So a gent named Josh Butler apparently won the woke lottery, this being the kind of lottery that Shirley Jackson made famous through her short story of the same name. He did this after an excerpt from his forthcoming book was published at TGC. Well, maybe it is a forthcoming book, I don’t know anymore. Outrage ensued, and the article was pulled and groveling apologies were made. He lost his position at The Keller Center, and the evangelical world proved that it can woke swarm with the best of them. But because the Internet is forever, you can still read Mr. Butler’s offenses here for yourself.
You know what I think they are trying to do? I think they are trying to get Tim Keller to red pill. And however unlikely I might think that is, it would certainly be festive.
Now if you go and read that article, you will encounter nothing worse than a classic example of evangelical overshare. What has happened to the evangelical world? We used to be able to take examples of overshare right in stride. It was our bread and butter. How has it come to pass that the once robust evangelical movement no longer knows how to process examples of overshare? Tell it not in Gath!
At any rate, it came out in the course of Butler’s article that the sex act, if hetero-normal, involves something called penetration, he let it slip somehow, and a bunch of our liberated sisters ran sobbing from the room.
I Make an Appearance in a Sideshow
A number of years ago, Jared Wilson wrote an article, also for TGC, and a similar uproar happened. This was because he had the temerity to quote from the chapter on rape in my book Fidelity. That book was published in 1999, and Jared quoted from it in 2012. We were giving an account of where illicit rape fantasies come from, and I was arguing for their unlawfulness, even within the confines of marriage. The context of this was the phenomenal success of 50 Shades of Grey, which had been published the previous year in 2011. It is hard to argue that rape fantasies are not a thing that pastors need to deal with when rape fantasies are selling millions of copes all around you. So there’s that.
Our argument—and for those who were born after the publication of Fidelity, an argument is an arcane process in which you set forth some premises and seek to exhibit the implications—at any rate, the argument was that authority and submission in marriage is inescapable, such that when you deny or suppress this reality for ideological reasons, trying to flatten everything, the reality will come back at you in demented forms. This was then represented by our adversaries as some sort of an apologetic for those demented forms.
For those interested, back in the day, I wrote this response to that particular uproar.
But now, in the immediate aftermath of this recent thing with Josh Butler, it was not ten minutes before someone at Baptist News Global sought to show that this most recent example (Butler) was part and parcel of a larger pattern of perfidy at The Gospel Coalition. For had they not allowed Jared Wilson to quote me? That particular line of attack from a fellow named Rick Pidcock can be found here.
This isn’t the first time TGC has used the gospel to sacralize male sexual hierarchy over women. In 2012, they published an article where Jared Wilson quoted Douglas Wilson saying, “The sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage.”Linked article
You may have seen that quote before. It is one of those quotes that people put into scary fonts, and circulate by means of scary memes with scary pictures of me on them. Now tell me, how many millions of dollars have been spent on sex education?
However, Pidcock continues with his scissors and library paste mode of critique.
That 2012 TGC article continued: “Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the ‘soon to be made willing’ heroine.” And this: “True authority and true submission are therefore an erotic necessity.”Samo, samo
Having done this much, the author, he then quotes the late Rachel Held Evans, when she said, “What is perhaps most disconcerting is the fact that even after multiple women expressed their concerns in the comment section, both Jared Wilson and Doug Wilson repeatedly dismissed these concerns with exasperation and condescension, ridiculing the commenters’ lack of ‘reading comprehension.’”
But after all this time, I have to now say that the above juxtaposition of quotes is not a lack of reading comprehension. No, the problem lies somewhere else.
“Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.”
Psalm 40:4 (KJV)
Pidcock juxtaposed those excerpts from the quote to make it look at though I was approving of men when they dream of being rapists, and that I was commending the daydreams of women who wanted to be ravished. He wanted to make it look like I was saying go, team, go. But in fact—and please follow me closely here—I was saying the opposite.
So Let Me Brag on Canon Press for a Minute
Allow me to explain, yet again, what is actually going on here. I had a little bit of fun above with the game that the sob sisters are playing, but their fastidious reactions to certain sexual realities is not where the main action is. Their central concern is to maintain their right to bully other people. Their kinky interest is to get grown men at The Gospel Coalition to crawl on all fours, asking for forgiveness. When they ran from the room, that was certainly a spectacle, but the real problem was that they teamed up with commies out in the hallway, and they have come back in with certain mandatory requirements for everybody. Their commitment to the free exchange of ideas is somewhere near North Korean levels, and the only thing they know how to do is demand things—apologies, retractions of blurbs, withdrawal of book deals, cancel culture, and so on. They are she-bullies. And the men who enable them in getting away with this kind of gross misbehavior are being pencil-necks.
But I published Fidelity with Canon Press almost 25 years ago. In that time, they have never once wavered in their commitment to the publication of what we believe the truth of God to be, as set forth in His Word. And this, despite the fact that there have been multiple opportunities for them to react the way other publishers react to the woke scolds—and they have not done it.
I am really proud to be associated with them.