If You Start Purple, Finish Purple

Today Rachel Held Evans tweeted that despite her disagreements with him, she would be happy to come to the Lord’s Table with John Piper any time. No matter what, he’s a brother.

A brother who creates a big-time abusive environment for blaming the victim, but still a brother, right?

Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. I read a book years ago on the writer’s craft by James Kilpatrick (sorry, forgot the title) and some of the best advice I have ever received was this. If you start purple, finish purple.

There are three ways to relate to fellow Christians when it comes to the Lord’s Table. One is when a professing brother is living in a way that denies the gospel, and this is something that can be amply demonstrated in a competent jurisdiction. When this happens, it is an occasion for church discipline.

In the second category we find a person who is living in a way that discredits the gospel, but for some reason it cannot be appropriately proven. In such a case, I would be happy to come to the Lord’s Table with such a person, but only because I would be praying for the Spirit to be using the Supper to deal with him, as a means of bringing him to repentance.

There are different kinds of examples of this, but one would be if the other person were in a different ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and they had made a decision I differed with. Provided that wrong decision were not itself grounds for breaking fellowship with that other communion (sanctifying sodomy, for example), I would honor the decision and would be willing to break bread with such a person. The Spirit is still sovereign, and can still work in and through our failures, which turns out to be a good thing.

And last, I come to the Table with my brothers and sisters in sweet fellowship. I can do this despite differences over baptism, church government, eschatology, etc., but the fellowship itself is entirely positive.

But what I can’t do is talk about them as though they are in the second category, and then flip the sweet fellowship switch when Sunday comes. If I start purple, I need to finish purple. Rachel Held Evans, in this most recent tweet, was trying to act as though creating abusive and toxic environments for hurting victims was just one of those things that Christians disagree about — you know, like pre-trib, mid- trib, post-trib.

If John Piper’s theology makes people go out and kick puppies on Monday, then say so, and hope that the bread and wine next Sunday will make him reflect on the terrible damage he is doing. But the prayer for repentance must be constant clear through. And if his theology is not something that makes all good Calvinists name their puppies Servetus, then it is necessary to stop acting like it does — it is time to reflect on the terrible things you have been saying about them.

Flip this around. If Rachel Held Evans were driving through Moscow one Sunday morning, and out of curiosity decided to come worship with us, she would absolutely be welcome to the Table. Every week, at the close of my exhortation for the Supper, I say, “Come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.” Why wouldn’t that include her?

But I say this, knowing that she has some significant things to put right, among them this most recent attack on Piper. And I would pray that she would do so. But there is an important thing to remember about breaking bread. It does help us to repent, but it provides no help at all in walking things back.

Theology That Bites Back



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  • Sara

    Are you still on this subject? Good grief. RHE has posted an apology for being a bit hasty for what she said about Piper, she extends some gracious words to him on twitter and yet you still think she’s in the wrong? She didn’t actually say anything about Piper that wasn’t true. And the fact that you continue to put your fingers in your ears about it all (namely his connect to SGM) is very telling.

    And lastly, once again, what about yourself, Doug Wilson? Despite all the mountains of evidence against you that you’re a huge bigot, you continue to ignore that and never once apologize for all the hurt that you’ve caused women and minorities with your all careless words. You wrote a book about why slavery wasn’t all that bad, for crying out loud! I guess it’s easier to keep demonizing RHE and pointing out her flaws and mistakes instead of taking any kind of personal accountability for your own. But you’re a Reformed Leader. You are a Man of God and thus nobody can question you. You’re always right (even when you’re clearly not).

    Such a hypocrite.

  • http://www.dougwilson.wpengine.com Douglas Wilson

    Apparently it must be bad to demonize people . . .

  • http://comingdawn.blogspot.com.au/ Michael Hutton

    I am sorry for whatever has created this bitterness in you.
    But I’m not sure pouring out your vitriol like this helps. Neither, Doug, RHE, Piper or your own heart or any readers are edified by these slanders without substance.

    Why did RHE apologise if what she said was true, you can’t have it both ways. Why is it OK for RHE to comment on a public statement by Piper but not Wilson to comment on RHE? What is telling is your double standard. Is it driven by animosity? Where does it come from?

    An internet full of accusation and slander is no more a mountain of evidence than a bag of hot air is an airplane. The accusations in your second paragraph are unfounded and spurious.

    Doug has adressed these issues you raise, again and again, he isn’t the one who makes a name for himself by attacking high profile leaders, and he has more than once in the past publicly apologised and acknowledged correction when he has found himself to be in the wrong. On this very blog! He has lamented any hurt and clarified his statements to minimise any hurt when he has been misunderstood.

    In short It would profit your arguments better if you interacted with those you disagree with rather than seize slanders as an excuse to disregard them and then vilify them unjustly.

    Your post is somewhat hasty.
    I find it helps to make sure I am not still upset about something when I make the post. When I can’t be calm it’s also hard to be fair and reasonable.

    I hope you can find peace in God’s grace.
    But I’m pretty sure taking it out on others won’t help.
    God bless,

  • Sara

    Michael, I’m not being hasty. Doug Wilson has said and done some nasty and downright hateful things throughout his career and I would really like it if he would address anything I bring up without a snarky reply. If he has, in fact, apologized for anything can he (or you) point me in that direction. All I see from him and others like him is a bunch of gross misogyny and racism and a view of God that is often in complete opposition to what Jesus Christ taught. I’m just calling it as I see it.

  • David


    RHE did not apologize; that sort of shrift is not how the Bible instructs us to seek forgiveness from God or each other. But if you don’t believe me, try this one on….I’m sorry if my post made you feel upset.


  • Sara

    And of course my comments aren’t being moderated now. Figures. And it only reinforces my opinion of you, Doug Wilson. An honest person with nothing to hide and nothing to apologize for does not have to censor people’s opinions and view points. You have said things that have actively contributed to a society that devalues women and black people . You can’t hide from the things you’ve said. You can’t pretend that you didn’t extolled the virtues of the Old South social order and threw your African American brothers and sisters under the bus in the process. You did that. Now own it. If you can’t take the heat then get out of the kitchen, as they say.

    (Of course we all know you wouldn’t be caught dead in the kitchen in the first place. After all, that’s where WOMEN belong, right Dougie?)

  • http://www.contemporarycalvinist.com Lee Shelton

    Funny you should mention kicking puppies. It was that particular clause in their belief statement that drew us to Piper’s church in the first place.

  • Douglas Wilson

    Sara, I didn’t approve a couple of your comments because of the name-calling. Your dissenting opinions may be freely expressed, but you need a leash for that dog that is a tad shorter.

  • Sara

    I only call people names when I think they deserve it. I’m mostly a level-headed person, but sometimes you just gotta call a spade a spade, Mr. Wilson. I don’t simply disagree with you. I think you’ve done a lot of harm in the name of Christ, much more so than RHE. And if you’d be willing to point me to anywhere where you have clarified or position on slavery or your views on women, I’d be more than happy to apologize for “slandering” you as someone said above. But since all you’ve been able to provide me with so far is snarky one-liners, you’re not really endearing yourself to me or making me change my mind or want to take back my colourful language.

  • http://kamillaludwig.com Kamilla


    Rachel Evans didn’t apologize –or at least she didn’t do so sincerely (and, please, everyone keep in mind that this is a woman who has written of her own and her mother’s skills in manipulation). An apology is more than kind words. A genuine apology results in action. In this case, the very least Mrs. Evans needs to do is to edit her original post on this where she demotes Our Holy God to a minor deity, “god”, when she is responding to Piper’s theology.


    P.S. Doug, am I the only one who is really bothered by Mrs. Evans’s disrespect for God in this?

  • Caleb

    As it stands RHE has always been known for being quite controversial. She accused Piper for things she does daily in her own blog. So could the post have been requited? Perhaps. Could she have gone about addressing it in a much less accusatory manner? Perhaps. Could Piper have been more tactful with his tweet? Perhaps, though I read it letter by letter-character by character multiple times (all 140 of them!); A few of those times I read it backwards to cypher all the hidden messages out of it… then translated it in spanish and quoted it with a russian accent-just for fun. Anyways, I found offense and no lies. So lets be nice and ask the man PERSONALLY before we deface him PUBLICLY.

  • http://kyriosity.wordpress.com Valerie (Kyriosity)

    Sara, you must have the utmost contempt for the intellectual abilities and spiritual discernment of the hundreds of women who are members of the church Doug pastors. You’d probably disguise it with pity, but really you must think we’re all dumber than a crate of Idaho spuds. Are you envisioning downtrodden wives? OK, let’s narrow it down to the couple of dozen or so unmarried women–those of us who are here entirely of our own free will. What must you think of us? Well, I’ll tell you what we think of us: We think we’re pretty blessed to be a part of a community where women are respected and honored and valued by our leaders. Your caricature of Pastor Wilson is just plain silly, and your shrill, emotion-driven delivery creates far more temptation to disdain women than anything I’ve ever heard him say.

  • M

    Sara, you speak of the God whom Jesus preached. Is this the same God of whom it is written in the Revelation of St. John, “And who shall hid us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb?” In other words, is God, as you understand Him, one who will judge all people, men and women, young and old, black and white, Jew or Gentile, without playing favorites, and who will, as the Athanasian Creed puts it, send “they that have done good…into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire”? I ask simply because I get the impression, from blog posts and comments, that Mrs. Evans and those who agree with her (of whom I take you to be one) often do hold to a view of God that makes Him very wrathful toward anyone whom they perceive as committing injustice, but then end up defining justice and the wrath of God in ways that are based only on a very selective reading of scripture, with a heavy dose of postmodern sentimentality mixed in. If God is angrier at John Piper (or anyone else) for pointing out that we sinners stand under the righteous wrath of a God who has mercy upon those who repent, than He is at us for being unrepentant in our sexual lust, our gluttony, or our self-regard, that is not, I think, what Scripture teaches.


    P.S. I am not a Calvinist, for the record, nor do I have any bones to pick about Southern slavery–a rotten deal, as I think the proprietor of this blog also agrees, and one from which our nation has not, even now, fully recovered.

  • http://www.vintagenovels.com Suzannah

    That’s right, Sara. We womyn alone can see through Rev Wilson as a shockingly insensitive hurter of the feelings of puppies which Rev Piper has kicked.

    One only has to look at the way he treats the womyn in his family to see what he thinks of them.

    He pretends he lets his wife write books for womyn, but we really know he’d never trust her to express her own mind. They’re actually authored by a secret society of rednecks from Alabama.

    He talks about founding a classical school so his daughters could get a rigorous education in dead languages, Greco-Roman philosophy and history, medieval scholastic theology, and postmodern narrative theory, but that’s a bit of a joke. Folks in the know tell us that the Logos school students actually spend their days at the shooting range shredding Xeroxes of Plato and Hegel. And Simone de Beauvoir.

    He’s even been known to preach that just as Christ is the head of the church, a husband is the head of his wife. He said he was quoting some guy called Paul, but everyone knows that was the name of a ghastly patriarchal wife-beater in the first century or something.

    I can’t begin to express how offended I was by that. I burst into tears and went off chocolate for a fortnight. It’s just so insulting for him to insinuate that the Church needs to be protected and rescued and disciplined like that. That’s not in MY Bible.

    Well, not since I took the Wite-Out to it. But that’s not the point! The point is how INSULTED I feel!

  • Rick Davis

    Sara wrote: “(Of course we all know you wouldn’t be caught dead in the kitchen in the first place. After all, that’s where WOMEN belong, right Dougie?)”

    Less than a month ago, Doug posted this: http://dougwilson.wpengine.com/books-in-the-making/it-shouldnt-rinse-off.html

    I believe “lurk moar” is the expression the kids use these days.

  • Sara

    Not surprised that everyone is singling my comment and saying that I’m wrong about my assessment of Doug. I expected that. After all, this is his blog and you are his readers. But I am far from the only one who has these opinions of him. Everyone outside of the neo-reformed bubble seems to be in agreement that his views are archaic and harmful. If you wish to attend his church, then so be it. If you’re happy there, then so be it. But what I would like to say, especially to Valerie, is that calling me “shrill and emotionally-driven” is probably the most ridiculous thing in the world. Hey, guess what? I’m human. And humans have emotions (men do too, gasp!) And I really do get emotional when I feel like church-leaders are saying and doing harmful things. When church leaders have written books that seem to idealize southern slavery and when church leads use terminology like “conquer and colonize” in terms of what the husband should do to his wife in the marriage bed amongst other misogynistic things. These are all things that Pastor Wilson has said and done. You can gloss over them if you want. But they are what they are.

  • Sara

    “Helping is not effeminate. If a man’s masculinity washes off in dishwater, then it was a pretty superficial masculinity” (For a Glory and a Covering, p. 73).

    Also, this? Sounds exactly like something an egalitarian or even a feminist would say. So what is even the purpose of enforcing gender roles on men and women and calling yourself complimentarian if you’re not going to enforce it? What’s next are you going to tell me that y’all don’t actually have a problem with married women wanting to work and be breaderwinner in the familiy? Get real. How is the man supposed to be the “leader” if his wife isn’t at home cooking and scrubbing the floor?

  • Tonya


    May I suggest a reading of “Black and Tan”? I was compelled to have it zapped to my kindle one evening about a month or two ago and found it to be quite different than what I expected, given all the hooplah. You’ll need to lay down your offense and read it with the level headedness you say you normally possess or understanding will bounce off your skull, but if you can calm down, you might find that reading a few books answers your demands for an explaination on a lot of things. If you don’t spend some time getting to “know” your Internet authors, it is easy to misinterpret them -especially if your reading is normally limited to diatribe against the object of your scorn.

    With love,

  • Darius T

    Sara, tilting at windmills isn’t going to get you very far. It makes you look out of your depth, like me ranting about a composition of classical music. Imagine, just for a moment, that you have been misled or have misunderstood the Biblical gender roles and how certain people have come to understand them.

  • Arwen B

    “P.S. Doug, am I the only one who is really bothered by Mrs. Evans’s disrespect for God in this?”


    No, you aren’t the only one who noticed that.

    It was very startling that someone who claims to be a Christian would show such naked disrespect for God by giving Him the “middle finger of grammar.”

  • Randy

    Sara, your comments here are most helpful for the discussion, providing an excellent context for understanding Pastor Wilson’s arguments. ;)

  • Arwen B

    “Hey, guess what? I’m human. And humans have emotions (men do too, gasp!) And I really do get emotional when I feel like church-leaders are saying and doing harmful things.”

    @Sara: No one is arguing that humans do not have emotions or that it is wrong to be outraged when church leaders (or other prominent people) say and do harmful things. For example, several of us here are outraged at Held-Evan’s blatant disrespect for the God she claims to love (I was going to type “serve” instead of “love”, but I don’t think that she would admit to serving anyone), and greatly irritated at her slander of Piper (whether we agree with his actions/theology/existence or not) and her subsequent not-apology.

    That said, there is something to be said for exercising self-restraint and self-discipline in the expression on one’s emotions and outrage.

    For one, it gives those who read one’s comments the idea that one is a rational person with a legitimate grievance that can be discussed and, God willing, resolved, bringing everyone into good fellowship wherein we can all drink tea and eat cookies and sing campfire songs together.

    Failure to exercise self-restraint… does not accomplish this.

  • http://www.dougwilson.wpengine.com Douglas Wilson

    Sara, defined role relationships (say with regard to the kitchen) are what make gifts possible.

    And Kamilla and Arwen, I hope to have a new post up shortly explaining how I believe the Table should be fenced.

  • Sara

    For the record, my understanding of Biblical gender roles comes from things that complementarian leaders themselves have said. Mark Driscoll, John Piper and even Doug Wilson. It is not my fault that these men aren’t doing a very good job of representing themselves to the outside world. That is entirely their own fault for any misconceptions. They need to be better communicators to the world if they want to be seen as anything more than out-of-touch misogynists. Which is really all we see them as right now.

  • RFB


    I think that there are some beneficial things that come out of this type of conversation (obviously a nefarious plot of the site owner) but it does require some internal processing to improve the signal to noise ratio.

    The one constant that I hear seems to be “I don’t like you, any conveyance you happen to arrive upon, any reasoning offered, and after drawing and quartering, I insist upon burning and scattering your ashes,…”

    Your tone is very emotional, and I think that everyone “gets” that you have some personal emotion invested in the issue. Nonetheless, control of emotions is a mark of spiritual maturity.

    Have you taken into consideration the emotions of those who witness your attack upon the host and owner of this site? Have you thought that some of us may internally recoil at your attack upon a person that we count as a brother, and how we feel regarding your display of animosity towards him? Without being obsequious, I am indebted to Pastor Wilson. I consider myself privileged to have learned under him.
    We all learn from others, and I have learned much from him. I may not always agree, but I have also learned from him how to disagree.


    The King of Kings calls you to better than this.

  • Rebecca

    Methinks it’s time to leave a fool to her folly.

  • http://kamillaludwig.com Kamilla


    Just for the record, at least two of us posting here aren’t “neo-Reformed”. “M” has identified as not-a-Calvinist. And I am not Reformed, neo or otherwise.


  • Rick Davis

    Sara, you said, “Get real. How is the man supposed to be the “leader” if his wife isn’t at home cooking and scrubbing the floor?”

    This indicates that you’re just interacting with a straw man of complementarianism and not the real deal. Doug has always said, in all his family books, that the swaggering, macho type of man who refuses to change diapers and help his wife is not exercising proper headship. Have you actually read any of his books, or are you just interacting with a bogey?

    Keep in mind that Doug’s daughter Rebekah started and ran her own girls clothing company while being married, and that his wife Nancy and daughter in law Rachel are both writers of a number of books. Doesn’t sound like ladies who are kept barefoot and illiterate to me.

  • henrybish

    I’m wondering if Doug is being serious in saying he would allow RHE to partake of communion in his church. Should communion be open to false teachers?

  • Jane Dunsworth

    I don’t think Mrs. Evans was disrespecting God, I think she was trying to suggest that God as John Piper characterizes Him isn’t the real One, and could not possibly be the real One, hence only a “god.” I don’t think that’s inherently a disrespectful rhetorical turn, only this case, it was both a deeply false position and a scurrilous disrespect for Mr. Piper. (How one could do that and still claim to be utterly willing to commune with the man is where it REALLY falls apart.)

    It does get tiresome to see this sort of thing from those who cry hateful divisiveness at the first sign of pointed critique. They bang on all day long about respectful discussion and then play the blatant idolater card the first time someone takes a more doctrinally hardcore position than suits them.

  • Sara

    Rick, I don’t think that gets Doug off the hook for some of the harmful things that he has said about women. If he genuinely does think that men are not lesser men for helping their wives out around the house that’s great. But that’s not a strictly complementarian position. Feminists and egalitarians think the same thing. They just don’t think that the husband automatically gets to be the “head.” What exactly defines headship then, if not a man getting to keep his wife subservient to him in the kitchen? If you really think men and women should work together and help each other out and not stifle each other’s gifts and abilities then that’s egalitarianism in a nutshell! And futhermore, other comp leaders like Mark Driscoll and Owen Strachan have said that it DOES make you less of a man to do domestic things. I can’t remember which one of them referred to stay-at-home dads as “man fails” but I know one of them said that.They seem to enforce a very “macho” view of complementarianism that seems more like a dictatorship than a partnership. And I would argue that they are more mainstream and popular and thus represent the movement to the world much moreso than Doug Wilson.

  • Jane Dunsworth

    “What exactly defines headship then, if not a man getting to keep his wife subservient to him in the kitchen? ”

    You might try reading one of Doug’s books on marriage for those answers. There are more things in heaven and earth than are contained in your philosophy, apparently.

    “And I would argue that they are more mainstream and popular and thus represent the movement to the world much moreso than Doug Wilson.”

    If this were true, what would it have to do with what Doug Wilson is guilty of with respect to how he treats women or what he says about how women? I thought your complaint was with Wilson, not with people wholly unconnected to this blog.

  • http://kamillaludwig.com Kamilla


    I’d be inclined to concede your point but for two things. Mrs. Evans wants to have her cake …. She has also insisted that Piper is her brother and always will be. Second, that she is capable of the casually cheerful blasphemy.

    If Piper is truly a brother she would welcome the chance to break the bread of communion with, how can he also be teaching us about “god” and not God?

  • Rick Davis


    What defines headship is responsibility. Take the Fall for example. Mankind fell because of Adam, not because of Eve. Even though Eve sinned first, she was not responsible for the all. “…in Adam, all died…”

    In the same way, the headship of the husband in marriage means that the man bears responsibility for his wife and family. Which is why in our church, and I guess most other CREC churches, if the wife or child of a deacon or elder leaves the faith or is in grievous sin, that man is no longer qualified to hold his office. He is the head; he is responsible for what happens to his household.

  • Kelby Carlson

    If you’re looking for places that define complementarian headship, the Danvers Statement is an excellent place to start. I am a complementarian who shares your concerns about some of these issues (although I think it’s unwarranted to assume Pastor Wilson of agreeing with everything Driscoll/Strachan/et cetera have said, as some of the things that are actually in his books differ quite a bit from some of those attitudes.) If you’re interested in seeing more of Pastor Wilson’s thoughts regarding slavery (dialoging with an African American theologian, no less–who could have expected such a thing!) you may want to look at the Thabiti discussions several months back in the archives. I have a number of disagreements with Pastor Wilson on these issues–coming from a Southern family, I have sympathy for his nostalgic view of the Old South but wish he would disentangle it from the abomination that was southern slavery more unambiguously–but I will second the statement above that I have been blessed to learn from him (if only in electronic/book form). If you want to have an honest and spirited debate about fencing the table, about his criticism of RHE’s post on John Piper, or on complementarianism, such a debate might be worth having. But slinging around words like racist, misogynist and bully and treating members of his church who comment on this blog with abrasive hostility is unlikely to foster Christian fellowship or a healthy spirit of argument. (As a man who is prone to flying off the handle this way, believe me when I say that regardless of who is doing it it invariably fails to help.)

  • Whitney

    Sara, in the spirit of reasonableness can you point some things out that you are finding in Scripture that supports your view that Wilson, Piper, Driscoll, etc are wrong in their views? What is your stance on the Bible anyway? I understand that these men are faces of public ministries (read: easy targets) so it’s only a given that they are held to higher standards of accountability for their beliefs. I’m seeing a lot from you on your view that these men are misogynistic and hypocritical …. but according to what? You’re not giving clarity to the standard from which you appeal. What is right and wrong to you, and how do you define it? It’s only fair to publicly give a context of beliefs for the accusations you publicly hurl.

    P.S. If you don’t believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, your scope of disagreement is MUCH larger than feminist/egalitarian vs. complementarian, and you might benefit from noting the futility of this comment thread.

  • http://www.tkylebryant.com Kyle B

    “What exactly defines headship then, if not a man getting to keep his wife subservient to him in the kitchen?”

    Is this a real question? I’ll hazard an answer anyways.

    What exactly defines headship? For that, we look to Christ, who is the head of the church. What did he do? He sacrificed himself for us, carried our penalty, and loved us when we were unlovely. That’s what proper headship means. It is servanthood. I think your notions of complementarianism are quite warped.

  • Tim M.

    Someone said somewhere…
    Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

  • http://kyriosity.wordpress.com Valerie (Kyriosity)


    If you’ll read carefully, I did not call you shrill and emotion-driven, I called your response shrill and emotion-driven. Of course we all have emotions. And good gifts from a loving God they are, but we need to know how to handle them in a way that honors Him. The problem comes when we hand them the keys to the car. They’re about as responsible and careful as a drunk sixteen-year-old behind the wheel.

    Has Pastor Wilson ever said anything to which I’ve had a negative emotional response? Sure. My initial reaction to the slavery stuff was not warm fuzzies. But I found out that when I listened carefully and understood what exactly he was saying and why, lo and behold, it turned out he was neither crazy nor evil. Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile came to the same conclusion even though he maintained disagreement with Pastor Wilson on some significant points. It’s amazing what happens when people rationally and graciously engage!

    By the time I finished writing the above, you’d posted again and posed the following excellent question: “What exactly defines headship then, if not a man getting to keep his wife subservient to him in the kitchen?” If you’d really like to hear the answer, let me know, and I’ll take a stab at it. But I need to take a break right now because I’ve got guests coming tomorrow and I’ve gotta get back to the kitchen. ;^)

  • Sara

    I am about to bow out of this discussion, but I just want to say to EVERYONE that my ideas of complementarianism and headship and submission have come from the mouths of complemnentarians themselves. The leaders of the movement in particular. I am not warping anything, I am not creating straw men. I am listening, with intent to what people like Driscoll, Piper, Wilson are saying and it sounds a lot like good old fashioned misogyny, with women always taking a backseat to their male “leaders.” If you want someone to blame, blame the aforementioned men for being careless with their words to outsiders. If you wish us to think that you all respect women and don’t want to keep us in the kitchen then please hold your church leaders accountable for the irresponsible things that they say. Because the words I’m hearing from them are often filled with machismo posturing and not a whole lot of respect for the female sex and our vast array of gifts and abilities.

    That is all.

  • Sara

    Also, it is kind of hard to have any kind of spirited debate or discussion in this comment section, since it takes SO LONG for comments to be moderate and then when you finally get around to replying to somebody, ten more posts have shown up. It’s exhausting, sheesh.

  • Jane Dunsworth

    Kamilla, I see your point and I’m close to agreeing. I think we just differ slightly in *how* she’s egregiously wrong and disrespectful. You think she’s blaspheming directly, I think she’s blaspheming by verbally showing hatred toward the image of God in the name of righteousness. There’s just not a lot of practical difference there, I don’t think. ;-)

  • http://kyriosity.wordpress.com Valerie (Kyriosity)


    The responsibility for effective and accurate communication lies as much with the listener as with the speaker. If you cannot describe the views of your opponents in words they find accurate, the problem may not be on their side. One of the really amazing things about the recent discussion between Pastor Wilson and Pastor Anyabwile was that they were both very careful to make sure they could recap each other’s views step by step throughout the conversation. I’d recommend you look up and read that series of posts and learn from their example. Or at least learn from Pastor Anyabwile’s example if it would be too great a strain to learn from Pastor Wilson’s. ;^)

  • http://kyriosity.wordpress.com Valerie (Kyriosity)

    Dear Mrs. Dunsworth,

    I must vehemently disagree…

    …with your avatar. Your thoughts are not empty.


    Miss Kyriosity

  • Kelby Carlson

    If you want me to disavow misogynist comments by complementarians, I’ll do so when I find them (although I generally find protracted Internet commentfights to be distasteful.) I certainly don’t plan on “keeping my wife in the kitchen” when I marry (with my career prospects I actually hope she does something incredible, as i’ll probably be teaching community college somewhere.) Beyond that, though, there’s not a whole lot I can do besides say “I vigorously disagree with ‘x’ by ‘Y'” in cases where that’s true. Not being a member of their church (nor, really, caring that much what Piper, Driscoll et al have to say about my love life) I don’t have the power to “hold them accountable” in any meaningful way. As for moderation and Internet comment debates, just be glad this is a moderated discussion; sites that aren’t get even uglier even faster.

  • http://kamillaludwig.com Kamilla


    A good number of people disagree with Mark Driscoll quite strongly on his theology of men, women and marriage.

    See the Hoirnal of Biblical Mamhood and Womanhood which published a scathing review of his marriage book. I believe Heath Lambert was the reviewer. See also Wendy Alsup’s review with her husband at Theology for Women.

  • Charlie Long

    Sara said “call a spade a spade.’ Awesome. She must be a racist. [insert innumerable paragraphs of ceaseless indignation here]

  • Melody

    Martha Stewart seems to have built quite an empire in the kitchen; and she doesn’t even have a husband. Where would PBS be without the kitchen? Sara must be very skinny since she obviously has a great fear of kitchens.

  • http://kamillaludwig.com Kamilla

    Dear Pastor Wilson,

    If you’re going to moderate moments, could you correct my typos? (Grins)

    And while I’m at it, could you please install a “like” button like Rachel Held Evans has on her blog? It would be nice to have a quick way to agree with Miss Kyriosity on the contents of Mrs. Dunsworth’s thoughts.


    Miss Kamilla Ludwig

  • Douglas Wilson

    Kamilla, I’ll throw that on the list.

  • Sara

    Okay, would anyone care to explain this gem to me.


    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

  • Sara

    And for the record, I’m actually a fatass so I LOVE the kitchen. I just don’t spend all my time there. I also have a job, and a supportive egalitarian husband who loves to cook for me.

  • Sara

    Does saying fatass go against your comment policy, Doug? If so, sorry. Keep in mind though that I was actually insulting myself this time, not you.

  • http://www.fullcontactchristianity.org Tim Nichols


    There’s a pretty cool opportunity for you here, dear sister, and I hope you don’t miss it. You hear Doug Wilson say things that identify him with Driscoll, et al., and with misogynists everywhere and everywhen. Then you also notice that he says things like “Helping is not effeminate. If a man’s masculinity washes off in dishwater, then it was a pretty superficial masculinity” — and it doesn’t make sense to you. How can he say both? As you asked in response, “How is the man supposed to be the “leader” if his wife isn’t at home cooking and scrubbing the floor?” That’s a very good question, and if you can grasp Wilson’s answer to it, I think you’ll begin to see that the spectrum of people who identify as complementarian is much broader and more nuanced than you’ve imagined.

    When I read someone saying something that seems to me to undermine or contradict his position, two things are possible. One is that he really is undermining his own position. The other is that his position is not quite what I think it is, and I’ve missed something. I learned this lesson the hard way in the year I spent with the works of Cornelius Van Til, and I’ve got to tell you, assuming that I’d missed something turned out to be one of the most rewarding assumptions of my entire academic career. I commend that default assumption to you as a matter of simple Christian charity, but also because it turns out to be very productive in a surprising number of cases.

    To return to the matter at hand, I’ve considered myself complementarian for a long time now, and if you saw the time I spend in the kitchen, you’d be shocked and amazed. I was complementarian long before Driscoll was cool, and haven’t felt the need for him to define the position for me (and forgive my ignorance, but I don’t even know who Strachan is. Never even heard of him before today.) Assume that there’s more nuance, sister — there really is.

  • Melody

    Sara, after reading all of your comments here, I’m mystified as to what your point actually is except that you are angry (why?) and love to vent that. You accuse Pastor Doug (whom I have never met) of saying terrible things about women and slavery, yet you have not cited a single one of those things. Apparently he has said some pretty awful things, so if you could be specific in naming one or two examples in a blog post or book he has written (you know, title and page number like were required in high school) I think it would be quite germane to the subject at hand.

  • Sara

    I have cited instances of him misogynistic. Have you read the link I provided above? He is quoted heavily in it. He also wrote this book on slavey with Steve Wilkins who is a white supremacist.


    So there you go.

  • Rick Davis


    I read the article you linked that discussed the statements about rebellious wives. Since there would be no way to break down the whole thing in a comment (I like to avoid writing tl;dr comments) I will simply offer the following thoughts:

    Comparing the post about men washing the dishes with the post about women refusing to do the dishes creates are a few possibilities:

    1) Doug is flatly contradicting himself and is being wholly irrational. (Not likely as he has authored a logic textbook.)

    2) Doug is being snake-like and duplicitous, malevolently speaking with a forked tongue. (Once again, not likely. Many people who personally know him attest that he’s a nice guy.)

    3) The two posts are not, in fact, contradictory. Doug Wilson is not an illogical moron, nor is he an evil baddie wanting to suppress women. Rather it might be appropriate to read with charity, with a view to harmonizing the two posts and attempting to understand the nuances of Doug’s position while giving him the benefit of the doubt when he seems to you to be off his rocker. I personally try to approach the writings of anyone with whom I disagree in this way. What I’ve discovered is that, total depravity aside, most people you come across in the world are fairly nice folks if you take the time to understand them. Most things that seem outrageous at first glance generally are not. Reading others this way gives the added benefit of being able to save your outrage for the situations and ideas that truly deserve it.

  • Sara

    Tim, it could also be that I and all the other people pointing out Doug Wilson’s misogny are not actually missing anything? Maybe he is not being totally honest when he says that men should help their wives with the housework? I mean, seems pertty straightforward to me. Why would someone who truly believed that need to also write something that says things like this:

    “She can learn on a representative problem. She would be overwhelmed with a requirement that she change everywhere, all at once. If, for example, the problem is one of poor housekeeping, he should require something very simple, i.e.. that the dishes be done after every meal before anything else is done.

    The first time the dishes are not done, he must sit down with his wife immediately, and gently remind her that this is something which has to be done. ”

    Apparently husbands need to give stern lectures to their wives and make sure the dishes are promptly done after every meal. No mention at all of the husband possibly doing them himself. He goes on latter to say that the church elders should be alerted if the wife isn’t full-filling all of her “duties.” Seriously? Like, church elders don’t have anything better to worry about than whether or not some guys’ wife is doing the dishes and the laundry properly?

    I just want Doug Wilson to be honest. He always seems to write and say contradictory things. How can he expect anyone to know where he really stands if he is not consistent? That’s just called being a good communicator. Being consistent and not constantly saying things that are hypocritical and contraditory is not too much to ask.

  • Jane Dunsworth

    Aw, gosh, ladies, just STOP!

    Howzabout you just imagine that as a sort of “fill-in-the-blank” so that it applies to every comment I make. Whatever’s in my comments, goes in the bubble. ;-)

  • Sara

    And in case anyone would like to see some specifically troubling passages from Southern Slavery As It was, here they are in their heinous detail:

    “Slavery produced in the South a genuine affection between the races that we believe we can say has never existed in any nation before the War or since.”

    “Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence. There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world.”

    “One could argue that the black family has never been stronger than it was under slavery. It was certainly stronger under the southern slave system that it is today under our modern destructive welfare state.”

    “Ironically, if slavery had not been so pleasant an experience for the majority, this mentality would not likely have such a strong hold upon the minds of some of their descendants today.”

    “And nothing is clearer — the New Testament opposes anything like the abolitionism of our country prior to the War Between the States. The New Testament contains many instructions for Christian slave owners, and requires a respectful submissive demeanor for Christian slaves.”

    Has Doug Wilson ever apologized for these things? Not to my knowledge. But if he has I’d love it if he or anyone else could point me in that direction.

  • http://kamillaludwig.com Kamilla


    I don’t think anyone can explain the Wartburg ladies. I’ve read approximately three of their posts and they got so many publicly verifiable facts wrong, I stopped reading them.

  • Sara

    Okay, you know what, whatever. You will all make excuses for Doug Wilson no matter what he says or does. There’s always a convenient narrative to excuse whatever backwards things come out of his mouth. Always. Apparently all of his critics just don’t understand him correctly. He is such a misunderstood fellow. Poor Doug Wilson. But maybe that’s not our problem. Maybe he is not a good communicator. And maybe he actually has said some thing things that are questionable, if not downright sexist and/or racist. Obviously I think the later. And you all think the former. Whatever.

  • Kelby Carlson

    All, my advice as a lurker and occasional commenter on many a religious and political blog is to not engage further. What we’re seeing here is, in Internet parlance, a troll. Nothing any of us who are remotely pro-Wilson could say will convince her, and nothing she says is likely to convince us. We’re not even really having a civil discussion at this point–not surprising, as most comment threads (with a few happy exceptions, especially around here) can quickly degenerate to the level of five-year-olds shouting “is not!” and “is too!”–which is about where we are now.

  • http://cdubthinking.blogspot.com Will Dole

    Dear Sara,
    here are my $0.02, although with the way the dollar is these days, one can hope that their value will multiply like so many rabbits.

    First, it seems rather illiogical to ignore the distinct possibility that you misunderstand Wilson’s complentarity when you are being confronted with
    1) the fact that his (seemingly) paradoxical ideas actually harmonize in an intellectual sense, and
    2) both what he has written and various personal attestations would imply that the harmony of these ideas reflect his practise.

    Second, I will be charitable and assume you have read Black and Tan, although your posts would seem to contradict this. I have. And while I disagreed with several of Pastor Wilson’s premises, and therefore come to different conclusions on the many of issues raised, it is hardly a tribute to racism in any sense. Perhaps you would do well to read the exchange between Pastor Wilson and Thabiti Anyabwile on this subject. I found them very edifying.

    Third, I would reconsider the tactic of multiple ranting comments on a blog post when attempting to effectively move an argument forward.

    In Christ,


  • http://www.fullcontactchristianity.org Tim Nichols


    Yes, it certainly could be that you’re not missing anything. That’s one of the options. But I don’t think so, and I think the question you ask is very much to the point: “Why would someone who truly believed that need to also write something that says things like this…”

    Why indeed? You could ask the question the other way round, too: why would someone who wrote the bit they quoted on Wartburg need to also write that masculinity doesn’t dissolve in dishwater?

    Because it doesn’t, and that’s important. A husband who won’t wash a dish has no business calling his wife to wash the dishes; Jesus set the bar on headship, and it means sacrificial service to the point of death. By the same token, broken promises and refusal to fulfill agreed-upon roles is a bad business in any relationship, especially a marriage. Jesus set the bar there, too — He calls His Bride to excellence, and is very much about the business of growing her into the blameless bride she ought to be. If the unhappy couple can’t sort out the dish problem between them, the church ought to be getting involved. Maybe the problem is a tyrannical (or lazy) husband; maybe it’s a rebellious (or lazy) wife; maybe it’s both, or something else altogether. The church gets involved because you don’t want to sour the marriage over who washes the dishes — Matthew 18 has no exception clause for spousal conflicts.

    Then, too, it works both ways: a complementarian husband who won’t get out there and make a living is in for the same conversation with the elders as a complementarian wife who won’t wash a dish. In fact, a complementarian husband who won’t wash a dish as needed is in for that same conversation with the elders, at least if he’s under my pastoral care.

    But we could go on unproductively all day, kicking around abstractions like this. It might be more productive to bring it down to a concrete relationship between two actual people. I’m willing to share with you how it has worked out between me and my wife, but that involves details I’m not going to plaster all over the internet. If that’s a conversation you’re willing to have, hit me up through the contact form here (scroll down to the bottom) and we’ll discuss it via email. If you happen to be in the Denver area, I’d love to have the conversation in person — coffee’s on me.

  • Dave Glasebrook

    Sara May 29 730AM
    “One could argue that the black family has never been stronger than it was under slavery. It was certainly stronger under the southern slave system that it is today under our modern destructive welfare state.”

    “And nothing is clearer — the New Testament opposes anything like the abolitionism of our country prior to the War Between the States. The New Testament contains many instructions for Christian slave owners, and requires a respectful submissive demeanor for Christian slaves.”

    Sara, modern blacks are more enslaved in the current welfare system than Virginia slaves ever were in the 1800s. Slaves in the 1800s didn’t live in ghettos; they had regular meals; they were not killed by gang members and they lived as families. How many black children are born today with out knowing who their father is? How many black moms even know who the dad is of their children? The current welfare system was designed to enslave blacks and the poor of all colors and is quite effective at doing so.

    Do you support the current slavery system?

    Why should any Christian apologize for anything written in the Bible?

  • Whitney

    What’s your standard, Sara? Misogynistic and racist compared to WHAT? Your standard? Societal standards? Biblical standards? What framework are you coming from? Seriously? It’s tough to know if there’s any chance for a common ground to work off of with you. Help us out!!!

  • Jane Dunsworth

    “Tim, it could also be that I and all the other people pointing out Doug Wilson’s misogny are not actually missing anything?”

    The problem with going to that explanation is that then you have to account for the possibility that those of us who do not think that Doug Wilson is not misogynistic are not missing anything, either.

    So we have an impasse on the “lots of people believe it, so there must be something to it” method of figuring it out.

    So then we have to do the hard work of looking at his words, in context, and trying to figure out how they might make sense to a reasonable person. If there’s no way at all to do that, then we have a problem with his writing. If there is a way to do that, Christian charity demands that we find it. If there are specific errors to be pointed out, we can do that, too. But seizing on a few things someone’s written and deciding to fit everything he’s ever said into a mold that proves he’s as bad as our first impression suggests, is not a biblically recommended means of understanding what we hear.

  • Jane Dunsworth

    “If there’s no way at all to do that, then we have a problem with his writing.”

    Sorry, that could easily be misunderstood. Let me try again:

    If there is no way at all to do that, then there is a significant problem with what he has written.

  • Sara

    Okay, last thing I’m going to say because wow, I cannot begin to tackle everything.

    The finer points of Doug Wilson’s views on gender aside, I just want to point out how offensive this is:

    “Sara, modern blacks are more enslaved in the current welfare system than Virginia slaves ever were in the 1800s. Slaves in the 1800s didn’t live in ghettos; they had regular meals; they were not killed by gang members and they lived as families. How many black children are born today with out knowing who their father is? How many black moms even know who the dad is of their children? The current welfare system was designed to enslave blacks and the poor of all colors and is quite effective at doing so.”

    Black slaves in the 1800s were regularly beaten, raped, lynched and made to work in extremely poor conditions. They were not treated better than black people in America today and to say so is ludicrous beyond belief. I’m not denying that there aren’t still problems for the black community and than many people are not living in poverty. There is still work to be done but good grief, I can’t begin to imagine how you could think they were BETTER OFF as slaves. They were PROPERTY of the white man, literally. Nobody should own another person. That is abhorrent and anyone who would make excuses for it and gloss over the atrocities committed against black people who were held as slaves has no business lecturing me about morality and race relations. Wow.

    I am out of here for good now. Some of you are really starting to scare me a bit.

  • Charlie Long

    Has anyone pointed out yet (and has Sara noticed yet) that at least one of Doug’s daughters runs a business? I guess I should add — a business that isn’t dishwashing.

  • http://kamillaludwig.com Kamilla


    She doesn’t care. She wants to hang the worst possible construction of his words around Doug’s neck. She doesn’t care that she’s also implying white slave owners were so stupid they killed off their labor force thru lynching. It’s kinda like the congressman who claimed so many slaves died in the horrible conditions on slave ships and then were thrown overboard that sharks still swim those shipping routes hoping for some tasty human chum.

    And call me cynical, but I’m guessing she cares so little about the truth of life among blacks in this country that she has no clue that 60% of NYC’s black babies are killed before birth and that around 2 of 3 black children are born to mothers who are not married to their fathers.

  • Jonathan

    That comment by Dave’s is the exact same sentiment that Pastor Wilson has shared himself, which shows how the sickness spreads. It’s not just the historical inaccuracy that’s at issue (though it’s certainly inaccurate), its the condescension to lump ” modern blacks” together as if they’re all in the welfare system, the demeaning of the suffering of the slavery experience, and the blindness to not understand how anyone not swashed in such ideology (especially any “modern blacks”) is going to take such a statement.

  • http://kyriosity.wordpress.com Valerie (Kyriosity)


    As I mentioned earlier, I’d highly recommend that you read Pastor Wilson’s discussion with Pastor Anyabwile about the slavery issue. You can find that here (Wilson’s posts) and here (Anyabwile’s posts).

    You can find a little more context for the “conquer and colonize” language here and here.

  • Darius T

    “Black slaves in the 1800s were regularly beaten, raped, lynched…”

    Sara, stop and think about that statement for just a minute. I know that’s the propaganda we are fed by our schools, media, and Tarantino movies, but it doesn’t make much sense. If you regularly beat and killed your valuable property, how successful of a businessman would you be?

    Sure, there were beatings, some rapes, and the occasional lynching. But there were laws against slave abuse as well, which you probably weren’t aware of.

    Compare that to the all-too-frequent situation today… the majority of black children don’t make it out of the womb in one piece, and those that do don’t have a father in the home, get a poor education, poor diet, and tend to end up in prison. Entirely because of a legal and welfare system designed to “keep them in check”, enslaved to the white man.

  • Jonathan

    Darius T, I’ve had experience with modern slavery, and personally know women who have been regularly beaten and raped in that situation. It is indeed very regular, even today. And this comes in many countries that have laws even against the very existence of such a trade. So your attempted “logic” to deny historical fact proves false.

  • Darius T

    Apples and oranges, Jonathan.

  • slance

    “A slave who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, And shall have part in the inheritance among brothers.” — Proverbs 17:2

  • http://www.facebook.com/langleyforless John R. Langley

    On a more benign note, Mr. Kilpatrick’s book is titled “The Writer’s Art.” It is terrific.