Controversy Library

My Controversies, Such As They Are

As some may have noticed, from time to time controversy erupts in my vicinity. Sometimes this is because of something new I said or did, and other times it happens because my foes haul something up from the past in order to thwart my ambitions for world conquest. Or perhaps they encounter something like this article . . .

Whenever this happens, fair-minded people want to hear both sides before deciding anything (Prov. 18:17), but they need a place to go in order to find a response. Because these eruptions have happened over the space of many years, this can be somewhat difficult — so you might call this page a central clearing house for my controversies.

This will be a work in progress
; items will be added as we find them, or as new ones are generated. Below is a table of contents for what you can find here, indicating what each section will contain. When we are done, this page will have multiple links, various video clips, and summaries of each controversy.

Of course, everybody has to be careful. If you come here knowing about one “scandal” only, and then discover these rebuttals to all the others, that might present some peculiar temptations. I would recommend using this site on a “need to know” basis. If you have a pressing question, we hope to have the answers here — but we are not trying to generate questions.

1. I deny we should be executing people for homosexual acts.

Do I believe in the death penalty for homosexual acts? Am I calling for that? No, this is false. I do not believe in the death penalty for homosexual acts.

Execution of homosexuals?

This post on Old Testament Law provides some background thinking on how the law applies today.

And A Cinder Block in the Goldfish Bowl is about not apologizing for the Bible.

2. I deny that slavery was a positive good.

Am I a defender of the system of Southern slavery as it existed prior to the Civil War? No, I am not. This is a false charge.

In this post called Leaven in the Flour, I outline my position on slavery.

As Though the Gospel Had Cooties provides a little intellectual background on how slavery got involved in this at all.

Potoked Again has some important interactions with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Slavery and Atheism contains concludes with my summary of the Bible’s teaching on slavery.

When the slavery fracas broke out at Cary Christian, this link takes you to some of my interactions on it.

Black and Tan
Click here for the book

3. I deny that secularism has a clue about racial reconciliation.

In 2013, I had a friendly exchange with Thabiti Anyabwile regarding racial reconciliation. Here is enough to get you started, and then some!

In this piece, With a Bit of Menthol, I call for an adult conversation about race.

And here, I wrote More on Race.

4. I affirm justification by faith alone.

Do I deny sola fide, justification by faith alone? No, I do not deny it. Rather, I affirm it strongly.

In 2004 I requested the CREC to examine me regarding my beliefs on faith, specifically those issues pertaining to what has been called Federal Vision.

PART 1: Douglas Wilson Federal Vision Examination

PART 2: Douglas Wilson Federal Vision Examination

PART 3: Douglas Wilson Federal Vision Examination

The Full Transcript of the Examination

The folks over at Theopedia have compiled resources for both the favorable & critical views on Federal Vision here.

And then, as with a final flourish, I explain here why I no longer identify myself as being an FV partisan.

5. I deny that I support child abuse in any way, shape, or form.

What was your role when it was discovered that Steven Sitler had been molesting young children for some years? My role was to encourage the father who discovered it to report Steven to the authorities immediately, and in subsequent counseling with Steven, to require him to confess to the crimes he had committed that had gone undetected.

An Open Letter From Christ Church on Steven Sitler

And a Sitler timeline culled from our elder meeting minutes, along with other meetings, can be found here.

The Only Kind of Gospel There Is

What was your role when it was discovered that one of your ministerial students, Jamin Wight, had been guilty of sexually abusing a teen-aged girl in your congregation? My role was to support his prosecution, with the caution that it not be done in a way as to make things worse.

If you go to this post — Jezehellsbells — you can find a brief timeline of the Greenfield controversy.

And a Greenfield timeline culled from our elder meeting minutes, along with other meetings, can also be found here.

The crux of the Greenfield controversy has to do with whether or not there was a parent-approved courtship. Natalie denies this, and I have affirmed it. Proof that there was a secret courtship can be verified here. And there is an important update here. If you go to that link, you will see that Gary Greenfield has acknowledged to me that there was indeed a secret courtship. Although Natalie continues (down to the present) to deny there was a courtship, if you read what Jamin said in his letter of confession to the Greenfields themselves (“we broke the rules of the courtship,” “after our courtship was official,” etc.), what Natalie needs for her case is a formal denial of a courtship, in the record, from the Greenfields at that time. That is something she doesn’t have.

Please note: for those concerned about the relative absence of Jamin Wight from the record of these minutes, keep in mind that he was not at Christ Church for the bulk of this time.

6. I deny that I am a plagiarist.

Are you a plagiarist? No, I am not.

Here is a basic statement on what happened with Southern Slavery As It Was.

And a rundown on the controversy over A Justice Primer can be found here.

Omnibus

In addition to the general statement below, here is a more thorough treatment of the issue by Joseph Bayly. Many thanks to him for taking the time to go through all that.

A controversy about alleged plagiarism in the Omnibus textbooks just occurred, so some of these observations may be expanded and modified as we learn more. I know Veritas Press takes such allegations very seriously and they are looking into them as appropriate. For the present, we can say this much:

1. The overwhelming number of these alleged instances occurred in captions and inserts, which were included in the textbook in the production process, after the edited manuscripts were submitted and edited. Thus the attachment of particular names to these problems was entirely reckless.

2. The process used by Miller to tag such problems is unreliable, and is prone to false positives. If Wikipedia says “Columbus discovered America in 1492,” we are not much edified by a color coded “America was discovered in 1492 by Columbus.”

3. It appears many of the tagged problems were from open-source sites. Since Wikipedia is constantly changing, we will have a hard time determining what came from what. In other words, did an Omnibus contributor lift something from Wikipedia in 2005, or did an Omnibus graduate contribute to a Wikipedia article in 2012? Second, even assuming a problem in the production of the textbook, with open source material it would be more a problem with terms of use, and not copyright. More background information can be found here, here, or here.

4. Any genuine citation problems that Veritas Press confirms will be dealt with honestly and with full integrity.

7. I deny that I am too proud to apologize.

Is it true that you never back down, and will never apologize for anything? No, this is simply false.

“An essential part of a good editor’s responsibility is to anticipate the possibility of this kind of error, and check on it. Accidents do happen, and an editor’s responsibility includes an active awareness of the fact that accidents happen, and to therefore check. I didn’t check, and I should have. Mea maxima culpa. I had not read Time on the Cross at that time, and given the nature of the errors, had I read that book we would have been spared a lot of grief. Further, given the controversial nature of the point we were making, it was absolutely essential that no handles be presented to our adversaries. But those handles were presented anyway, and it was not just Steve’s responsibility that this happened. The responsibility was also mine.” More context here.

“That being the case, and with all this in mind, I would first like to apologize to all the authors whose work was taken into this book and represented as quite possibly mine. I will be following this general public statement up with a letter to each of these writers in order to apologize directly. I would also like to apologize to Canon Press for urging this book project on them. They are the ones who have been financially damaged in very tangible ways by this. And last, I should apologize to New St. Andrews College. Academic integrity is the heartbeat of any academic institution, and even though the board has acted promptly and wisely in accepting Randy’s resignation, I am still distressed by the headache this has caused them.” More context here.

“I should have made my meaning more clear than I did, which I could have done by putting the Texas paragraph first, and linking it expressly to Steven’s offenses. My apologies to any friends who missed my meaning here, and who thought I was trying to trim and be cute on Steven’s behalf. Such a misreading would be my responsibility.” More context here.

“But if I find that my words have also given offense in quarters where I had and have no desire to give offense, I want to be eager to seek pardon or forgiveness, as appropriate. I hope that was clear in our meeting on Friday, and in a conviction that a second coat of good paint never hurts, I want to make it clear again now.” More context here.

And here is some background information on love and loyalty.

8. I affirm the necessity of the righteous horse laugh.

Do you believe that you have a right to be rude to everybody? No, I do not.

And Wilson, Almost Suitably Abashed, Responds

A Satiric Voice

Serrated Edge

An Important Postscript