No MSNBC Slow Jam

This set of observations was offered by David Gushee, an ethicist of some note with Mercer University. Not only are the homosexual activists declaring a premature victory in the sexual culture wars, but they have also begun discussions on how much damage we Christians did in the course of the fighting, and have begun to muse about what reparations we must owe. But as far as paying reparations is concerned, and I speak here in what is almost certainly a metaphor, they can take my gun after I am dead and see what they can get for it on eBay.

Gushee laments all the damage we did by remaining faithful to a moral tradition grounded in nature, in the revealed will of God, and extending over thousands of years. And he says this because we hurt the feelings of people he confusedly identifies as the protagonists of the story.

Look at the points he makes about the damage we did. Stare at those points if need be. The first three consist of some variation of “Christians have become identified with.” I see. By whom? Right. The entire writing staff for Tokyo Rose think that we somehow crossed the line. The next three broadcasts are really going to be something. Prepare to be zinged!

Then his last two bullet points amounted to the same thing. Christians have alienated, Christians have contributed to the fears of, those who are completed muddled on what real alienation is, and what we should actually be afraid of. I always knew that victors wrote the history books, but it takes a postmodernist to write them beforehand. Or a postmillennialist.

The only alienation worth considering in this discussion is alienation from God, and we really ought to talk about it more, because it is the driver of homosexual lust. Fear is worth talking about as well, because when heaven and earth flee away from the judgment seat of Christ, so will all impudent Supreme Court justices gather up the skirts of their robes in order to not make it two steps. Woe to those, Scripture says, who frame mischief with a law.

Alienation is real. Fear is real. What is fake is the redirecting and repurposing of that alienation and fear — pretending that somehow those who love you enough to speak the truth are the haters, and those who despise you enough to lie to you about the state of your eternal soul are those driven by compassion.

Another name for real alienation is the outer darkness, and that is where all of this is going. The only sounds we are told about there are the cries of weeping, and the grinding of teeth. There will be no punditry, no editorials, no MSNBC slow jam, and no court of appeal. And the hardest thing about this state of everlasting alienation is that none of it will be an injustice. I don’t know why people talk about social justice so much. Hell is social justice. We need social mercy.

In the meantime, while the sun is still up and shining on us all, every lame attempt to get us to feel bad for having had the temerity to oppose the establishment of sexual dyslexia in the law will continue to find me unpersuaded. Sorry — girl on girl doesn’t spell anything. Neither does guy on guy.

The secularists have run out of stories. The only story that renews itself, taking many wonderful forms, is the story of the knight and the lady and the dragon. Two knights and a dragon doesn’t work. Neither can two ladies and a dragon. But notice how they always manage to keep the dragon . . .?

But to return to our initial point about how they have declared victory prematurely, I want to finish with an observation from Chesterton. He once said that a small taste of paradise on earth was to fight in a losing battle . . . and then not lose it. That’s where we are right now. Dragons are not easy to take down, and there is always a moment in the fight where it seems as though all is lost. But if you were trained by the right stories, you know the meaning of eucatastrophe.

  • Jonathan

    JPL gave the quote in a recent comment that “This generation of Christians, is responsible for this generation of non-Christians.”

    I think that as Christians, we need to carefully reflect on what we have and haven’t done to lead to the current situation.

    Or we could just keep doing the same thing, and screaming at the non-Christians, and wondering why they don’t change.

  • Robert

    Children don’t need to be told stories of monsters to know they they exsist. They already know that monsters exist. They need to hear the stories so they know monsters can be destroyed.

  • Brian


    The link in your article to Gushee’s article is not working.
    Here is one that works though:

    How do you come to be in the know on this stuff?
    I’d because I’d like to know so that I can develop your methods/techniques (including efficient use of sources) for having a good radar in trying to stay on the alert.

  • Brian

    Oops, the above meant to say: “I’m asking because I’d like to know….”

  • James Bradshaw

    So Jesus can’t tolerate men kissing men. Here is what he CAN tolerate (if you believe Doug and the Bible):

    A) People buying and selling other human beings for profit. Pastor Wilson has written on some length regarding this. There is a “Biblical model” for slavery which describes how human trafficking can be done in a way that pleases God.

    B) Women being forced to stay with men who blacken their eyes and turn their faces into a bloody pulp. Jesus gives one “out” for divorce: screwing around on your spouse. Otherwise, you’re stuck unless you wish Him to burn you in an oven the size of Texas for all eternity and your screams serve as entertainment for Him and His “chosen”.

    C) Burying people in sand and throwing stones at their head until blood covers the ground because they had sex without having a “holy man” recite a few incantations to bless their relationship or because they picked up sticks on the “wrong day” of the week.

    This is the reality of the morality of Scripture: violent, misogynistic, sadistic. It’s not only sub-human, it’s sub-animal.

  • Moor

    Do Christians troll the atheist bloggers too? Is that, like, a thing?

    On another note, I found a Thoreau quote while reading Civil Disobedience this week that seemed to sum up some of what Doug is talking about:

    “A drab of state, a cloth-o’-silver slut,
    To have her train borne up, and her soul trail in the dirt.”

    Or, in the words of Jesus:

    “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”

  • RFB


    Do you consider “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” or “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” to be “screaming”?

  • Douglas Wilson

    Brian, thanks. I am on the road and my laptop died, and I couldn’t fix the link from my iDevices.

  • Kyle B

    James Bradshaw,

    Well, I say the morality of Scripture isn’t violent, misogynistic, and sadistic. Who’s right and why?

  • katecho

    Jonathan likes his salt to be a little less salty.

    Jonathan wrote:
    “I think that as Christians, we need to carefully reflect on what we have and haven’t done to lead to the current situation.”

    Indeed, but Doug has been calling for reflection and Christian repentance on this topic for years. For example, he has cited sins of omission and a resulting father hunger inside the Church as a contributing factor. This is a message that many Christians don’t want to hear, and it probably sounds like Doug is screaming at them. Perhaps conviction increases auditory sensitivity.

  • Michael Lynch

    James, your argument is basically “Doug and the Bible says this, this and this, so we shouldn’t listen to them.” Well, you practice sodomy so why should we care what you have to say? What is your standard for right and wrong when you practice that which goes against nature? You have no standard.

  • Jonathan

    RFB – no, I don’t count that as screaming, and I’ll also note that a whole string of actions involving nearly every one of us is included in that sentence. I think it be interesting for you to take every word spoken to a non-God-fearing (in claim) “sinner” in the New Testament, and see what ratio of them take the condemning tone as the point of entry.

    Katecho – no, I think the salt absolutely HAS to be salty, or it has lost its effectiveness. You miss that the whole point of that saying is that the salt needs to be salty IN ITSELF before it is at all useful to change the greater society. The question is what’s already in the salt, which then allows it to change everything else.

    Which proves my exact point. It’s who we are, and what we’re doing, that determines whether we have the stuff to change anyone else.

  • katecho

    With the current shortage, it’s a curious sight to see James Bradshaw wasting all that ammo on his straw man targets. I’m not sure whether to discourage him or encourage him. Maybe it is useful to have him around as a testimony of the thoughtfulness of our opposition. Trayvon Martin’s friend has taught us, each time she takes the stand, there is a certain kind of prosecution witness that money can’t buy.

  • Dave Matre


    Are you of the belief that the 13th amendment abolished all slavery in this country? If so, you need to read it again carefully.

  • RFB


    In fraternity, I would say the following. Paul unabashedly spoke to those outside of the commonwealth: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.””

    “Commands” is quite salty these days, and probably was then as well. Their reaction: “some mocked”.

    God says that the the message of the cross stinks like death to those who are perishing, and that the message of the cross is foolish to that same demographic, and He also says that He is pleased by that dynamic. I AM NOT saying that we need to make the message unpalatable. I am saying that humans will, by the declaration of God on the matter, find it so.

  • Jonathan

    Again, RFB, Paul stated that God commands ALL men to repent.

    I heartily agree with that.

    I think that there are many speakers who can make this kind of alter call with Godly love, and many audiences for which such a loving call to repentance reaches the heart. For example, Doug could here post about the tendency we all have towards fornication, the insidious ways in which we have all have given room in our hearts to one kind of lust or another, and the need for everyone one of us to repent of that. He could count himself as chief among such sinners, and make us believe it.

    How often have you seen that kind of post?

    Instead, what I seem to be seeing several times as often is the call that “they” (people of whom almost 100% are not a part of Doug’s church and do not count themselves among his supporters, or even open-minded listeners) are the ones who are really sinning, and the only way that “we” are sinning is by not condemning them heartily enough Though again, since Doug and his supporters are condemning them quite heartily, the second one is mostly directly to those outside of Doug’s circle too.

    Is there anyone who listens or reads Pastor Doug Wilson who doesn’t already know he holds this belief? Anyone who doesn’t already know how important it is to him? Is there anything that these statements will really accomplish beyond continuing to build up enmity between Doug’s parishioners/followers and “those people”, or between any of “those people” who believe they are being targeted and the church?

    Those aren’t just rhetorical questions. If there really is a manner in which this specific modus operandi is helping at this point, then I’m still open to hearing it. But I have to ask – is this the Biblical model? Is this what Jesus told us to focus on? How did Jesus interact with such “sinners” who had been cast out by the people of God and were more often than not despised by them? Isn’t there a speck and a log passage, and a lot of other passages about judging others, that have relevance for us here?

  • Mike Bull

    “I always knew that victors wrote the history books, but it takes a postmodernist to write them beforehand. Or a postmillennialist.”

    Pure gold.

  • Allen

    It’s a good reminder that our current ruling culture is entirely postmil in its outlook; they just believe they can do all the work themselves.

  • David


    Posts like this one — on hot-button cultural issues, especially so-called gay marriage — usually attract lots of attention, and lots of comments. But if you read this blog with any regularity, you’ll notice that Doug posts on a wide range of doctrinal and pastoral issues, covering a great variety of the sins we’ve invented and sought out. Most of these posts, judging from the scarcity of comments on them, attract comparatively little attention. But they’re there, an inescapable part of the record.

    If that doesn’t persuade you as to why there are so many posts like this on this blog, there are two other things to consider:

    (1) If the world is attacking historic orthodoxy at one point all the time, and you’re trying to engage the world from the side of the historic orthodoxy, you need to respond to the point of attack. Sometimes wisdom may suggest broadening battle lines, or pressing on to outflank the opposition — but sometimes you have to fight where you stand.

    (2) We have to distinguish between sinners and apostles of sin. “The tendency we all have towards fornication, the insidious ways in which we have all have given room in our hearts to one kind of lust or another” means we’re sinners; and we need to repent of our sin. Apostles of sin deny the need for repentance for certain sins, because they deny that the sins in question are sins. Doug posted about the distinction at length here:


  • katecho

    Jonathan wrote:
    “For example, Doug could here post about the tendency we all have towards fornication, the insidious ways in which we have all have given room in our hearts to one kind of lust or another, and the need for everyone one of us to repent of that. He could count himself as chief among such sinners, and make us believe it.

    How often have you seen that kind of post?”

    Quite often, in fact. But not at every setting or occasion, as Jonathan seems to insist.

    Jonathan’s mischaracterization of Doug’s body of work on this subject is shameless, and void of integrity.
    In spite of Jonathan’s selective amnesia, Doug has at various times and places addressed Christian culpability on this subject and many others, and has given examples of how he has personally approached homosexual relatives, congregants, and neighbors with firm and patient compassion. Even when these have been pointed out to him, Jonathan chooses to willfully ignore these other contexts to continue his self-appointed role as Doug’s accuser.

    In contrast, these more recent posts by Doug are specifically with regard to current battlefield events. In the first paragraph of this post Doug makes explicit reference to “the sexual culture wars”. Context is important. Jonathan simply continues on, oblivious to the sounds of battle. Jonathan wants to have us engage as if everyone in the homosexual movement is a peaceful non-combatant. That is folly.

    There is indeed a time to speak softly and patiently with the one who is caught in a sexual identity crisis, but there is also a time to speak authoritatively to the cultural brigands before the city falls. Jonathan has not learned Christian warfare tactics and is instead projecting his own shame upon others who have. He is offended that they are not ashamed.

    Those generals leading the homosexual movement are not as naive as Jonathan seems to be. They know they are in a fight. They know what they are fighting for, and whose voices they will steamroll along the way.

    Perhaps it will have to become truly grim and unhinged before Jonathan will awaken from his slumber. Not every point in the story arch calls for the same treatment from faithful Christians. What if Jonathan was around when the crowd from Sodom assembled outside Lot’s home? Would Jonathan counsel Lot to lament his personal sins and lusts in order to openly identify with the sinful mob? Recall how it didn’t matter that he surrendered his own daughters to them as a peace offering, they still saw Lot as an accuser, and a foreigner come to judge. Remember that even after they were struck with blindness, the mob still kept looking for the door in order to rape Lot’s guests.

    At that point in the story arch it was not time to lament personal sins in order to identify with the sinful mob. It was not even time to engage in culture warfare and speak authoritatively to the mob. It was simply time to grab the family and flee the city, or be swept away in God’s righteous judgment. Discerning the time and place is important, and Jonathan needs to get started.

  • Moor

    A simple line can be drawn.

    Law to the proud; Grace to the humble.

    And they are, after all, called “PRIDE” parades.

  • Jonathan

    Katecho – we battle against principalities and powers, not against people. I addressed that in the next post. Your framing of us as engaged in a constant war against sinners is not how Jesus framed the battle. The sinners are the lost, not our adversaries. Part of engaging them is confronting their sin, but in love – and, like I said, you can have perfect doctrine but not do it in love, so any old way of confronting is not enough.

    David – I think Paul would have considered himself an “apostle of sin”, no? His own self-applied designation is the only time that I can think of any Biblical support whatsoever for your distinction. Jesus did appear to make a distinction in how he approached people, but he didn’t use your distinction – his distinction appeared to be “the religious leaders of his own people” and “everyone else”.

  • Jonathan

    Katecho, if you think I’ve appointed myself as Doug’s accuser, then does that mean you long ago appointed yourself as my accuser?

    I try to agree with Doug whenever I can. I LIKE agreeing with Doug. There’s been two posts in the last week alone where I said nothing but affirmation of Doug’s points. I would rather that all of my posts were that way, but I’m always going to say what I believe to be true.

    You, however, have made ever single comment with my name in it an attack on me. And you’ve made literally hundreds of those attacks on me in the last few months. So if anyone is a self-appointed accuser on the board, then it would be you. See how easy it can get to talk about the logs in other people’s eyes?

  • katecho

    Jonathan wrote:
    “Katecho – we battle against principalities and powers, not against people. I addressed that in the next post. Your framing of us as engaged in a constant war against sinners is not how Jesus framed the battle.”

    Constant war against sinners? Jonathan might need to check his prescription, or, better still, just drop the deliberate mischaracterization. I’ve spoken repeatedly about the principle that there is a distinct difference between how we should engage the enemy civilian and the enemy combatant. If Jonathan is trying to make me feel guilty of warmongering, it’s not working.

    But there is a more important Scriptural problem for Jonathan. He has not only misrepresented me, he has misrepresented Christ. If there is no battle between people, then why does Scripture describe it in those terms?

    And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel. – GENESIS 3:15

    Here we have a description of the conflict between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. We know that the seed of the woman is primarily a reference to Christ, but who is the seed of the serpent? Jesus described them in the New Testament. They are those who are of their father, the devil, and they go forth murdering and telling lies. They are people. Sinners. But not just passive civilians caught in private personal sins, there are enemy combatants in the war. They lie and kill. Jonathan’s argument is with Scripture here.

    But Jesus does not stop there. He brings the conflict even nearer.

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.” — MATTHEW 10:34-36

    That sounds like people. It sounds like we will have conflict with sinners. This directly contradicts Jonathan’s assertion that kingdom warfare doesn’t involve people. Most of us are not called to confront militant sinners every waking hour (thankfully), and most of us have regular occasions for friendly evangelism, but Jesus affirms the broader cultural war. Jesus acknowledges the existence of enemy combatants with a formal declaration of war:

    “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the courts, and scourge you in their synagogues; and you shall even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what you will speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you are to speak. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. And brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” — MATTHEW 10:16-22

    Wolves? It sounds like people. It sounds like conflict with people; brothers, fathers, governors, kings.
    Jonathan seems to think that any bold engagement with the wolves makes one a wolf. Such are the only wolves his eyes can see.

    One would almost think that Jonathan doesn’t know Jesus if he doesn’t know about the conflict that we are in. Does Jonathan think that we are better than our Master and that we will not encounter persecution and even death for our faith? Jesus is saying that He is sending us out as sheep into battle. He instructs us to be shrewd in the engagement, and to win, even if our victory looks like sheep to the slaughter. We will use words that the Spirit of the Father will provide. The description of this battlefield directly contradicts what Jonathan is telling us. Jonathan ought to tread carefully here.

  • LMN

    Katecho shouldn’t be so “K”atty.

  • Kamilla

    A word about dragons. Some years back I was privileged to hear Abp Yong (now retired, then Anglican bishop of SE Asia) speak about his culture. One of the things he talked about was the cultural fascination with dragons. I’ll never forget the moment when he paused and said, “A dragon is merely a dressed up serpent, you know.”

    Powerful moment.

  • Jonathan

    “Constant war against sinners? Jonathan might need to check his prescription, or, better still, just drop the deliberate mischaracterization. I’ve spoken repeatedly about the principle that there is a distinct difference between how we should engage the enemy civilian and the enemy combatant.”

    I already replied to your made-up categories of “civilian” and “combatant” before. The only category Jesus seemed to treat differently were the religious leaders of his own people. He never spoke that way to people who weren’t even among God’s people yet.

    Genesis 3:15, I hope you realize, refers to a serpent, not a man.

    The “your father the devil” passage is one in which Jesus is referring to his own people’s religious leaders, who are leading God’s own people astray, as I pointed out earlier. Not to people who aren’t even among the people of God.

    Your Matthew 10 passages are perfect. Indeed, people will come against us. And in the process, we are to be wise in what we say, but as innocent as doves. And yes, we may be delivered up to the courts, scourged in the synagogues, brought before governors and kings, delivered unto death…but do you notice that those are all things that OTHER people do TO us? Not a single one of those is an offensive statement. In all those situations, we are to testify TO Christ. Not testify AGAINST others.

  • Joseph M.

    I’m confused as to who the dragon is in your metaphor…

  • Zack Skrip

    What if instead of using the terms “sinner” and “enemy combatant” we used “sinner” and “false teacher.” Not all of the false teachers in the epistolatory settings were from within. The Colossians were likely dealing with a proto-gnosticism or some sort of generic syncretism. Everyone should have the pure gospel preached to them, but there are those that are outside of us who wish to lead others astray, and there is no question the apostles used harsh words for them.

  • katecho

    What is the nature of cultural warfare and kingdom conflict? Is it brandished swords, machine guns, crusades, top-down political maneuvering, and setting of legal traps? Jonathan seems to want to hang such imagery around Doug’s neck and wag his finger. But what is Doug actually doing? Doug is fighting using arguments, and principles, and ideas, and labels, and definitions, and with the Gospel, and with worship. This is primarily how Christians do culture war. It is how we take thoughts captive to obedience to Christ. We also do culture war by going as sheep before wolves and lions, as necessary. It simply doesn’t matter that Jonathan wants to portray kingdom warfare as something other than this, or as something unjust. We will still be in a culture war, and there are still enemy combatants and wolves that need to be confronted because of love for the sheep and love of the Gospel.

    Jonathan wrote:
    “I already replied to your made-up categories of “civilian” and “combatant” before.”

    I’m not sure which is more troubling, that Jonathan seems unwilling to acknowledge the nature of the broad culture war that we are in, or that he thinks the distinction between civilian and combatant is made-up. He seems to want to portray every sinner as a lowly civilian, with only private sins, just needing a caring hand. This is the social justice conception of the lost, which is recklessly short of the full story.

    Jonathan began with an attempt to erase all categories of kingdom warfare among people with his blanket declaration “we battle against principalities and powers, not against people.” The problem is that Jesus did battle with people, and so did Paul, and Stephen, etc. Jesus also pointed out that the conflict He brought would strike between mother and daughter, father and son, resulting in enemies within the same household (i.e. people). Jonathan finds himself at odds with Scripture on this issue, but rather than back down he clings even tighter to the notion that Jesus only confronted the religious leaders among God’s people:

    “The only category Jesus seemed to treat differently were the religious leaders of his own people. He never spoke that way to people who weren’t even among God’s people yet.”

    It seems revealing to me that the only exception that Jonathan sees to his original assertion is for “religious leaders”. Perhaps this explains why he views Doug as fair game.

    In any case, Jonathan must acknowledge that Jesus did not merely battle with spiritual powers of darkness, He battled with religious leaders as well, and religious leaders are people. Christ’s weapon was primarily the use of the Word of God, but whips also came into play. So Jonathan’s original claim that kingdom warfare is “not against people” is trivially wrong.

    But did it stop with religious leaders as Jonathan now suggests? Christ’s attention to the people of Israel may have had something to do with the fact that Jesus was honoring the principle of treating God’s house first, then the rest of the nations. He was sent “to the Jew first”, according to promise. But even so, we have defiant exchanges like this one:

    Just at that time some Pharisees came up, saying to Him, “Go away and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.” And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’ — Luke 13:31-32

    Notice that Jesus testified against Herod by calling him a fox, and openly defied his threats. Herod was an Edomite king, and not a religious leader. Herod was also a person.

    We can’t ignore that Christ was setting the stage for a global culture war. One that would touch at every level, from kings and governors down to the members of one’s own household. He was sending His disciples into all the earth where they were expected to meet opposition, including from governors and kings (not simply the religious leaders among jews).

    When it comes to kingdom conflict and Christian conduct in it, we are fortunate that Jonathan is not in charge.

  • katecho

    “Genesis 3:15, I hope you realize, refers to a serpent, not a man.”

    If Jonathan is suggesting that Genesis 3:15 refers simply to our general reaction to snakes, then I realize no such thing. This is a particularly vapid exegesis from Jonathan. The text says:

    “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

    This promise refers to the seed of the woman, the man, Jesus (and those in Him, see Galatians 3:16), and it also refers to the seed of the serpent. The seed of the serpent is not the serpent, or simply snakes in general, but the devil’s offspring. Jesus identifies some of them in the passage I had also paraphrased from John 8:44.

    They are also referenced in passages like this one from Matthew 13:37-40:

    And He answered and said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.

    Notice that Jesus is talking about a global field of conflict, not just jewish religious leaders.

    A major theme of Scripture is the Son of Man suffering and pierced through, but rising to conquer and give a mortal defeat to Satan.

    the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil. — 1John 3:8