Humble is as stupid does...

Recently Jared Wilson of The Gospel Coalition put up a quote from Doug Wilson's book Fidelity. The post (not the book) was meant to be an explanation of why women today are reading books like Fifty Shades of Grey, which include pornographic BDSM content. The simple version says it's because when we deny that authority and submission play any role in sex, we are lying to ourselves. Authority and submission are built into our nature, and rejecting them doesn't get rid of them. They just end up coming back to us in a "pathological form." Oh yes, and the quote also said, "This is of course offensive to all egalitarians." 

Then those who claim to be true sons of Abraham, but are in fact of their father the Devil, went on the attack. They were, quite appropriately, led by a woman in this battle--Rachel Held Evans. Sure enough, the egalitarians were offended, and oddly enough, Jared seems to have been caught rather unprepared for the fight. So, after about a week, Jared Wilson finally caved in and removed his post. He apologized for it, saying, "For those offended or shamed, or otherwise and in any way burdened by my blog posts and my comments, your pain in this matter is totally my fault. Please forgive me."

Now some, who ostensibly agreed with Jared in the first place, are praising him for apologizing, calling it "humility", and saying that this is Jared trying to "be at peace with all men," as Romans 12:18 commands.

This is utter nonsense, not humility. If he was right to do this, it would also be right of him to apologize for his previous apology for almost all the same reasons. And then he could apologize again for the previous apology. Rinse and repeat ad nauseam until everybody forgets what this was all about in the first place: daring to speak God’s truth about sexuality into a culture of sexual perversity.

Jared realized too late that he had stepped into a gap in the wall that was under intense attack. Soon the bullets were flying around him, and he decided he must have done something wrong, because nobody at seminary ever taught him that men of God are attacked when they proclaim the truth. He’s learned his lesson now, though. He’ll let other people defend that gap in the wall–men like Doug Wilson, who don’t mind being shouted at and having people call for their heads on a pike.

In fact, you can see Doug doing that here.

Joseph and his wife, Heidi, have two children, Tate and Eliza Jane. He graduated from Vanderbilt University and Clearnote Pastors College. Currently serving as pastor of Clearnote Church in Indianapolis, Joseph is also working to plant a church in Cincinnati in 2015. Sign up here if you would like more info.


I LOVED Doug Wilson's post today and yours is the icing on the cake.

I think this is a good time to reflect on lessons to be learned from Jared Wilson's example:

1. If you take any action that results in conflict, you are at fault and need to apologize.

2. Women who have repented of egalitarian feminism at great personal cost have made their entire life a laughingstock in the eyes of this world over a secondary matter unworthy of conflict.

3. The men and women who have risen up to defend both Jared and Doug in blog posts, in comments sections, on Twitter and Facebook--including Doug's own daughters--are fools. Of course, they're to be thanked and kindly regarded for their blind loyalty, but they're still wrong.

4. All faithful pastors who have put their reputations on the line to protect women from the heresy of feminism and the oppression of those suffering under its many abuses are arrogant fools. They should be above such things, but their pride blinds them.

Of course, putting your reputation on the line is the key thing, here. You can hold private beliefs about feminism and biblical sexuality that you teach in private--no problem, there. You just better not scrape your knee or cause a little, tiny stink for them. No, that would harm your ability to influence revilers with Things That Matter--like a gospel that never demands you pull your sins out from behind your victim card and renounce them.

And what really matters is that we preserve our influence and good-will among the revilers. Sheep be damned.

Or am I missing something here?

This whole fracas has been quite the alarm to show how sin-sick the evangelical world is and how quickly it is sinking. 

And another thing to learn is that the gospel isn't ever offensive. And sin isn't ever a burden.

Maybe the lessons we learn should look like this instead:

1. All an egalitarian heretic shrew needs to do to push the complementarian warriors of the Gospel Coalition over is stamp her foot and cry.

2. At the stamping of said foot, a good Gospel Coalition man will wait at least a couple of days before throwing his defenders--men and women alike--under the bus. Thus he can make a show of making a principled decision rooted in humility and deflect criticism directed at his cowardice. Saving face on both sides is preferable.

3. At the throwing of said parties under said bus, all complementarian Gospel Coalition affiliates will breath a huge sigh of relief and shower said man with vain flattery. The flattery will be swift and loud and will achieve these effects: it will preemptively discipline everyone who smells a rat to shut up, it will declare a moral victory over the opposition, and it will provide a refuge for those desperately wanting relief from the battle.

Men of God won't stand their ground against professing evangelical Christians who despise the Word of God's teaching on sexuality, teaching others to do the same. They declare it a moral victory to make peace with such men and women. And they wonder what kind of culture produces 50 Shades of Grey?

Dear Pastor Wilson, let me clue you in: the bedroom isn't the only place our people are hungering for, and thus perverting, real authority. They want it in our pulpits and on our blogs. And if we won't give it to them, they'll turn to someone who is all-too-willing to displace the authority of God's Word and the ministers of Christ's Church.

Our problem isn't the lack of humility and grace among God's shepherds. It's the lack of spines.

Your last comment about the absence of spines reminds me of something Elisabeth Elliot Gren said twenty-five years ago which perfectly applies to this beating-of-breasts Ms. Held Evans is leading: "The problem with the church today is that it's filled with a bunch of emasculated men who can't say 'no' to one woman."

About fifteen years ago I asked if her mind had changed on this and she answered, "No."


Reminded me of C.S.Lewis' quote in The Screwtape Letters:

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky."

Thankful for pastors like you and your brother and Doug who are standing in the gap. I am also mighty proud of Doug's daughters, Bekah and Lizzie, and my daughter, Heather, for being fearless and joyful in the face of the enemy. Again Lewis, "Joy is the serious busins of heaven."

 Curious, I went to look for Jared Wilson's website and found his main page has this advertisement:

"Your Jesus is Too Safe" available now from Kregel Publications wherever Christian books are sold

   I guess his Jesus wasn't safe enough.

  I like the post here. We must remember that criticism and ridicule can serve two purposes in situations like this:

(a) It shows the timid that retreat can be as dangerous as standing your ground.

(b) It shows the timid that the Church can be as hard to face as the World.

(c) As a result of (a) and (b),  the timid either will stand their ground more often, either because they fear the criticism of the Church or because such fear helps them become truly brave, by forcing them to see their fears (cf. Peter after denying Jesus the third time).

According to Jared, the most important part of his closing post was the following: "For those offended or shamed, or otherwise and in any way burdened by my blog posts and my comments, your pain in this matter is totally my fault. Please forgive me."

Is he really serious? Nobody who was offended was offended by the truth of what God's word teaches about sexuality? Nobody who was burdened was burdened by the recognition of their own sin? He claims the work of the Holy Spirit for himself, and then apologizes for it. That is not humility, but the pinnacle of pride.

It occurred to me tonight, and I hesitate to say this publicly lest I sound like a whiny second chorus, but in the apology and commendations for same - did any of those men give a thought to the discouragement and disappointment the repentant feminist feels when she thinks, "At last, a man willing to stand strong in the face of the feminist fury, only to have the rug pulled out from under her. Again?

I doubt it.

Pastor Bayly, would you agree or disagree with this statement:

"With regard to one's standing before God, neither being-complementarian nor being-egalitarian counts for anything, but a new creation."

Thanks for your answer, Tanya.

Can you provide Scripture that says authority and submission, 'conquering' and 'surrendering', are to be carried out in the bedroom? Because neither Song of Songs nor 1 Corinthians 7, not even Ephesians 5 in its entirety suggests such a thing.

P.S: Failure to respond will be taken as a failure to provide appropriate scripture.

Hi Tanya,

The problem with your question is that it separates a matter of principled rebellion from what it means to be a new creation.

It's one thing to say that neither circumcision nor un-circumcision counts for anything. It's another thing to say that neither submission to God nor principled rebellion counts for anything:

"With regard to one's standing before God, neither being-a-truth-teller nor being-a-liar counts for anything, but a new creation."

Well, that just doesn't make sense, does it?

Christians still lie, but being a new creation means you're no longer a liar. You don't define yourself as a liar. And you'd be ashamed of yourself if others did. Such were some of you, but you've been changed.

Being a principled egalitarian is no different. It means casting off the authority structure that God has established from the foundation of the world. It means rejecting the clear commands of the New Testament. Ultimately, it means rejecting the Fatherhood of God as displayed in His created order. And, more than that, it means rejecting God's created order as a wicked invention of men and a nasty consequence of the Fall. Being a principled egalitarian is short-hand for being a reviler.

Christians still revile. We still reject and despise the proper authorities God has placed over us. We still refuse to properly exercise the authority God has delegated to us. We still rebel against clear commands of Scripture. But we repent, because we're new creations. We're not revilers any longer, and we certainly don't make reviling a virtue.

So if someone is coming out of egalitarianism, repenting all the way, then of course his sin is covered by the blood of Christ. If he's a babe in Christ, needing patient instruction so that he sees his sin, then sure. If he's a new creation deceived under false teaching, sure.

But if he is a rebel, demanding that his rebellion be seen as virtue or as a thing indifferent, he has another thing coming. That is not the indication of a new creation but of a reprobate. The Apostle Paul contrasted the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit just a few verses earlier in Galatians for a reason. This is why.

Pastor Bayly, would you agree with Jacob's response to my question above, specifically with regard to this statement of his:

"So if someone is coming out of egalitarianism, repenting all the way, then of course his sin is covered by the blood of Christ. If he's a babe in Christ, needing patient instruction so that he sees his sin, then sure. If he's a new creation deceived under false teaching, sure."

Thank you--Tanya.

Thanks for these bold, beautiful and sincere responses. May God draw His Church to repentance and faith.

Dear Anne, I've responded to your question here. Love in Christ,

First, Rachel was far from the first person to respond - in fact, she entered the discussion pretty late. Second, who are you to declare whether or not someone is save. That is for God alone. The fact you think you know anybody's heart speaks volumes - and what they say isn't pretty.

>>The fact you think you know anybody's heart speaks volumes - and what they say isn't pretty.

The Bible tells us that fruit reveals the heart.  Poisonous fruit, which is what hell's sock puppet (aka feminism) is, tells us a lot.  Overt formal rebellion against God's revelation is not evidence of a regenerate heart.

One good thing from all this upheaval over Jared's article is finding others who stand for the truth.

I would have never find this blog, otherwise.  I do agree that one of the biggest issues regarding Doug Wilson's work is that authorial intent does not seem to matter and was a  desired distraction from the condemnation of the book <i>50 shades of gray</i>

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