someway after his initial attempts, (documented above) failed so spectacularly.
Doug is able to claim that Paul instructs us to punch back twice as hard because, as shown above, he has equated his authority and stature within the church to that great apostle. The most basic hermeneutic (to interpret Scripture with Scripture) falls to the wayside when Doug needs to justify his behavior by twisting the inspired word of God. Review his behavior above. Is this conduct becoming of a minister in the Church? Would a man of God demand fealty for not indulging in his nepotism? Would he seek control of his congregation’s business affairs? Dismiss the counsels, synods and confessions upon which his supposed tradition stands? Respond to serious theological charges with trite, juvenile dismissals which even his followers find in poor taste? Hold all others but himself to a hypocritically high level of academic integrity? Attempt to ruin someone’s life in retaliation for being caught in sin? Embarrass rather than engage those who question him? Should a leader in the church compare himself to the apostles when it comes to questioning his authority and conduct?
Everything listed above is a public example of sinful behavior that demands repentance. Thankfully, forgiveness can be found in the sacrifice of our savior, Jesus Christ. As reprehensible as this behavior is, it can all be washed away with His precious blood. At this present moment not only has Doug sadly hardened his heart like Pharaoh, but he is hard at work to sear the consciences of those who follow him. Pray that God will open eyes, hearts will be softened, forgiveness will be sought and change will be enacted. If we say we are without sin we cannot admit mistakes and wrongdoing. We deceive ourselves and the Truth is not in us. While we must be wary of men like Doug we should also pray for their repentance, no matter how unlikely it seems they will change their ways. Nothing is impossible with God.