A Brief Note On The Serrated Edge
Current Moscow Events:
I want to throw out some quick thoughts, at places mildly disjointed, on Wilson’s serrated edge; this post is motivated by some theorizing about the serrated edge that has just now strangely popped up over at my friendly pastor’s No Tresspassing Blog. This is written in particular for those who might be following the No Tresspassing zone, but is also for the record given how thorough we have been on this particular issue so far.
Wilson has been avoiding this topic over the last year; one of the apparent reasons for this is the mounting public and private criticism of his serrated edge, in both its documented practice and written defenses. In fact, when Pooh’s Think opened its doors to the Wood, Dr. Leithart initiated overseeing meetings between myself and Doug Wilson, and Leithart proposed that I present my theological criticisms of the serrated edge during the first meeting and then my criticisms of the practice in the second. It was mildly clear that Leithart was sympathetic to my concerns upon this invitation. After the second meeting it was clear that Leithart was very sympathetic to my concerns . . .
(I’ve got more to say about those meetings, but I don’t want to encumber this stream-lined post). In some brief preparation for the meeting I did a bit of analysis of Wilson’s serrated edge that cohered with my intuitive and emotional response to some of Wilson’s local practices; this initial analysis has since proven accurate and practically useful. I have addressed the theological, exegetical, and historical location of Jesus’ strong words, as well as some other language in the NT. And I have benefited from some of Leithart’s comments during our meetings.
Yet, Lawyer hopped on Wilson’s thread and asked if anyone knows of any “logical” discussion on Wilson’s serrated edge. David Bahnsen offered some comments and pointed to an essay by John Frame on it. If someone knows where I can find this article from Frame please let me know (I just emailed Frame asking him if he had a copy handy). I was very surprised at Bahnsen’s thoughts; he simply noted that whatever it is Wilson does is ok for non-believers but not for evangelicals. But this is exegetically nutsy, and I’m not surprised to find Wilson jumping on this opportunity to get his serrated edge looking a little bit prettier.
Wilson has of course clamped off discussion on the Serrated Edge with those highly qualified to discuss the practical and theological aberrations of Wilson’s thought and practice before and after I refused to continue meeting with Leithart and Wilson about it (I’ll likely explain why I did this in the near future); he was even confronted privately by an old friend and long term member of Christ Church over the issue. The nature of Wilson’s response to this concern helped reveal to this older man what kind of person Wilson was and he soon afterward left his home church of many years. But now here we are a year after the opening of the Wood with Wilson “debating” the issue with someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about; Bahnsen does not present examples of Wilson’s serration nor has he given an argument. If Bahnsen would have lowered himself to read a blog in the philosophical tradition of his father, he would have had a bit more material to work with as he pontificates for us on the world wide web. Most secularist and evangelical folks who have been exposed to Wilson’s practice of the serrated edge strongly object; and so it is sad to see someone like Bahnsen still happily licking up the slop Wilson keeps churning out.
Wilson notes the obvious in response to Bahnsen, and he takes this opportunity to try to justify his deceitful attack on Brian McLaren of a year ago; we should not forgot that the lies Wilson furthered in this attack on McLaren’s book Generous Orthodoxy are alone sufficient for having Wilson deposed from the ministry. But even putting this aside, Wilson’s rhetoric remains fairly horrific. Wilson now links to the web site of a very small church containing informal pictures of McLaren while visiting; this church happens have a homosexual pastor, and so becomes open prey for Wilson’s bar brawling. This, according to Wilson, completely settles the case: Wilson was fully justified in attacking McLaren. Right. This is really, in fact, no further revelation than what Wilson had for us a year ago; even after all this time, Wilson has not ever presented evidence that McLaren believes that homosexuality is exegetically not defined as a ’sin.’ But I guess the informal pictures a small congregation with a homosexual pastor have of McLaren on their stage was worth the emotive appeal–images can sometimes be even more effective than manipulative rhetoric.
Here’s a thought: If you don’t want “grace” churches with homosexual pastors in the pulpit, then you are going to have to shut up scoundrels like Douglas Wilson (and you might want to add fundamentalists like the Baylys and Frank Turk while you are at it); if broader society has to pick between a pastor like Serrated-mouth, liar Wilson and effiminate Bob, they will pick effiminate Bob–and with justification.
David Bahnsen followed up well to Wilson’s criticism:
“And the words used in such a visit — polemic, challenge, rebuke, preaching, and satire” – I can not imagine a believer being against challenging, rebuking, preaching, and correcting someone like McLaren or Campolo. The inclusion of that last word is the problem. I do not, and did not, advocate a refusal to correct professing believers who are in sin. I do not condone the use of mockery to do so, though. That, it seems to me, is the difference. I believe you are spot on, Pastor Wilson, about many of the needed ends – it is the means that we [respectfully] disagree over.
David Bahnsen – 12/26/2006 6:51:00 PM | Report Comment
Now I just hope these guys will take a look at the archives here in the Wood and see what is really up with Wilson’s wartime ridicule to suppress the “enemy’s” ability to protest.
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