Pooh’s Think

… with comments

COTK, CREC, & Tyranny: Part 17

Dear Michael,

Wilson’s post expressing shock at Dr. Clark’s use of the word “lynching” furnishes another opportunity to illustrate Beelzeblog’s rank hypocrisy. Let me set the context.

Earlier this week Dr. Scott Clark posted a note to the Puritan Board listserv, as part of an extended thread addressing Steve Wilkins’ heresy. If you outline it, you’ll see that Dr. Clark noted the Federal Visionists’ unwelcome presence in the PCA, contrasting it with an unnamed “federation” that welcomes them. He observed their proclivity to “trouble churches” (i.e. subvert churches) and the need to discipline them, and he cited Church authorities — the Belgic Confession and work by various Reformed bodies — to buttress his arguments. Of course, these points assume Federal Vision’s festering progress in the PCA for almost five years.

Dr. Clark concluded his post by stringing together four mixed metaphors in two sentences, which surely increased the “wailing and gnashing of teeth” among the self-professed poets in Moscow. He jumped from “the Wilkins Code” to the “enough rope” cliché[1] to a “lynching” to “bus schedules to Moscow.” Dr. Clark subtly referred to Moscow at the beginning of his post and he named it at the end. In between he essentially said, “It’s about time the Church made these schismatics account for their deviant teaching.” He made these comments as an outsider, not as a member of the PCA court.

Now compare Dr. Clark’s entry with a post by Douglas Wilson, which he wrote in response to Andrew Sandlin in November 2005, or roughly one year into his plan to split COTK, the church pastored by Sandlin:

In a recent post, Andrew Sandlin calls one of my posts on postmodernism a “historically irresponsible screed,” and he praises Peter Leithart for taking what Andrew considers to be the high road. This is yet another form of the very common “let’s you and him fight,” which Peter and I decline to do, being friends and colleagues and all. But as the apostle Paul once taught, different parts of the body do have different spiritual gifts. Peter’s is that of being a gentleman and a scholar. He can get articles published in respectable academic journals about as easily as I can hit the ground with my hat. But I have some gifts too. One of mine is the spiritual gift of saloon brawling. And whenever I see another authentic schmoozer like McLaren emerging from under one of those tables, wham!, one of those special breakaway chairs goes right over the head. Then I grab said zeitgeist meister and run him out through those swinging double doors, and wham!, right into a post. I call this the post-emergent strategy. Is this cold and uncaring? I don’t think so. In the first place, it is a metaphor and emergent types talk a lot about those little busters. They should be able to follow the drift. (“Gotta Serve Somebody”)

Notice that Wilson cites St. Paul as the authority for his “spiritual gift of saloon brawling”; unfortunately, he fails to give chapter and verse, most likely because they don’t exist. As a rule, Scripture generally discourages ministers from resorting to physical violence. In fact, 1 Timothy 3:3 and Titus 1:7 both state, “A bishop must be . . . no striker.” Vine’s defines “striker” as “a brawler”; Strong’s as “pugnacious, quarrelsome.” Despite this, Wilson described in detail the specific application of his “spiritual gift of saloon brawling,” which presumably is for the edification of the Church.

Accordingly, he believes the Holy Spirit has gifted him to assault certain folks on the head with wooden chairs as well as slamming the same persons into poles after he sufficiently clubbed them. However, Wilson dismissed his violent language as “a metaphor,” asserting that his opponents “talk a lot about those little busters,” whatever that means (it’s always the other guy’s fault when Wilson abuses).

But Wilson’s “metaphor” explanation won’t stand. Think about it. Scripture clearly prohibits ministers from “brawling” and it makes no provision for metaphorical exceptions. You can prove the rule by changing the proscription. In the same text, St. Paul says, “A bishop must be . . . not covetous” (1 Tim. 3:3). The Greek literally means, “Not a money lover; not greedy for filthy lucre.” Now push the word “covetous” the same way Wilson pushed “brawling”:

But I have some gifts too. One of mine is the spiritual gift of coveting. I love the smell of mint and I’ll do anything to get it. Whenever I see an authentic mark with a pocket full of green, I assess his value and the best way to grab his cash. If he’s in town for a conference, I’ll simply lift his wallet. If he moves here from out of state, I’ll play him like a sucker and bleed him for every cent he owns. Is this cold and uncaring? I don’t think so. In the first place, it is a metaphor.

Suddenly Wilson’s “metaphor” concept looks like a bad excuse for a bad man. Scripture licenses no one to commit sin, even metaphorically. Now consider the context. Wilson declared his “spiritual gift of saloon brawling” in a post to Andrew Sandlin, the man against whom Wilson held a personal grudge, the man whom Wilson refused to meet in order to resolve their differences. Wilson wrote this post one year after he began systematically sowing discord among the brethren at COTK, which was roughly six months before he led his splinter group out.

Let’s be clear. Wilson wrote this note to Sandlin as an in-your-face move, taunting him between the lines with a hateful “metaphor” that only Sandlin could really understand at the time. Wilson declared his “spiritual gift of saloon brawling”[2] to the very man whom he was actively running out of the CREC, “wham! right into a post,” beating him and his flock every step of the way.

This brings us back to Beelzeblog’s horror at Dr. Clark’s mixed metaphor where the PCA has given Steve Wilkins “enough rope” to make a “lynching.” Don’t think for a second that the PCA court will do anything other than let Wilkins finish the job he started five years ago when he tied a noose and began slipping it round his neck. More importantly, don’t think that Wilson opposes violent metaphors describing biblical injustice. He is a sick man who loves violence as much as he hates justice.


[1] Generally, the tired “give them enough rope” cliché usually means that the subject will eventually hang himself, given the opportunity. It seldom translates into an unjust “lynching.”

[2] Elsewhere he used the double metaphor of a chainsaw and a hockey mask, which suggests a “Freddie” figure in one of those serial killer movies. But maybe he meant it without the slasher nuance, which would be more pastoral of him.


January 2, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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