“To reapply a comment that the apostle Paul made once, it is my responsibility in representing the CREC not to go beyond what is written. My idiosyncratic doctrinal views are in no way the responsibility of the CREC, except to the extent the CREC is in fellowship with the one who holds them.” Douglas Wilson, CREC Presiding Minister
Continuing with Douglas Wilson’s remarkable declaration that he will insult women simply to defy those who say he should not:
So if someone with a long enough face to be a dowager from Human Resources tells me that I am no longer permitted, as a cis-white-male, to make any observations or comparisons, metaphorical or otherwise, about any aspect of the female anatomy, guess what I am going to do? Guess what my next blog post is going to be about?
Go on, guess. (Blog & Mablog, A Tetherball in a Tornado, September 18, 2017)
Today I want to consider this blunt admission from another angle: Six weeks ago the CREC Review Committee delivered the Presiding Ministers’ Report on the Sitler and Wight Sex Abuse Cases, or PMR, to the Kirk. In it they suggested that Douglas Wilson refrain from “Using unnecessarily provocative language, including derogatory or calloused language about women” (PMR 18). They grounded this suggestion, or appeal, on the concept of being considerate of others, including “pastors and elders of CREC churches” as well as “women” & “victims”:
We note that this language has caused a good deal of anguish among pastors and elders of CREC churches who would otherwise be supportive of Pastor Wilson’s ministry. Pastors should be careful not to give women reasons to avoid seeking help from the church. Instead, we should make it clear that the church is a place where all people are treated with honor and respect, and where victims can find grace. (PMR 18)
This counsel is biblical and applies to all Christians, not just pastors. If we consider other people first, then we reduce the risk of causing unnecessary offense (even more true of pastors — James 3:1).1 But Doug Wilson dismissed the Presiding Ministers’ suggestion as a white flag of surrender to “the feminists”:
Let us be frank. Nothing will be achieved through pretense. Although I do not belong to the same school of thought as does Travis, I have offended the feminists (along with not a few Christians cowed by the feminists) in a related area, on multiple occasions.
“So feminism — smash the patriarchy feminism — wants us to be ruled by harridans, termagants, harpies and crones. That sets the tone, and the pestering is then made complete by small-breasted biddies. . . .” (A Tetherball in a Tornado, emphasis added)
Doug Wilson believes that he only offended “Christians cowed by the feminists”; ergo the offense is illegitimate. He invalidated the “good deal of anguish” among “pastors and elders of CREC churches” because they caved — they’re weaklings. Textbook Wilson argument. It’s the feminists’ fault or else the Christians’ fault for believing the feminists. Either way, it’s not his fault. He has not sinned. (Apparently he lumps “women” & “victims” in the same group as the “pastors and elders” who capitulated.)
Notice, however, that Mr. Wilson does not identify “the feminists.”2 He does not say who they are, what they did, or when or how these Christians “cowed” to them. Readers must divine these mysteries. Presumably he has a standing fight with “the feminists” and he believes that if he stops abusing women with course language (“small-breasted biddies,” etc.), then he too would be “cowed by the feminists,” which is not an option.3 It’s a matter of principle. So the Review Committee’s appeal fell on deaf ears.
But this has nothing to do with “the feminists” or any other bugaboo. The seven highest-ranking officers of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches humbly beseeched Douglas Wilson to stop using “derogatory or calloused language about women.” They asked him to be considerate of other “pastors and elders of CREC churches” as well as “women” & “victims” whom he offended. But Doug Wilson blew them all off with two waves of the hand. He rejected the Presiding Ministers as a long-faced “dowager from Human Resources”; and he rejected the “pastors and elders of CREC churches” as unworthy because they were “cowed by the feminists.”
Now look at the big picture: The Presiding Minister of the CREC holds the Presiding Ministers of the CREC in contempt. The Presiding Minister of the CREC doesn’t care about the “pastors and elders of CREC churches” who felt “a good deal of anguish.” And the Presiding Minister of the CREC didn’t even bother to register an opinion about the “women” and “victims” he offended. This pretty much leaves no else in the CREC.
1 Jesus said, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31). St. Paul framed it thus: “Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble” (1 Cor. 8:13).
2 Note the definite article: “the feminists.” Not feminists in general, but “the feminists.”
3 It’s tantamount to the apostle Paul saying, “I have offended the meat-eaters along with not a few Christians cowed by the meat-eaters, so I intend to eat meat all day long.”