Dear Mr. Phillips, Pick Your Poison…and Pay Your Attorney
Speaking of sociological ick, Doug Wilson has a few more odd words for us over at his tithe funded Blog Ministry about this Phillips ordeal. (You can click here for confirmation if you really want to.)
The text in full is the following:
I would encourage all our friends out there to enjoy the following short clip from youtube. But, of course, if you have ever been subjected to “the treatment,” or are related by marriage or blood to Doug Phillips, R.C. Jr., Steve Wilkins, or me, I would also admonish you as a brother in Christ not to enjoy this thing too much. I would urge you to take special care not to enjoy the blogger manning his post “on the internet watchtower.” Too much.
First, just a prefatory note: Wilson links to the clip and I watched it; but the clip is not all that funny in so far as it is not clear what version of Christianity is left standing once the laughter subsides. But it certainly does capture elements of Wilson’s theology wars. I could see Wilson talking about his “bar brawling” with Brian McLaren or postmodernists during the interview with a chubby blog theology warrior. And the reporting certainly does remind us of the Ministry Guillotine. Beyond that, it is not clear what the connection is supposed to be.
But that is just a tangential thought. The reason I’m offering this post for your consideration is the very interesting three names Wilson’s causally throws out on the blog table. As we have seen, Wilson’s enemy theology is not just for the purpose of playing the victim against “persecution,” it is designed to actually create the sort of contexts that would allow him to erroneously cry “persecution” to begin with. In one sense, then, RC Sproul Jr. and Phillips have fallen into a world in which Doug Wilson swims as the King Puffer fish. With the flack Phillips is receiving right now, it is therefore not surprising that Wilson would try to bring Phillips down into his contrived culture-war hell hole. It is to be expected that Wilson would not want to offer any careful analysis to this ordeal; rather, consistent with his knack of ambiguous, manipulative rhetoric, Wilson is starting to put out the battle moans through the forest begging for loyal identity. And he is not even that veiled about it here; you are either married to Doug Phillips, related to Doug Phillips by blood, or you have that unifying, holy initiatory experience of “the treatment.”
By entering into chaos, Wilson considers Phillips bound to him as family. But what is the extent of this special family bond? Is this just what binds all persecuted brethren together? Not likely. What does come firmly in the imagination after reading this post is rather four men of the brotherhood welcoming you into the family—at least, in so far as you are willing to sympathize with Wilson getting “persecuted” for “righteousness” sake. We have plagiarizing Wilkins, that fat, sassy, southern white preacher who helped form a racist organization and informed the world that southern slavery was the best interracial bliss the world has ever seen. Ironically, though, since Wilkins doesn’t have the kind of lust for war that Wilson does (and likely a less deceitful and harmful chap), even a guy like him quickly falls of the radar screen of “persecution.” There is Phillips of course, the reason for this strange little post. And who else? Well! Here we have the defrocked minister RC Sproul Jr, the minister who was abusing, lying, and breaking the law all at the same time….and got caught. Welcome to the club Phillips! I’m not sure which is more harmful to your business and political power: Watchman manipulating the crowds for a year or Doug Wilson welcoming you to the family.
Wilson here is also libeling Doug Phillips a bit too; the situation is actually a bit worse than the above lets on. I’ll put our sassy, fat, white southern preacher to the side for the moment. Welcoming Phillips into the family that primarily comprises Wilson and RC Sproul Jr. is essentially calling Phillips a liar. After all, that family was created through shameless, public deceit. Not only did RC Sproul Jr fail to address the defrocking in a dignified and honest manner, he simply lied. Not only did Doug Wilson not address the defrocking in a respectful and truthful manner, he got on his blog and started to lie about it. Both men refused to publicly say something true about the nature of the defrocking, and yet they certainly had something to say.
About all we know about Phillips—from what I know in any case—is that he was willing to continue his relationship with RC Sproul Jr as it was without making any statement about it one way or the other. This does not speak well of the man, and I’m not going to offer excuses for him on this point at this time. All I want you to do is consider the strong difference between this behavior and the shameless deceit that came from RC Sproul Jr and Doug Wilson. Note as well Wilson’s crazy support of Ligonier Ministries’ law suit and the suggestion here that Ligonier got the “treatment” via blood relationship to RC Sproul Jr. Hmmm, perhaps something else had to do with it, such as Tim Dick blogging away about all the “slanderous” websites (e.g. Pooh’s Think and Peter Kershaw’s site), hunting down Frank Vance, filing a controversial First Amendment law suit once Vance called him some names (the court documents suggest it was rather because of the allegation regarding Don Kistler), and then launching a campaign of incoherence and deceit for the critical public. Just perhaps; I’m just asking you to consider this possibility. Gee, Phillips; I guess by extension you’ve just now pricked and rubbed thumbs with Tim Dick himself.
What does the future hold for Phillips? I don’t know; but what I do know is that if he does find himself welcomed in truth to Wilson’s little family, it will likely not go very well for him downstream. Ick. Its like thinking of a mouse marrying a worm.