In September 2015, the world saw Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, begin to unravel. Mr. Wilson failed to understand why his actions in the marriage of serial pedophile Steven Sitler to a graduate of New Saint Andrews College offended so many people. He interpreted the pushback as proof of his faithfulness:
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. (Blog & Mablog, The High Mountain Air of Public Calumny, September 7, 2015, emphasis original)
After reading this, Rod Dreher of The American Conservative challenged Douglas Wilson’s mental health:
Wilson subsequently praised himself for the way he’s conducted himself in this matter, saying that persecution is a sign of his righteousness, and sneering that his wife celebrated the criticism coming their way by buying him a bottle of single-malt Scotch. . . . The state is investigating whether or not the baby boy born to the pedophile and the woman that Wilson married has been molested by his father . . . and Doug Wilson thinks this is a matter to be laughed at, while raising a glass of Scotch to spite the critics? That is insane. (The American Conservative, Scandal in Moscow, September 29, 2015)
However, Doug Wilson failed to appreciate Rod Dreher non-clinical opinion and therefore told him the terms upon which they could be friends (drink beer together):
So suppose Rod were simply to say that he continues to differ strongly with what I did in marrying Sitler, and he would never do that kind of thing himself, but that he judged too hastily in saying that this was scandalous and “insane.” I would be happy with that level of disagreement, would shake hands with Rod, and would do my best to buy the beer. (Blog & Mablog, An Olive Branch for Rod Dreher, October 5, 2015)
Accordingly, Doug Wilson required Rod Dreher to publicly condemn himself for judging Mr. Wilson “too hastily in saying that this [the marriage & fatherhood of Steven Sitler] was scandalous and ‘insane.’” This is a reasonable request coming from someone who approves of a pedophile living in the same home as a child he fantasizes about molesting. However, educated adults such as Rod Dreher know that pedophiles and children don’t mix. Even Douglas Wilson knows this, at least when he’s sober: “Make no mistake — it is terrible when a child has to live within range of a sexual predator.”1
But then notice the word “strongly”: Doug Wilson only permitted Rod Dreher to “differ strongly” in the matter of Steven Sitler’s marriage & fatherhood. He had to retract “scandalous and insane” and he could only “strongly” differ with Mr. Wilson.
Now notice the adverb that the CREC Review Committee used in the Presiding Ministers’ Report on the Sitler and Wight Sex Abuse Cases:
Under the circumstances, we strongly question the wisdom of Christ Church leadership in supporting and solemnizing the Sitler/Travis marriage. (page 11)
The Presiding Ministers of the CREC “strongly” questioned Doug Wilson’s wisdom in this matter. They did not call it scandalous or insane, which is the normal response when people hear about this living arrangement. They “strongly” questioned the wisdom — “strongly.” What are the odds? It’s almost as if Douglas Wilson wrote this line for the Presiding Ministers, or dictated it to them.