Nate Sparks recently published an open letter to The Gospel Coalition, listing the troublesome, often abuse-condoning, things said and done by many members of TGC. Among others, he discusses Doug Wilson, a preacher who officiated at the wedding of one of his students, a guy he knew to be a pedophile, to a young woman. (This pedophile has now been forbidden almost all contact with his own baby from said marriage, due to worries about the child’s safety.) Wilson also made troubling claims on slavery and on sexual violence.
Rachel Held Evans linked on Twitter to this letter and made a claim which goes somewhat further than what DW actually said:
Wilson responded by showing that he did not say what Evans claimed:
Let us begin by looking closely at her sentence. She says that I say that unsubmissive women deserve to be raped…. of course, I say (and think) nothing of the kind… I said this:
“But women who genuinely insist on ‘no masculine protection’ are really women who tacitly agree on the propriety of rape. Whenever someone sets himself to go against God’s design, horrible problems will always result.”
I say that women who reject the protection of men will find themselves, at the end of the day, unprotected by men. This is not what they thought they were signing up for, but the results are destructive just the same.
Wilson is partially right: Evans goes too far. But he is too kind of himself: He did not say they tacitly allowed rape to happen. He said they tacitly agreed to the propriety of rape. In normal language, he said they secretly find it proper/ right. What is more, he indeed puts the protection he speaks of in the context of women having to submit one-sidedly, if you read the whole quote.
Submission, of course, does not equal protection: Bodyguards protect famous people without their famous clients submitting to them. And many women submit to abusive husbands – submission does not cause protection. Christian love is to care about people whether they submit to you or not. Should a wife only protect her husband’s health, reputation, etc. if he one-sidedly submits to her?
Here is how he treats Nate Sparks:
Now I removed from her tweet her link to an unnamed blogger who is in the grip of an advanced case of clicklust. He offered an open letter to The Gospel Coalition, calling on everybody to fix things pronto. I am not going to link to it, …
He takes RHE head on, as he could disprove one thing she said. He cannot take Nate Sparks head on, so he refuses to mention Nate’s name or link to him.
Then, Wilson mischaracterizes the problems we have with him:
“In our corner of the Reformed interwebs, one of the points that has been made more than once is that I draw the animus of the egalitarian intoleristas because of the exuberance of my writing. If I would only tone it down, it would become evident that complementarians are thoughtful, engaging people, and that they do not use flamethrowers in debate. But please note. I have been making the point repeatedly that the thing that makes us the enemy is any kind of principled resistance to the sexual revolution.”
Erm, we dislike him defending child molesters; bad-mouthing an abuse victim; endorsing slavery; talking of women he does not like in terms of their body and looks – not their views; for believing that men dream of rape and women wistfully read about heroines getting ravished and that this is right and not the sinful state of a broken world. As for not using flame throwers – plenty of what he said of Natalie Greenfield amounts to flame-throwing.
Are people hating him because he is not in favour of the sexual revolution? Utter nonsense. Both Christian egalitarians (here and here for example) and many secular feminists (here is Gail Dines – my favourite person to quote on topics related to porn and sexuality in a porn-saturated world, here and here are others for example) are opposed to what was wrought by the sexual revolution.
And when will the rest of TGC respond to Nate’s letter?