Those who believe themselves to be hep to my tricksy ways might have surmised that I orchestrated this entire recent flap about Steven Sitler because Randy Booth and I recently put out a book entitled A Justice Primer. But whether you are disposed to believe me or not, that was a total coincidence. In this book we address biblical principles for evaluating charges that are brought against someone, anyone. The book is, I believe, quite a necessary resource for good-hearted Christians everywhere — who regularly see defamatory information scrolling by in their Facebook feed. There is even a chapter entitled “Trial by Internet,” which concludes with this sage advice: “Never get into a braying contest with donkeys” (p. 160).
Nancy and I have been quite blessed by all the believers who have checked in with us to see if we are doing okay, and who have let us know they are praying for us. We really appreciate it, and are doing quite well, thank you. This is not our first rodeo, and we have previously had numerous occasions to see how God uses this kind of situation for blessing in our lives.
I thought I would put together a short list of seven ways this kind of thing can be used for good. Of course, the real list is much bigger than seven, but this is what I thought of this morning. Here are a few ways we see blessing, and look for more blessing to follow. These points come in no particular order.
1. This kind of controversy gives me opportunity to hold up A Justice Primer and say, “Did you know that we have this new book out?” Have I already mentioned the book? I forget. Either one of my girls could have had a big country hit if they had wanted — Colporter’s Daughter.
2. This kind of controversy has a winnowing effect. “For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized” (1 Cor. 11:19, ESV). When something like this happens, it really is revelatory. People come out of the woodwork in very interesting ways, and often they don’t seem to be aware that they are doing so. They “like” articles and posts they shouldn’t, and don’t seem to be aware that what they are doing is quite visible and consequential. Perhaps you knew someone was bitter, but not that bitter, or ungrateful, but not that ungrateful. Or perhaps you had no idea. But uproars like this give people an opportunity to declare themselves, which they then do. When you run your little flag up the flag pole, it turns out other people can see it.
3. This kind of controversy reveals those who have true wisdom also. In line with that winnowing effect, it is a joy to see parishioners and friends who “get it,” and who articulate the truth with grace and verve. They know, for example, the difference between assertions and demonstrations, between yelling and proof. As one of our more astute parishioners illustrated for us, they know when there is a real problem and when the Internet is just throwing poo into the ceiling fan. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for the community of saints we have here.
4. This kind of controversy reveals to young men who are preparing for ministry the true nature of gospel ministry. From a distance, certain kinds of “mercy ministry” look wonderful, appealing, and, if you are a hipster, sexy. Everybody likes mercy ministry, and everybody detests those white bread churches that won’t do mercy ministry. Everybody is all about mercy ministry until the meth heads and sex offenders start showing up at church.
“Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12–14).
These people Jesus was thinking of . . . I wonder what they smelled like. I wonder what their sexual histories were like. I wonder if any of them would be invited to fill out a golf foursome that a well-connected minister had arranged with some Chamber of Commerce leaders. No, this passage is talking about low-lifes, and you can’t minister to them without risking being lumped in with them. You glutton. You drunkard. You protector of pedophiles.
But make no mistake — Jesus also hung out with well-connected sinners (Luke 5:29) — Marine colonels, IRS men, and beautiful courtesans in gold lamé dresses. But that is a different issue for a different kind of moralistic fusser. We can deal with that another time.
5. This kind of controversy gives me an opportunity to extend an unacknowledged good to certain of my adversaries. Jesus says to bless them, and this is one way to do it. In this last round of poo-throwing, quite a sinister construction was placed on a comment I made a number of years ago — “I am a pastor. I cover up sin for a living.” But some of the disgruntled people who are out there yelling about this are some of the very people I would refuse to tell stories on. And despite their current animus, they don’t need to worry about it; this is not a veiled threat. I would rather die than use information gleaned in the course of pastoral ministry against them in the course of a public fight (1 Cor. 9:15). But I can go so far as to say that among those who are going after me for “protecting” Steven Sitler are some people who are receiving far more protection from me than he is. In the nature of the case, his sins were criminal and therefore public, and have to be discussed publicly. But when certain folks join forces with those who hate the fact that I “cover up sins for a living,” I do want to catch their eye, nod slightly, and enjoy with them a moment of shared irony.
6. This kind of controversy gives fuller meaning to the communion of opprobrium that faithful ministers of every age share. Jesus says that we are to rejoice when people revile us, in part because of the company it puts us in.
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matt. 5:11–12).
And Jesus doesn’t say we are to be a little bit glad. He says exceeding glad. He says that we are to go around the corner, get out of their sight, and do a little jig. In this case, Nancy — a Puritan jewel — celebrated by buying me a nice bottle of Laphroaig.
Spurgeon once put it this way: “The more prominent you are in Christ’s service, the more certain are you to be the butt of calumny. I have long ago said farewell to my character. I lost it in the early days of my ministry by being a little more zealous than suited a slumbering age. And I have never been able to regain it except in the sight of Him who judges all the earth, and in the hearts of those who love me for my work’s sake.”
And as another Puritan once put it, he had learned the art of living in the high mountain air of public calumny.
7. This kind of controversy gives us an opportunity to anticipate the next wave of blessing in store for us. As mentioned above, this kind of thing has happened before, and every time it has happened, it was right on the threshold of great blessings for our church and community. This is how God gives His gifts to us. This is the kind of gift wrap He uses, and we recognize it by now. We know the shape of the box and know what’s coming. In one of our previous uproars, a package full of scurrilous charges against me was delivered to our front door, hundreds of pages, and these charges were every bit as energetic as they were erratic. As Nancy and I were talking about it, I said to her, “This is my big promotion.” And it was.
Advocating in favor of enabling pedophiles is all anyone needs to know in regards about whether they should buy the book or not.
Are you saying that the practice of metzitzah b’peh disqualifies members of the clergy from performing/officiating weddings?
You mean preforming fellatio on baby boys as part of circumcision doesn’t disqualify someone from the clergy, thus disqualifying them from officiating weddings?
Does the book advocate enabling pedophiles? I doubt it. Does DW advocate that. Definitely not. So grow a point.
Brilliant. Love it. Rejoicing with those who rejoice. I’m jigging with those who jig.
Diddling children with those who diddle children?
I agree, that’s why protecting and enabling pedophiles like Wilson did is completely unconscionable.
Then your real issue should be with the courts.
Oh really, you’re going to let Doug slide when he has done everything he can to facilitate a proper patriarchal lifestyle for a convicted dangerous pedophile who cannot be in the same room with his own infant son without a line of sight observer available?
Doug can be as charming and snarky as he wants. I, however, am not going to forget about the victims of Doug’s work, which include an infant child and his mother who cannot be trusted to protect her own baby from his pedophile father.
–Deana M. Holmes
In what way are they victims?
You are really asking that question? *mouth agape*
I don’t even–I’m not gonna try…
–Deana M. Holmes
The courts are certainly to blame as well, but Wilson waited a full two months to report Sitler to the police (during which time more children were abused), pleaded with the judge for leniency, waited 6 months to inform the congregation, and then married Sitler off to create his own ready-made easily-accessible abuse targets.
Wilson, upon learning of the situation, instantly told the relevant parties to go the police, which they did. He’s stated this many times, so unless you have some proof that he’s lying…you’re lying. He did not plead for leniency, but rather for justice without an emotional decision. The judge was the one who handed the sentence down. Doug has often said that if Steven had received life in prison, he would have fully deserved it. So again…you’re diddling with the truth to make your accusation look more reasonable. If the sin is being dealt with (as Steven’s was), then it… Read more »
“Not everyone needs to know everyone else’s sins. Those who needed to know were informed: the rest of the congregation was informed later.”
Yes, nor everyone needs to know everyone else’s sins, but considering the fact that child sex abusers very often commit the crime again, I think the entire congregation are “those who needed to know”! What if he was at a member’s house for a party and had access to a child! The entire congregation needed to know right away, they should not have been “informed later” much less almost half a year later!
I believe that the elders took that into account, and informed everyone whose child had been at risk. Like I said, everyone who needed to know was informed.
That being said, I would trust the elder’s judgement of who needed to be informed in the moment rather than your post-game commentary a decade after the fact.
8 months later.
Nathanael, Mirecle and Sara: Did the courts bind the elders from speaking about it in public? Give us the answer.
You keep saying it was hidden and that isn’t the complete truth. Before you two continue making gross assumptions and stirring the pot, you really need to know the facts instead of just trash talking.
did they? I don’t believe there’s any reason to think they did.
The problem is that you (seem) to lack full knowledge about the situation, as perhaps most people do. Thus you are condemning people when you do not know the full story. Make your concerns known about what you do know. Tell us that you think various sentences in the US are too light or severe. But be careful about what you imply about motives.
Lol. That’s absurd and you know it. If we were to sit on our hands until celebrity figures (or anyone) freely handed out all the pertinent information relating to their misdeeds, we’d be waiting a long time.
Bill Cosby would probably still have a job.
You don’t know what the reason was. You are spouting assumptions.
“I would trust the elder’s judgement “…. Keep in mind that it was a Christ Church elder, Mr. Iverson ,who facilitated the relationship of Katie and Steven. Steven says: “It was something like Friday or Saturday when Mr. Iverson called me and wanted to know if he could meet with me face to face…he pulled me aside and told me that dinner on Sunday wasn’t just an ordinary dinner, that he had in fact gotten a young girl, Katie Travis, and her family to stay an extra day to meet me.” Katie says “I went in to Mr. Iverson and… Read more »
The half year is bogus gossip that is spread by those who hate Wilson. There is a considerable amount of disinformation floating around that keeps being dredged up for the purpose of attempting to start fires where there is nothing to burn.
What if Sitler was in jail? How could he be at a member’s house for a party? Do you really think that no one in Moscow or the church knew that Sitler had been arrested for molesting children? Do you know the reason the church as a whole was not given detailed info immediately?
This is called creating one’s own future clientele counseling list. There will always be a demand for those needing counseling with Dr. Wilson providing the supply through his marriage programs.
Nathanael, you have demonstrated your mastery of the situation ably. Two months? Sitler was turned in immediately. It has been a decade or so, so I don’t recall if it was that same afternoon or the next day. But it happened asap. Would you like to correct anything?
You guys might end up in a civil suit making statements like this.
The parents of the molested child reported the crime to the police right when it happened. Sitler went to jail immediately, which removed the possibility of him harming more children.
The courts have a hard time preventing marriage, and the Idaho Department of Corrections stated that they did not support the marriage.
Judge Stegner supported the marriage.
Judge Stegner didn’t officiate at the couple’s wedding. Mr. Wilson, however, did – and his hand wasn’t forced to it.
I was replying to “the Idaho Department of Corrections stated that they did not support the marriage.” I was asserting that that comment was a partial truth. Partial truths are misleading.
“Diddling children with those who diddle children?”
Wow, someone needs to call the police on this guy.
Are feminists and gays part of the lowlifes who are welcome at Christ Church?
Having read DW for years I can answer that one. Yes, provided they are refugees from the world and not its apostles.
Given the context, I think that the low lifes are are reference to the way the world sees them, not how believers see them.
That’s the whole point. Christians in this instance are being slandered for hanging around untouchables.
“Either one of my girls could have had a big country hit if they had wanted — Colporter’s Daughter.”
But thank God they didn’t have to be Cole Porter’s daughters.
“Perhaps you knew someone was bitter, but not that bitter, or ungrateful, but not that ungrateful.”
In some cases, I think (I hope) it’s that I knew they were clueless and immature, but not that clueless and immature.
Actually Krychech2, Eric the Red, comes to my mind when reading number 2 and 3. I was so happy to read his comments on the previous post.
They were a blessing.
I assume that the behavior that has been referenced was the initial offense that led to imprisonment. You could make a very good argument (and I probably would) that such behavior warrants execution and then Doug Wilson’s responsibility would be witnessing to him on the way to the gallows. If life in prison then there would be a responsibility to witness to the prisoner. As it is, our legal system doesn’t execute or imprison for life such offenders. What is the minister’s responsibility to such an individual that seems repentant? Its hard to argue against ministering to such a person… Read more »
“As it is, our legal system doesn’t execute or imprison for life such offenders.” Actually, didn’t Sitler originally get a life-sentence? Couldn’t dear old Doug have mentioned approval of execution/life-sentences in his little letter to the judge if he didn’t think this guy should be out there?
Seriously, though, evidence points to pedophilia being pretty much incurable. A repentant pedophile therefore could avoid children entirely due to horror at the thought of harming another person in that way.
Repentant pedophiles don’t need kids.
You’re assuming that pedophilia is a disease, not a sin. To speak Biblically of sin, you would also have to recognize that Jesus can do away with sin. Sin isn’t cured, it’s forgiven.
if the recurring desire to harm babies continues, what’s that?
He can be forgiven all he wants. He just can’t be around kids.
Which is easier? For the Son of Man to forgive sin, or for Him to say “your pedophilia is healed”? Even given your assumption that pedophilia is a disease, Jesus can handle that too. This is not to say that the civil consequences of something as serious as pedophilia should be ignored. Steven still benefits from accountability, and he accepts that. But your perspective on sin and disease should take into account the power of the gospel for the healing of both.
Carson, there’s grace for everyone who repents. But if you repent of harming kids, but still have desires to harm them . . . you stay away from kids. That’s what repentance would look like.
Jesus can heal, but usually, unless he’s walking around on earth at the time, it isn’t instant. And what does his forgiveness have to do with whether Sitler should be in prison, whether he should be at church (with kids) or whether he should have his own kids?
Jesus can heal, but usually, unless he’s walking around on earth at the time, it isn’t instant. This is true and insightful. And what does his forgiveness have to do with whether Sitler should be in prison, whether he should be at church (with kids) or whether he should have his own kids? This is true too and it implies wisdom and judgement and telos ; i.e what do we presume to be the outcome of a sinner becoming an active member of the Body of Christ. I see a conflict between two presumptions on how to proceed. I do… Read more »
awwh. Yeah, p.c. norms like not wanting people who rape children around children. Like that?
If it’s more important to be countercultural than it is to protect children from rapists, count me out.
I may be a five points of Calvinism, Biblical inerrantist, but, uh, that’s going to far.
Same goes with keeping women under men–Jesus isn’t big into the kind of leadership that subjugates the underlings. Doesn’t even take a Bible scholar to figure that out.
If it’s more important to be countercultural than it is to protect children from rapists, count me out.
This statement bolsters my sense that this is a hit-job on Wilson’s credibility and that this issue is the opportunity to bring him down and under (high-) heel..
Should a former alcoholic take a job as a bartender?
Does he have his sin under control, or does it still master him?
I would suggest someone who has a sin under control avoids even the appearance of evil.
Which is exactly what Steven has been doing, by being completely open and honest with every single investigative and probationary measure taken. Avoiding the appearance of evil is not the same as being able to dodge spurious trouble-making by Rose Huskey, who literally fills her home with boxes and boxes of paper-work, all to try to pin down the supposed sins of Steven, Doug, and others. I think the appearance of evil in this case is a badly-formed drawing made of poo flung at a canvass.
The probation officer doesn’t believe he’s been open and honest.
That’s a reasonable position to take, but this is where knowledge at a distance begins to fail. You have to know the people involved. From what I’ve heard, it seems that this probation officer has been hostile towards Steven for a while now. You can see in the closing sentences his attempts at provoking speculation without actually bringing specific charges. This case has been a polarizing one because of Doug’s involvement rather than being simply a matter of administering justice to Steven, and those who don’t like Doug are unfortunately waiting in the wings to interpret, color, and amend information… Read more »
Do you think you or a probation officer know more about the risks involved with a child rapist?
I think someone who doesn’t personally loathe Steven would have a more accurate perception of those risks.
Do you think Sitler could misrepresent the situation or are you such a good judge of character that would never happen?
And are you willing to bet an infant’s safety on it?
I don’t think you’ve realized this yet, but none of this hinges on proving that Steven has abused his child. As long as there’s reason to believe the child at risk (there is ample reason: his father is a serial child abuser), he should not be in the home.
Again, I would caution you against saying that Steven “is” a serial child abuser. For the past decade, he clearly hasn’t been. It makes you argument seem stronger, and indicates that he hasn’t changed a bit, but it simply isn’t true. There’s good reason to believe that the child isn’t at risk, based on the past 10 years of faithfulness and accountability.
And I know that this is going to rub you the wrong way, but I think that if Steven is a faithful father, the child will be better off with him than without him.
You can minister to the guy without
a) asking for leniency
b) inviting him back to church (at least when little ones are around)
c) officiating at and blessing his marriage after he expressed the intent to have children.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics found a recidivism rate of 5.3% among sex offenders after their release from prison. More statistics at the link:
Jeremy, recidivism rates have the terrible little issue of not reflecting those who didn’t get caught.
Further, I specifically stated that the mindset/attraction remains. A pedophile who has been caught and “rehabilitated” is still far, far more likely to offend then, say, a person who doesn’t enjoy raping children.
Not a risk worth taking with children.
Ah, yes. Proof by lack of evidence. Very convincing.
Lots of great stuff here. ” One long-term study of previously convicted pedophiles (with an average follow-up of 25 years) found that one-fourth of heterosexual pedophiles and one-half of homosexual or bisexual pedophiles went on to commit another sexual offense against children.”
“Pedophilia is a sexual orientation and unlikely to change. Treatment aims to enable someone to resist acting on his sexual urges.”
Which means, of course that 75% and 50% respectively don’t. What’s your point, exactly?
Define “sexual orientation” and explain why it is “unlikely to change.” Please explain how you know it is a “sexual orientation.” What is the cause of “sexual orientation” in your worldview?”
Presumably serial pedophiles would also be more likely to reoffend.
If I might make a suggestion Pastor Wilson please, stop calling it good news, its not, for the vast majority of humanity past and present, most likely into the future it is horrible awful eternally painful news. Thank You.
Actually, given Doug’s postmillenialism, he (and I) believe that the vast majority of people over the course of history will in fact be saved.
Actually Carson because Pastor Wilson holds to the salvation of papists and other apostates including heretic federal visionsionists he will be joining us in perdition only God is letting him believe he is saved so at the very very last moment he can yank the carpet out from underneath him and others and gain praise and great honor in doing so. At least that is what I have been told. Like I said it is not, never has been and never ever will be good news. I am just asking people to not call it that.
Okay, but let’s just hold on a moment. If someone really believes something is the good news, they should call it that. It sounds more like you’re arguing with what he believes, rather than the fact that he calls what he believes the good news. So, if you want to discuss federal vision (without the extra syllables), and the fact that you apparently believe you’re going to perdition, I would love to have that conversation, but perhaps not here. It would distract from the current topic of debate.
Part of my point is that most of us are seen by someone else as a heretic, apostate, “enemy”… fill in the blank. Most of my Christian experience was to be told just how utterly vile, evil, and filthy every single human being is from before the foundation of the world to eternity future. Some very very very very few may be saved, but the vast majority will be tortured in the presence of the Lamb for all eternity for His Glory and praise. Like I said it is not, never has been and never will be good news for… Read more »
Well, Calvinists believe that every aspect of man’s life has been touched to some extent by sin, but that’s not the same as every person being utterly evil in all things. It’s a common mistake to make with the poorly-named doctrine of “total depravity.” If you really insist that most people are going to hell, then of course it’s not good news. But the Gospel really is good news: most people are NOT going to Hell, over the course of history. I believe we’re still in the opening act of history, and I think the Gospel will transform and resurrect… Read more »
Total depravity is not the same as utter depravity. Even Stalin loved his mother.
Well, it’s just wonderful to know you’re doing okay.
However, some of us are a little more concerned about how Sitler’s infant son is doing.
You know, the actual victim here.
Touche, Gina. The lack of attention to the victims in this case is most telling, indeed. Perhaps Doug is just not *expressing* his overwhelming concern for the least of these. But out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, doesn’t it?
Is Sitler’s son a known victim now too? If so, wouldn’t Doug and Christ Church officially and heartily approve of Sitler’s immediate return to prison, etc.?
I can answer that second one: Disqus decided that counting the downvotes was harmful to online discussion. So, instead, they rank comments on the page by counting the number of upvotes, which is visible, and subtracting the invisible number of downvotes–or something like that.
Bummer on that, was looking to an objective vote system to see how well I am doing here…oh well.
I honestly don’t think anyone’s going to come up out looking good here. Let’s face it, Wilson’s actions in actually attempting to minister to this guy are eminently defensible. Yes, he is in church. Yes, someone is watching him at all times. No, he doesn’t hang around before or after the service. You might have issues with that, but it’s not unreasonable. (Personally, I think that it’s a weird society that won’t hear of killing a man, but will subject him to permanent internal exile. I am in favor, by the way, of changing the former condition, not the latter.)… Read more »
Yes – some of that may be personal information for Katie, though, and Doug may not wish to share it. But yes, I would like to know what he said to the couple once engaged. What was the counsel on having children?
It may have been permissible for Katie to marry Steven but it does not seem wise.
“But yes, I would like to know what he said to the couple once engaged.”
I would hope it was “this is a terrible idea and I advise you against it.”
“What was the counsel on having children?”
Good question considering he has expressed the following:
“The union of one flesh is explicitly connected to the possibility of
procreation (Gen 1:27-28; Gen 2:22-24). Other arrangements violate this
order and cannot, therefore, be marriages under God’s design.”
“This is one of the three main reasons for covenant marriage — the begetting of a godly seed (Mal. 2:15). This should be taught and emphasized in the church, and is the only
really effective way to counter the world’s anti-child bigotry.”
It seems that Doug Wilson knew of their intention to have children prior to his approval of the marriage; since Mr. Sitler stated as much to the Department of Corrections (causing them to write a letter saying they did not support the wedding) and Doug Wilson stated in his own letter to the court that “Steven…has been completely honest with me”.
A pastor who officiates the wedding of a couple ipso facto approves of it. If he does not approve of it, he declines to officiate.
Oh, no, not by a long shot. There’s a long list of reasons why a pastor might officiate at a wedding ceremony that he doesn’t approve of; here are a few, just in case you really can’t think of any on your own: 1. He may think they’re making a mistake but it’s their choice. 2. He may believe the couple is better off married than not married. 3. There may be children involved and he may recognize that children are better off with married parents. There are others. A lot of time there are no perfect options, so you… Read more »
Are you suggesting that Doug Wilson officiates at unions of which he does not approve?
The issue of “someone is watching him at all times” is not quite so clear cut anymore, given the published court documents that Steven’s chaperone, his wife Katie, has now been removed as a qualified chaperone because she did not properly inform Steven’s probation officer of “instances” (note the plural) which the court refers to as of “heinous nature”, and which caused the corrections officer to order Mr Sitler out of his own residence.
Read the entire document from the Idaho Department of Corrections, dated August 24, 2015, here:
Somehow I doubt that Wilson, in dealing with his parishioners, relied on anyone other than his elders. If he did–well, that does not speak well of him.
Unless the elders were court-approved, however, they do not count as chaperones. Given Doug Wilson’s tendency to use confusing vocabulary, it is not clear whether he is using the term ‘chaperone’ to mean a legally qualified chaperone, or merely someone he appointed to keep watch. The former is what is required by the court.
One would hope he would not have been that foolish. I’m not entirely convinced of that, mind you–why on earth would he believe that the guy had been “completely honest” with him?–but one would hope that he got whoever he trusted to watch the guy approved by the court.
And I don’t think he uses confusing vocabulary so much as he uses an idiosyncratic one.
One would certainly hope. But Doug’s credulity with a known, multiply offending pedophile–asserting after merely six meetings with him Steven was being “completely honest”, stands in stark contrast with the most recent statement of *trained* personnel at the Indiana Department of Correction that “Mr. Sitler continues to do things his way, and continues to make disclosures and still fails the polygraphs, to which leaves one to think of how much he is not disclosing.”
For the Department of Correction letter, see here: http://sitler.moscowid.net/2015/08/24/department-of-correction-special-progress-report/
Read Doug’s letter from Christ Church to the court here: http://www.tomandrodna.com/CR_2005_02027/
I’ve failed a polygraph while being honest… turns out an attuned conscience, you know, the sort that many Christians may have, may be detrimental to the whole thing. I was in the application process for the Florida Highway Patrol. Before beginning, they have you fill out a questionnaire, wherein you realize how many felonies and misdemeanors you may have committed without realizing that they were felonies and misdemeanors. They had moved to the marijuana portion of the polygraph, while I was still trying to remember whether I had put the right date on the last day I had stolen candy… Read more »
A victim complex will only get you so far. Instead of acknowledging that harm MAY have been done, DW quotes the bible in a “holier-than-thou” display of sheer glee. And he hints at violating counseling confidentiality: a nudge, a wink, but no “veiled threat” – though there is a definite undercurrent of having to watch your back, as he’s watching what you say and like on Facebook. The culture war is apparently imminent, and if you’re not careful, you’ll be brought up on charges of treason. And, like so many unjust wars before it, this war will be driven by… Read more »
Or, he really actually means what he says when he would rather die than violate pastoral confidentiality, and yet he finds it ironic that some of the beneficiaries of this pastoral confidentiality may be pointing the finger at him. I’ve had a similar sort of thing happen to me.
1 Peter 419 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
As you were Wilson and your little Church too! ; – )
I don’t get why so many people think that someone who has had sexual problems in the past should not marry, ever. So long that one’s past is disclosed to the prospective spouse what is the issue?
Of the 4 classes of deviancy that I mentioned yesterday, these people have married. Many have not continued in their previous sin, and this includes examples of all the deviancies.
I suspect that the problem some commenters here have with the marriage of someone who had problems with sexual deviancy in the past has everything to do with Wilson being in the picture. If this had happened in the next county over and with a different minister, these people would likely not express the same attitude.
seriously? Some of us may be aware of it because Wilson is a big name, but that’s how fame works, hon.
Also he didn;t “have problems with sexual deviancy,” he molested children. Your way of saying it completely ignores the fact that there are victims.
I was rephrasing the first line of the comment I was responding to when I used the words sexual deviants. People who molest children are sexual deviants and Sitler had a problem with that. I do not ignore anything of the kind. I know the family of the victim. There are commenters here and elsewhere who will use literally any excuse whatsoever to criticise Wilson. It’s a longstanding sport.
an English teacher could tell you the difference in emphasis and meaning.
Do you ever wonder if people maybe criticize Wilson because he’s WRONG?
There are some commenters here who are critical of Wilson because they think he is wrong and there are others who are critical because he is in the picture. I did not say that I thought all of the criticism was two-faced, but some of it is.
Just for fun now, but it does seem that “pussy footing” might be a perfect way to describe your language choice. Rather than say it plainly, you make it a little more palatable.
It’s NOpussyfootin! :) I am at a loss at what word choice of mine that you find lacking and what I am making more palatable.
Hence the irony. Calling Steven someone who “had issues with sexual deviancy” rather than a “child molester.” One might get the idea you’re not comfortable with hard truths.
I referred to him as a child molester on another one of my comments in this blog post.
Ok. Cool. It’s just kind of Orwellian to use language that comes *this* close to casting HIM as the victim.
As I said before, I was responding to Bethyada’s comment of “I don’t get why so many people think that someone who has had sexual problems in the past should not marry, ever….Of the four classes of deviancy…” My language in that particular comment was chosen to reply to that.
Like saying “mistakes were made” when you could say “I made a mistake.” Like that. See?
I can get down and dirty when I think it’s called for, but on the internet, especially when I am running without my real name, I like to be overly careful of how I speak.
bethyada, if the person has children, it’s not just two consenting adults involved and affected by the decision.
Yes. But one should argue against having children, not against marriage. I have not problem calling someone a child molester. I used the term deviancy because I talked about several deviancies on a previous post. Specifically, I personally know of people who are now Christian who were involved in deviancies such as sodomy, adultery, paedophilia and bestiality, all of whom married. Many of these no longer struggle with these sins nor are there issues with the children. I note that people who do not abuse children directly may have problems with sexual sins and they indirectly cause many problems with… Read more »
Can I also encourage readers here to buy A Justice Primer. It is both excellent and a much needed book for the church. It is right that convicted criminals are punished rightly, often more harshly than the current system allows. But it is also vital that we get all the information we can about alleged crimes, that we are dispassionate and administer true justice. Further, the church should be much more wary about gossip and slander. A false accusation is particularly ominous. The OT states that a known false accusation has the same punishment as the actual crime. It is… Read more »
Given Doug’s Wilson’s actions in this situation, I certainly won’t be looking to him for guidance on justice. The very fact that he (and you) would shill a book in this context is disturbing.
But you don’t know all of Doug’s actions. You only know what is public. This is the point.
I make no money off the book; but it does address the problem in all this mess including your comment: which is to diss my character based on assumed motive which you are ignorant of.
I did not diss your character, I said that I found your actions (promoting a book) disturbing. I still do.
Except it has implications about my character.
Here is the problem, ignorant people are sending accusations around the internet. I agree that a book dealing with the issues of accusation is a useful read.
Others place all manner of links to various ideas.
How, pray, are those things different.
But bethyada’s recommendation of a book is somehow disturbing says guester; but not to diss or malign you.
Are those brass-knuckles new?
Are those brass-knuckles new?
I know right?!
*watches guester struggling to get up*
Well, based on your logic, your statements about me have implications about MY character! Viewing all statements as personal slights prevents a discussion on the merits of an issue…people can just say nyah nyah, forever.
Not at all. I am responding to what you have said. Shill suggests deceit (or, perhaps opportunism?)—neither of which are true of me in this case incidentally.
You are making unwarranted assertions but I am calling you out for what you have written.
If your problem is the use of the word “shill” I will gladly apologize for that word and replace it, as follows.
The very fact that he (and you) would promote a book in this context is disturbing.
In part. But you are still using rhetoric. You find it disturbing. Why?
Have you read the letter sent by one of Steve Sitler’s victim’s family to the judge, Bethyada? It speaks of their heavy hearts watching Steven living in the comforts of his parents home, rather than being in jail, after he forced their two year old child to commit an oral sexual act. Their story–the victim’s story–should be first and foremost here. So yes, I find the promotion of a book (and as Doug’s first point, too!) in the face of such grief disturbing. Please respect the victim’s family enough to read their plea for justice, which is quite different from… Read more »
That’ better. My response is that Doug addressed Sitler in the post yesterday. But in the course of the comments the issue of accusation (and others) arose. So He has written today’s post on that. This current post is about pre-judging, amongst other things. It is not primarily about Sitler (which yesterday’s post was). Thus he points people to a more thorough reading about the whole issue of public and private sin, what can be said, what should be said, what are the standards of justice is completely appropriate. This post is about that. As are several of the comments.… Read more »
Then we will simply differ on this point. You are correct that Doug addressed Sitler in the post yesterday. He did however, not address his victims (there are many) nor has he today. Their pain and distress hangs heavily over this discussion: unwanted, unanswered, and certainly uncomforted, except by Jesus who made no qualification in his condemnation of those that offend the least of these.
So I still find the promotion of a book for economic gain in this context disturbing, and will continue to do so.
Did you read the statement from the victim’s family?
Doug is addressing the issue (I assume) now because Sitler is currently in the news about current claims. He has posted on the issue in the past (several years ago). It will be somewhere in the archives. He can’t address any current victims until it is confirmed that there are any. I assume Doug thinks that Sitlers actions towards his previous victims is appalling.
Odd, is it not, that we have to ‘assume’ what Doug’s attitude toward the victims is, since he doesn’t speak of them? At the very least, it’s not his first priority in the conversation (point #1: my book!). Jesus’ call for justice was clearly on behalf of the innocent little ones, and he was blunt and unequivocal in their defense. Do Doug’s statements match up with those of Jesus? My first post at this site still sums up my views: Jesus: “But whoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that… Read more »
Doug has said before (I think) something along the lines that an appropriate punishment for forced sodomy or coitus by an adult with an infant child should (possibly) be capital punishment. I am in relative agreement with this. I think lesser (but serious) offences should be punished by jail and/or lashes. I also think that paedophilia has become the run to pariah, including by many who would justify sodomites. As such there is no allowance for subtlety, and others wish to lynch even those suspected of wrong behaviour. So my concerns about the current situation (knowing little and acknowledging that… Read more »
For example, here is an earlier response at the time (2006).
And here Doug talks about those who claim to be fighting for the victims by making public what the victims families wish to be kept less public.
Sadly Bethyada, both these links are unimpressive. Doug devotes both posts to a defense of himself and the church. The victims are mentioned only in passing; mostly used as a device to shame those who made the case public.
Perhaps you read them differently, but I certainly don’t see a focus on the least of these in either of those posts.
Isn’t that the point. The victims don’t want it public and Doug is honouring them. And those “supporting” the victims families are making it very public, all for their own good of course.
An interesting read of that first paragraph, guester: but I believe its point was found at the conclusion: “Never get into a braying match with the donkeys.” If you missed the actual point, then perhaps it is so noisy where you are, you can’t hear yourself think.
No, it’s quite peaceful here, Carole.
And I did not refer to the first paragraph, but “the first point” the #1 on Doug’s list.
Same point: the one it sounds like you are still missing.
Have you read the letter from one of Steve Sitler’s many victims’ family to the judge, Carole? Please have enough respect for them to do so. It is here in it’s entirety:
As Wilson says above “Coincidence? Or a masterpiece of publishing guile and cunning? You decide.” From all those black helicopters flying around, I’d say he “married off” some folks a few years ago, only to sell the Justice book now. Mr. Burns of the Simpsons must be jealous! ; – )
I think I’d rather stick to the statutory and case law.
–Deana M. Holmes
Laphroaig, Doug?! Seriously?
Try Balvenie Doublewood next time. Or, when you’re ready for some good gin, try The Botanist. It’s distilled on Islay (more famous for its peaty single malts).
Buying Laphroaig for your man could be of the quickest proofs that one’s Christian woman is of the ‘Excellent’ (Pr 31:10) variant!
My Number One is Balvenie while the Number Two & Three Single Malt rankings are respectively Laphroaig & Glenmorangie (any variant of these three will do for a mighty recommend).
May God continue to eulogeo Doug as he rejoices with his woman & strong drink (Dt 14:26).
I have a friend who ministers to men in prison, many of whom are sex offenders including pedophiles. Getting them into churches once they are released is very difficult. Desperate for ideas, he suggested asking churches for financial support for a ‘sex offenders church.’ While that would solve a lot of problems, and might actually serve as a kind of halfway house in rehabilitation, it would be akin to the kind of scapegoating involved in the creation of the modern state of Israel. Where do we put those whom only Jesus loves? Your points above are right on the mark.… Read more »
I think an important point here is that any sex offender attending church should be monitored by people with appropriate training. If pastors are involved, they themselves should be willing to receive specialized training; particularly in how to recognize and counter the known tendency of pedophiles to ‘feign’ repentance. Repeat offenders like Sitler are already adept at deception by the time they are caught. They know that the Christian faith values redemption, and will use that to their own advantage. The credulity of many commenting here, as well as Doug Wilson’s statement to the judge (after only six counseling sessions!)… Read more »
True. I agree. But I don’t think any of this is news to Pastor Wilson. Based on what I have read, I would personally have discouraged the marriage (and I agree with the commenter who said self-imposed limitations are a good sign of repentance), but I’m on the other side of the world. I don’t know anyone involved personally. And I’ve seen marriages that were discouraged turn out fine. The pedophile mentioned above was married with children at the time of his offences. He served his sentence, and is still married with children — probably unusual, but I believe he… Read more »
“I agree with the commenter who said self-imposed limitations are a good sign of repentance”
I was that commenter. :) Thanks. First nice word I’ve heard from any of the good people here.
Actually he committed multiple offenses before he got married. And his sentence is life long parole and never being allowed to be alone with any children including his own. So lets just make sure we keep this straight. He is a serial molester not a one time offender.
CS Lewis said he couldn’t stand people who sat back and took shots at those who faced difficulties they had never faced, i.e. Armchair Quarterbacks, Backseat drivers and all that jazz. But it’s not only in front of the plasma on Superbowl Sunday that inexperienced and ignorant cutsies who never threw a football in their lives shout very wise and scathing critique; behold this thread, in which some who almost certainly never had to face such a pastoral situation know just how it should be handled, and in what timing, and why, and with every particular neatly in place. If… Read more »
” in which some who almost certainly never had to face such a pastoral situation ”
Do you know that to be true, Dave W? Or are you just taking shots? You know, at those who may have faced difficulties you have never faced?
Proverbs 26:4 – “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.” For all those seeking to defend Doug Wilson, please listen to this proverb and see that it is written to instruct you. For all the rest of you, please listen to this proverb and see that it is written to refer to you.
Matthew 5:22 “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
I’ve called no one here a fool, Tom. But you just did.
Keep it up! You’re making my point better than I ever could’ve.
Have you read the letter from one of Steve Sitler’s many victims’ family to the judge, Tom? Please have enough respect for the least of these to do so. You can find it here:
Your link didn’t work. Of course, this has nothing to do with Steve Sitler or the victims. This is all about Doug Wilson. I don’t know Doug well but well enough to know that he sees abuse of children for the sin it is. He also knows the transforming power of the gospel. So, he seeks to minister in light of both of those things. This requires wisdom and judgment, neither of which is infallible. But you don’t care about that, you’re just happy to have an occasion to criticize him publicly and make this situation into justification for a… Read more »
Here is the link again, Tom:
It works for me just fine; clicks right through. Anybody else want to try?
Worked. Read it. Didn’t read anything I didn’t expect to read. The act described is wicked and sinful. If it was my child, I’m not sure all I’d feel but I’d certainly recognize it as the result of living in a world tainted, in every respect, by sin. No one commenting nor the proprietor disagrees with that. That said, do I think the perpetrator is beyond repentance and forgiveness? No. The challenge is how to move forward, in wisdom, with both of those things as realities. I recognize the difficulty of doing this … knowing that in some situations your… Read more »
Thank you for reading, Tom. It is a sign of respect for the victims that I wish others on this site would demonstrate. Steven Sitler had many victims; this letter represents only one.
Works great for me. Goes right to the letter.
Given the active nature of my involvement in the comment threads today, I think it is only fair to let you know that I must now bow out, and won’t be able to answer any more of your kindly proferred arguments. I’m closing a multi-milion dollar deal tomorrow and need my sleep, and after that an international flight awaits. God is doing huge, huge things in my life, for which I am incredibly humbled, and grateful. Though I do sometimes visit the smaller corners of the internet (New Saint Andrews, really? Those of us with ties to the real Saint… Read more »
We get it. You are very big and very important. When you said “multi-million dollar deal” and “international flight” I actually changed my mind on all of this and decided to believe whatever you believe.
You must give grace while protecting the victims. This is not what happened the reason people are up in arms is because the worst fears are coming to light. The fear that Sitler would have a child and that the child would become a victim. Here is the problem best case scenario is that Steven is truly repentant and healed. Awesome praise the LORD. Even in this situation he is a serial offender who is on life time probation and if he ever had a child he can never be alone with them. These are the earthly consequences for his… Read more »
Someone commented over on the “An Open Letter from Christ Church on Steven Sitler” a day or two back that we should visit this site: http://sitler.moscowid.net/ I did, and scrolling right a few pages took me to this text: May 17, 2005 Doug Wilson Threatens the Victims Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, who by this date was Steven Sitler’s sole confessor and his chief counsellor, [URL start] threatens the victim family [URL stop] that Steven Sitler may deny his confessions and take the case to court. This would force the victims — all of them younger than 9-years… Read more »
Doug, The blurb says that “everyone is in such a fog” and “nobody has a firm grasp of what justice is or how it functions”, except…you and Randy. Really? Is this what humility looks like? I have to wonder if so much of what you are “suffering” is the result of this kind of marketing hubris that works within a very small orbit of people, most probably suffering from some kind of Reformed Stockholm Syndrome. The rest of the people — people who have earned degrees, read a bit or both — sort of scratch their heads and cross the… Read more »
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that when the people with the degrees cross the street it doesn’t bother Pastor Wilson quite as much as you think.
I’d venture the response is something more like a wink and a kick of the heels rather than sorrow and wringing of hands that the gents with Ph.Ds and M.Divs just won’t listen.
Come to think of it, the ability to clear an entire side of a street of gloomy carriers of terminal degrees could really come in handy. Consider it a public service that Pastor Wilson provides for free.
Now that right there is funny.
Listen to him suggest that the only person he knows who knows what justice is, is himself, maybe Randy? I wasn’t thinking it bothered him all that much; he seems to enjoy the idea that he will be the last man who has the truth. For now he seems happy to be alienated from people. That’s all part of the thing.
Where does he suggest that? Specifically, where? Provide a quote. I just re-read this blog post from start to finish and I see no suggestion, implication, or hint that Wilson thinks that only he and Randy Booth know what justice is. The blurb on the book says “everyone”, sure, but even a half-hearted attempt at a charitable reading of the blurb wouldn’t conclude that Doug Wilson genuinely believes that every single person on the face of the planet misunderstands justice with the exception of he and Randy Booth. This blog post should clear it up completely if you’re really reading… Read more »
Matt, I wrote to Doug as it’s his blog. I appreciate what you are saying, but I wasn’t actually writing to you. So, I’ll be brief: my post is charitable, and all I am doing is suggesting that Doug’s problems (as he calls them) may have started long ago with the type of hyperbole that he uses to market his books. I take Doug seriously when he says that pomo grammar and syntax are ridiculous, so I take him at his word. It may sell some books, but to a certain group of the “good hearted Christians” which means that… Read more »
It’s ironic that Mr. Wilson provides this forum for all these haters to pour out their venom.
It’s instructive, isn’t it? I mean, you read about people with venom under the tongue but actually seeing it come out is something else.
“I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for the community of saints we have here.”
I’m glad you have the support of your community. Taking a different view on how (and whether) to accept convicted child molesters into fellowship, and whether it is appropriate for them to marry, doesn’t mean we don’t pray for your ministry and appreciate your immense gifts. You’re brilliant. I’ll keep buying, and talking about, your books, even if I don’t agree with you on every point.
I find it disturbing that this post and its cousin have together generated nearly 1,000 comments. This means only one thing to me: that there are a whole lot of people doing a whole lot of blathering about something for which they have a whole lot of opinions and no facts. It is NOT possible for ANYONE to have all the facts on this very isolated, personal, and specific occurrence from the PAST except for those few people actually involved. And since they are not personally providing those facts–not even Pastor Wilson–I believe it is no speculation on my part… Read more »
As a younger minister trying to live courageously in the public eye, I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to “watch” as this situation unfolds and to observe your response. Thank you.
I have no dog in this fight. Simply watching the goings on with sadness. I can see points worth noting on both “sides” if you will. The only good thing I can think that might come of this is that some might stop to pray for Mr. Sitler’s victims from the past, for Mr Sitlers family and those who love him, and for he himself. I will also say that no, I don’t think it is appropriate to make broad claims from without like “Wilson Guilty of Coddling Pedophiles” etc. Those are admittedly fighting words. That said, When one intimates… Read more »
Susan, it’s not flinging poo to appeal to or remind such people that they themselves ironically wouldn’t want Doug to employ the standard/measure (of turning up the lights for merciless full exposure) for instances as it relates to them while they are thus inconsistently/hypocritically condemning Doug for having not employed as an appeal to repentantly become consistent in their thinking given God’s promise of Mt 7:2. _ This is essentially the same form of reminder/appeal against hypocritical inconsistency Paul gives to Philemon, who was indebted to Paul, while Philemon may grumpily have had on his mind any of Onesimus’ debts/wrongs… Read more »
Antecho, I appreciate the concept of an appeal against hypocritical inconsistency as much as the next saint.(They did it first, not being an excuse in this matter btw) In the case of those I know who have shared concerns publicly, they are dealing with actual named events and named individuals, they may be dealing with them uncharitably, unfairly, ungraciously or dishonestly, only God himself probably knows the full story there. However, It is a different matter altogether when it is suggested, without naming their sins, that they are having something hidden about them, but the said something cannot be named… Read more »
Not about to read through this entire page of back and forth, for all sorts of reasons. Has Rev. Wilson or any of the faithful answered the question “Has Rev.Wilson changes his view on the penalty for those lawfully convicted of sexual predation against children as put forth in his book Fidelity, changed? If so, when and to what extent has it changed? Sincere question. Thanks in advance for a thoughtful answer.
What I would rather read on this blog is your sorrow over the fact a baby has been put in danger, and your repentance for mistakenly assuming this man was safe to be a father. It is commendable you want to minister to the sexually broken but some sins have lifelong consequenses-in this case, the wise consequence is no contact with children, ever. With such sins, you simply cannot risk the chance of backsliding. It is no shame to admit you were over your head in this matter as long as you face the fact you were indeed in over… Read more »
Pastor Wilson, I don’t know you but I thought it might be useful for you to hear an outsider’s perspective. I think you did the right thing by counseling the victims to report the crimes to the police right away and I thank you for that. I think you show a great deal of compassion in your “mercy ministries” – more so than most. It is obvious that you put a lot of time and thought into the above response. May I prayerfully ask you to consider that perhaps the tone of your post came off a bit strident and… Read more »
You’ve got the gift of opporium. Good word. Had to look it up to be sure. Also did a quick search here and found something you wrote a while back that seems apropos: “The danger is creeping respectability.” lol.