A CRITIQUE Of Kevin DeYoung’s Article Against The Moscow Mood

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From @TheJollyBrawler. Reprinted in full with permission.

There is a lot that could be said about @RevKevDeYoung article on @douglaswils.

I have read most of what Kevin (KDY) and Doug have published. I have listened to hours of their preaching. I have enjoyed both of them and grown from both of them.

I have been caricatured as a Wilson Defender. This is largely because:

A. I have no interest in listening people to Wilson’s theological and/or political left critize him. If he is closer to the truth than you are, then I don’t want to hear your opinion on him.

B. I don’t criticize him for the same things that many people criticize him for. Either because I agree with Wilson on those issues, or because I have differences with him that are more important to me.

With that being said….KDY’s article was largely hot garbage.

As you read through it, note how many of his complaints against Wilson have nothing to do with anything that the Bible would label as sinful. Instead, his complaints revolve around Wilson violating our extra-biblical cultural standards. Complaints such as:

A. He has a “sarcastic tone”
B. He uses the word “wuss” and “wussy”
C. He uses memes and goes for quick chuckles
D. His NQN videos put the focus on him
E. He has a “Get in a shootout with the culture” vibe
F. He “Trolls limp wristed Christians”
G. He drinks bourbon and smokes cigars to anger teetotalers (Here I was thinking that he did those things because he enjoyed them, and they are a large part of our Christian culture).
H. “The mood is often irreverent, rebellious, and full of devil-may-care playground taunts”
I. The NSA school had an ad which said “Hey, Wokey McWoke Face” which is unnecessary and taunting
J. Wilson should “set a different mood”

Just a little side note: If you are serious Christian thinker, and you find yourself complaining repeatedly about “tones”, “moods”, and “vibes”, it may be time to step back and touch some grass.

The vast majority of KDY’s complaints revolve around Wilson being too rough with our culture, and (in his opinion) not posturing himself in a way that would win the world. This is a problem with many evangelicals today. They have exalted these cultural standards to the level of scripture, and are willing to label your behavior as “dangerous” and “sinful” if you transgress their newly erected standard (a standard that no man 100 years ago ever heard of).

Another side note: Remember, KDY and his people are the ones who came out of the Reformation. The ones who love men like Calvin, Knox, and Luther. Let that sink in.

KDY does go on to list things that are actually biblically categorized as sin, and should be taken more seriously than merely violating some subjective cultural standard. He lists things like:

Wilson uses crass language.

It is not debatable that Wilson occasionally uses crass language. And I do mean “occasionally”. When you take into account the thousands of sermons, thousands of blogs, hundreds of books, hundreds of lectures, debates, interviews, and Q&A’s this man has done, the “crass language” is a tiny drop in the bucket. But, the debatable part is whether or not Wilson has used crass language in a sinful manner. In many of the cases I am familiar with, I believe Wilson was well within his rights to use the language he used. There are many cases I am not familiar with, so I won’t speak to those.

Wilson never “cultivates broken hearted courageous contrition for his own sins.”

I am not quite sure what KDY is expecting here. I assume he doesn’t want Wilson on stage weeping into the camera in a Jimmy Swaggart like moment. But if what he is looking for is Wilson to openly ask for forgiveness of his sins (both to God and man), there are plenty of examples of this. In fact….he does it every single Sunday.

There were another group of accusations from KDY that I wanted to address. They probably could have fit under the categories of “Cultural Sins” and “Biblical Sins” above, but they really do deserve their own section, because they show you that KDY simply does not understand the times he lives in. The accusations are:

Wilson takes swipes at “conservative Christian organizations like G3 and ERLC”.

G3 has behaved wickedly toward Moscow and many in the CN camp for well over a year. They have lied, slandered, and straw-manned the group relentlessly. Wilson made fun of them for 2 seconds in a video, and KDY sees Wilson as the aggressor. This is what happens when “Nice” becomes too big of a factor in your theology.

DeYoung is also upset that Wilson critized the ERLC. Yes, THAT ERLC. The one that secretly worked to stop Anti-Abortion legislation, the one that was run by Leftist operatives like Russell Moore and Brent Leatherwood. The one that fought against the release of the manifesto written by the Transgender Mass shooter who killed a bunch of kids in a Christian school. KDY considers these folks “conservative” and wants Wilson to take it easy on them. But isn’t it odd that KDY is allowed to criticize conservative Christians (Wilson), but Wilson isn’t allowed to criticize Leftist Heathens who control Christian institutions? Odd.

Wilson “trolls limp wristed Christians”

I guess we just have a fundamental disagreement on whether or not limp-wristed Christians should be trolled. I happen to think it is good for them. (:

Wilson seems happier fighting a war, than with the things he is defending

This accusation is just simply false. One of the benefits of listening to a lot of stuff out of Moscow, and spending quite a bit of time there myself is that I get to see how much Wilson loves his family, church, and town. KDY severely underestimates Wilson’s love for the things he is defending.

Wilson is a master of the Motte and Bailey fallacy

I think there is a big difference between stating something strongly that any sane and charitable person could understand without needing it to be nuanced to death, and committing the Motte and Bailey.

KDY also accuses Wilson of being a showman.

This seems like an easy one to me. But for some reason, a lot of people get this issue wrong. Wilson, as a Pastor, is not a showman at all. He preaches straightforward messages in a humble, kind, and expositional fashion. Wilson as a Business man who owns a large blog, part of a publishing house, and parts of several other organizations is a showman to some degree. There is nothing wrong with the owner of a business drumming up new business in a fun and honest way.
If he was doing this in his pastoral role from the pulpit, we might have an issue. Otherwise, this is a stupid criticism.

One final point that I mentioned briefly earlier: KDY takes issue with the fact that New Saint Andrews school put out an advertisement that addressed woke people as “Wokey McWoke Face”. He takes 2 issues with this:

A. It is mean and unnecessary Yes, KDY thinks that we might be being too mean to the people who burned down our cities, looted our stores, captured our institutions, killed our people, and tried to pervert our children. Insanity.

B. If Wilson really thought that he was fighting a war and in the trenches, he wouldn’t use such silly language. Wilson actually gave a lecture on this very subject. It is called “Winsome Tartness” and you should watch it. But honestly, there is no winning with this one. If Wilson showed how serious the situation was by being shrill and heavy handed, KDY would take issue with that. But if he is lighthearted and funny, KDY takes issue with that too.

I will bring this post to a close with this:

As a “Conservative Evangelical”, KDY sat on the board for one of the most left leaning evangelical organizations in existence, The Gospel Coalition. Yet, to my knowledge, has never gone to public battle with them. When he does muster up the courage for an attack, he attacks to his right.

This is the tactic of the soft modern evangelical. Punch right, sit on the board of the left. This was disappointing, but not unexpected from KDY.

This was adapted from a X post from @TheJollyBrawler. Reprinted in full with permission.

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14 thoughts on “A CRITIQUE Of Kevin DeYoung’s Article Against The Moscow Mood

  1. You could link to KDY’s article in question: https://clearlyreformed.org/on-culture-war-doug-wilson-and-the-moscow-mood/

    I’m definitely not to the left of Doug Wilson but have always thought that the primary appeal to DW as a brand (not as a pastor, father, or person) is his “style” (or to use KDY’s terminology “mood”). He’s a clever wordsmith that has a strong command of the English language and I think that when you combine that with the macho persona he cultivates, it’s no wonder he’s carved out a niche for himself within Christian circles filled with people that have finally found someone who says what they think.

    However, “saying what you think” is not something that is unique to DW. There are pastors like John MacArthur and Voddie Baucham who say what they think, and there are also people like Mark Driscoll and Greg Locke who also say what they think. IMHO DW is the Mark Driscoll or Greg Locke for people with “good” theology. DW gives them the ability to follow a bombastic Christian leader who says what they’re thinking without going outside the bounds of “reformed” theology.

    As far as the “crass language” is concerned, I find it kind of funny that The Jolly Brawler minimizes or feigns ignorance to the specific examples KDY listed. I’ll quote it and let the reader decide if this meets the criteria of Colossians 4:5-6.

    “Even more troubling is Wilson’s deliberate decision to use uncouth (at best) and sinful (at worst) language, especially language of a sexual nature. His own denomination has criticized his unnecessarily provocative language, including the use of phrases like “small breasted biddies” and “lumberjack dykes.” At other times he’s used (without the asterisks I’ve inserted) words like d*ck, c*ck, c*nt, a**, b**bs (also here, here, here, and here), t*ts, b*tch (also here and here), gaytards, fa**ot, fudgepackers [for male sex], and circle jerks [a term I had to look up, but I wish I hadn’t]. To my knowledge, Wilson has not expressed regret or repentance for this language; to the contrary, he has often defended its use.” (In the original article, KDY backs it up with links to where DW used these terms).

    I more or less agree with the critiques leveled at KDY, I’m not sure exactly what he thinks can be salvaged from TGC or the ERLC but his criticisms of DW are not as hollow as TJB or “staff writer” would have you believe.

    1. To compare Greg Locke to Doug Wilson exposes the utter vacuousness of your post and saved me 4 minutes reading whatever feckless word salad you dribbled subsequent to exposing your lack or critical thinking skills

      Have a nice day ☀️

    2. I am in complete agreement with you, The_Peter, and not just because we share the same name. While I am on the same side as Wilson in many conflicts, I find the way he writes to be nothing but verbal diarrhea. He chooses to be a verbose showman that heaps words upon words instead of just talking like a normal person so that people actually knows what he’s talking about. I know some people like that, but it is way over the top for me and I find it to be nothing but a distraction from issues at hand. I looked at all the examples De Young posted for Wilson’s cursing, and I found most of Wilson’s uses of those words to be completely inappropriate and downright disgraceful. I’ve spent many hours defending Wilson to family members who I thought were being unfair to him, but I think De Young was right about somethings in his article. I’ve personally never found anything in good in Doug Wilson that I haven’t found better in Bahnsen, Van Til, Rushdoony, and so on.

  2. I like Wilson for many of the same reasons I like JD Hall and *shudder* Mark Driscoll. I personally have little admiration for sniveling, genteel teachers who impotently cower in the face of an increasingly insane, woke, and wicked world.
    Jesus angrily overturned the tables in the Temple out of His zeal for His Father – righteous anger isn’t a sin. The pearl-clutchers have plenty of other options if Wilson offends them.

  3. I am a consumer of Doug Wilson’s commentary and pod casts. I think he’s very good in addressing our cultural rot with solid Biblical responses and opinions. While I wouldn’t necessarily agree with the totality of his theological positions ( I’m a premil Evangelical, oh the horror) I find he has tremendous courage and is aware of the times we are in today and takes a stand. These professed Big Eva types always disappoint because they stand for nothing except that which places them in a good light. They seem to fear any type of negative thought by the culture of the world yet are always ready to attack a Biblical Christian. Just my thoughts…

  4. We don’t have to treat everyone in an all-or-nothing way. We can acknowledge that someone has some good things, as well as the bad things.

    Be objective, and less defensive. Don’t minimize the error, sin, foolishness, etc of your favorite people (or books, churches, etc). That is deceptive, if not lying, at least to yourself.

  5. Wilson has used the word c*nt. That is unacceptable for any Christian. You just breezed right past that. Wilson has not, to my knowledge, publicly apologized that. Therefore he stands in unrepentant sin. He should remain closer to scripture and further from the world and repent of his foul language.

    1. There is a saying, “Good preaching covers over a multitude of sins.” I am not saying Wilson is, or is not a good “preacher” or teacher (I don’t know), but whatever perceived good he has goes toward “covering” (i.e. minimizing; excusing; etc) his sins.

      That is never a good thing, and, ironically, leads to weak men, and weak leadership.

  6. Never heard of Wilson until a recent interview with Andrew Klavan. I thought his responses were pretty good, until they got to the end of the interview and Wilson said he is postmillennial. I knew right then that deep down, he’s an idiot.

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