November ought to be considered a religious holiday for prickly pastrixes, empathetic feminists and effeminate Big-Eva types- a hallowed season where the pronouns-in-bio muckrakers of “concerned” Julie Roys-aligned “discernment ministries” work together with the sole intent of smashing the patriarchy in Moscow, Idaho and “examining” the so-called evils of Pastor Doug Wilson and Canon Press. This is because every nearly December, Doug and his delegates go an entire month without offering qualifying statements to the often incendiary but always relevant cultural and theological commentary, an occasion that is aptly named No Quarter November.
The result of this unbridled commentary and the blowback criticism from Big Eva that follows is a firestorm that is best illustrated by the artistic fire-related No Quarter November promotion videos that Canon Press releases at the beginning of November, which are intended to symbolize the fact that the culture and world are indeed burning around us.
Wilson toasted a drone, a lineup of current woke Disney characters, and social media symbol cutouts with a custom NQN flamethrower in this year’s video, whereas previous NQN promotional video projects have included burning an office set and CGI boat. The 2021 CGI boat burning promo video was so realistic that a “concerned citizen” reported Wilson to Idaho authorities who investigated claims that he had illegally sunk his large digital watercraft in a public lake.
As expected, the blowback against NQN has been especially fierce. A number of flash fires were started by beleaguered opponents of Pastor Wilson, with opposition coming from both leftists and reformed ally alike. In the words of Doug, “This has been the best (NQN) because the other team came out to play.”
Leftist opposition was exemplified by Karen Swallow Prior, who renewed her ongoing dispute with New Saint Andrews Fellow of Theology Joe Rigney, over Rigney’s Biblical teaching that empathy is a sin.
Establishment Southern Baptist leaders felt threatened enough by the firebrand rhetoric of Wilson and the growing influence of Postmillennial eschatology that is espoused by Christchurch Moscow to give anti-Moscow and anti-postmillennial eschatology talks to their congregants, all in the hope of dissuading those drawn to the “Moscow Mojo.”
Many Baptist pastors, including Jim Hamilton and Denny Burk, warned their congregations about the dangers of Wilson, the tone of his rhetoric, and postmillennial eschatology, while Pastor Wilson held special NQN Doug and Friends podcasts that featured recent prominent Baptist trophy-defectors to Moscow, such as former Bethlehem Seminary President Joe Rigney and former Vice President of Founders Ministry Jared Longshore.
TGC Council member Kevin DeYoung dedicated an entire blogpost to the tone of Pastor Wilson, an attack that was aptly critiqued by defenders of Pastor Wilson. Given that DeYoung has never taken time to publicly address the theological compromise of Tim Keller and the leftward drift of TGC in the same manner as his attack on Wilson, the attack on the tone of Moscow was certainly itself tone-deaf.
Doug Wilson and his fellow pastors in Moscow received the vicious criticism of NQN 2023 with a kind of gleeful joy. Wilson noted that while he is used to being the recipient of accusations of misogyny, the fact that critics of Moscow who claim that he is a misogynist have turned to criticizing the women of Moscow, notably his wife and daughters, is more than ironic. The aforementioned feminist discernment bloggers recently found an old clip in which Nancy Wilson (Doug’s wife) describes disciplining her then-young daughter Rachel for having an unfavorable reaction when it was time to leave a friend’s house. The one-minute decontextualized clip, which was cut from an hour-long parenting conference Q&A, was met by the harsh criticisms of many who deemed Nancy a “child abuser”, and Rachel Jankovich, her daughter, an unwitting victim with Stockholm syndrome. In the clip, Nancy explains how she didn’t just discipline her children for sinful behaviors, but also for sinful attitudes of the heart:
Rachel was visiting a friend. She was probably 3 or 4, in that before school age, and our neighbor had little kids so we would trade back and forth. So, I went over to pick her up, and when I walked in, she said “Oh, is it time to go”. So, I thought perfect opportunity. I got her home. I didn’t address it there, but I did give her a spanking. It’s true. I did, but I just said “When I come in, you’re going to say ‘hi mom’.” You know that’s how we do this. So, the next time she went over there I did the review, “now remember when I come, you’re gonna say ‘Hi mom’. You’re not gonna say Oh I don’t want to go’.” So, it was beautiful because then when I picked her up it was that “Yes, mom is here at last.” Yeah, but it’s just giving them that training…
The concept of disciplining the heart of a child is certainly controversial in a culture that values independence, self-determination, and freedom above all else, but understanding a scriptural view of the heart, as it relates to sin, is an important part of addressing every cultural conflict that the church faces. While many critics of Nancy Wilson see an overbearing disciplinarian who acts as the thought police of her children, the truth is that what Nancy saw in the heart of her daughter was a seed of rebellion against parental authority that manifested itself in a statement of displeasure, at the thought that it was time to go home. Nancy didn’t discipline in anger. She took Rachel home and addressed the attitude with a spanking that was accompanied with an explanation of why the discipline was given, and expectations as to what attitudes and behaviors were expected in the future. In the Gospels, Jesus was very clear that sinful acts are begotten by sinful heart conditions.
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. Matthew 15:18-19
Reformed theology teaches total depravity as one of its core tenets, while the world teaches that children are innocent and essentially good. In the words of Pastor Voddie Baucham, children are “vipers in diapers”. They are born with a sin nature that is rooted in original sin, ready and willing to follow in the footsteps of Adam in their pursuit of sin. Parents have the God-given task of disciplining their child, including discipline of their actions, attitudes, and heart.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him. Proverbs 22:15
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
While critics of the Wilson family may dispute whether the specific punishment described by Nancy was appropriate for the circumstances, it is difficult to argue with the fruit of Doug and Nancy’s parenting. All three of their children grew up in “the discipline and instruction of the Lord, are ”active in the ministry of the church, and praise the wisdom and discipline of their parents. In response to the controversy, Doug and the Wilson Children, N.D. Wilson, Rachel Jankovich, and Rebekah Merkle gathered together in a podcast to discuss parenting. While Doug and Nancy are not infallible, their children did not have anything negative to say about their parenting. Their statements did not appear to be made under duress, and at the time of the podcast their young children were left under the care of Nancy Wilson without any reservations.
Objectively, Canon Press, the publisher founded by Christchurch, Moscow, and the Wilson family, has produced a number of works that address sin as a sickness of the heart. Rebekah Merkle’s book and accompanying documentary Eve In Exile documents feminism, as a sinful heart condition that has destroyed the God-given design of femininity. In addressing the scourge of feminism, Merkle provides Biblical solutions that are not merely practical but also cut down to the heart issue of why women choose to rebel against God.
In the same form as Merkle’s work, Future Men, Doug Wilson’s guide for “bringing up boys to be strong men of faith” was just recently launched in its documentary format, with contributions from Doug Wilson, Ben Merkle, N.D. Wilson, C.R. Wiley, and Toby Sumpter. The multi-part documentary addresses the issue of raising up boys in the model of Biblical masculinity while addressing specific issues related to temptation and sin. Their point: to raise up a child that is not merely outwardly obedient to God, but also inwardly transformed in a way that “pushes scriptural patterns for masculinity into all the corners of a boy’s life.” Unlike some of their counterpart publishers in mainline evangelism, who dress the Gospel and discipleship in the carnal and effeminate trappings of the culture so that Christians can learn from Taylor Swift’s Era’s tour or the Barbie Movie, Canon Press is thoroughly committed to Biblical manhood and womanhood.
With all this said, there is a matter, which Pastor Wilson referred to as an “unnecessary” controversy, which should be revisited in light of the Nancy Wilson spanking controversy. Nearly one year ago, Doug was gracious enough to discuss and debate Pastor Jared Moore on the issue of hamartiology as it relates to Side B Homosexuality on Jon Harris’ Conversations That Matter podcast. We discussed this at length here:
Doug has contended that while same-sex attraction is disordered, it is not inherently sinful, and as long as a same-sex attracted individual does not act on the attraction, their desire isn’t a sin. While many evangelicals, including Pastor Wilson view this belief as a non-essential quibble, it is actually a lynch pin of the Side B Revoice movement. In Pastor Wilson’s initial response to Pastor Jared Moore, he opined that those who critiqued his position were placing him in the same camp as the advocates of the Revoice Side B Movement.
“The way Jared Moore framed all of this, it looked like various warriors in the fight against the Side B Revoice downgrade were surreptitiously Side B advocates themselves.”
On the contrary, it would be extremely difficult to believe that Doug Wilson is in the same camp as Side B advocates Preston Sprinkle or Nate Collins. However, in the same fashion that Rosaria Butterfield for a season opposed Revoice while holding on to some of the ideas that are part of the Revoice Movement, Pastor Wilson’s beliefs about same sex attraction have an element that is in line with Revoice. Rosaria Butterfield’s position on these issues has changed drastically in the last two years. She repented of her previous opposition to reparative therapy, repented of her use of transgender pronoun hospitality, and has even gone so far as to repent of her previous position that “homosexual desires, in and of themselves, are not sinful unless you act out physically on them”, in a direct repudiation of the Revoice movement and its proponents.
Pastor Wilson, who by all indications has never opposed reparative therapy or joined in pronoun hospitality madness, is aware of Rosaria Butterfield’s stand against Side B homosexuality and belief that homosexual desires are sinful. He recently commended her speech at Liberty University in an episode of Doug and Friends. So what gives?
If parental discipline of the rebellious heart of a child is Biblical, to the point that discipline is not only used to shepherd actions, but also to discipline the attitudes and desires of the child’s heart, would it not also follow that the mortification of sinful sexual desires also includes a level of God-ordained discipline that sanctifies the individual in a way that they repent of both sinful sexual acts and sinful sexual desires with the end goal of complete mortification?
One of the marks of postmillennial eschatology held by Pastor Wilson is the belief that all enemies of Christ are put under the feet of Christ, and that when Christ returns, he will conquer the final enemy, death. In 2023, a Canon Press campaign sponsored billboards across the country with the bold proclamation “Christ Is Lord”. If Christ is Lord, and indeed he is, is he not also Lord over all enemies, including sinful sexual desires? This idea is not the prosperity Gospel, as Rosaria Butterfield once falsely believed. I don’t know if she has taken up an eschatological position, but her current views on Biblical sexuality seem more in alignment with a triumphant postmillennial eschatology than those of Pastor Wilson, which is kind of crazy, considering that Pastor Wilson is one of the most prominent advocates of Postmillennialism.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11
It would be heartless and unbiblical to claim that an individual who has same-sex attraction is beyond the reach of grace. It would be just as heartless to empathize with those who maintain same-sex desires and count them as beyond the reach of Christ. Empathy for sinful acts is just as sinful as empathy for sinful desires, and empathy is a sin, no matter the opinion of one Notorious KSP.
These observations are not made lightly, or as though Pastor Wilson is an enemy of the faith. On the contrary, his work is valuable and relevant to the church in the quite flammable cultural moment in which we now find ourselves. The materials available from Canon Press are certifiably wuss resistant and generally much more reliable and biblically consistent than the combined content of TGC and the hodge podge dumpster fire library that we in the SBC affectionately call Lifeway. Blessings.