Douglas Wilson (theologian)
Douglas James Wilson (born 18 June 1953) is a conservative Reformed and evangelical theologian, pastor at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, faculty member at New Saint Andrews College, and prolific author and speaker. He is featured in the documentary film Collision documenting his debates with anti-theist Christopher Hitchens on their promotional tour for the book "Is Christianity Good for the World?".
Wilson earned a BA in classical studies and a BA and an MA in philosophy from the University of Idaho. In addition to his role as pastor of Christ Church, he is a founder and Senior Fellow in Theology at New Saint Andrews College, founder and editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine, and founder of Greyfriars Hall, a three-year ministerial training program. He also serves on the governing boards of New Saint Andrews, Logos School (a Christian private school), and the Association of Classical and Christian Schools. Wilson was instrumental in forming the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches. He is married to Nancy Wilson and has three children, including N. D. Wilson, and 15 grandchildren.
Doug Wilson has said that "if someone wants a quick and easy way to figure out what makes me tick" they should read three of his books: Reforming Marriage, Angels in the Architecture, and Joy at the End of the Tether. Wilson said "if someone read those three books they'd have a pretty good grasp of what I think is important".
Wilson is the publisher of and a contributor to the Reformed cultural and theological journal Credenda/Agenda, and is a former contributor to Tabletalk, the magazine published by R. C. Sproul's Ligonier Ministries. He has published a number of books on culture and theology, several children's books, and a collection of poetry.
Wilson has been a prominent advocate for classical Christian education, and he laid out his vision for education in several books and pamphlets, especially in Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning (1991, ISBN 0-89107-583-6) and The Case for Classical Christian Education (2002, ISBN 1‐58134384‐1). In those writings, he argues that the American public schools are failing to educate their students, and he proposes a Christian approach to education based on the Trivium, a Greco-Roman approach to education which emphasizes grammar, rhetoric, and logic and advocates a wide exposure to the liberal arts, including classical Western languages such as Latin and Greek. The model has been adopted by a number of Christian private schools and homeschoolers.
Wilson and his wife have also written a number of books on family issues based on their understanding of the Bible, including Reforming Marriage (ISBN 1-885767-45-5), Federal Husband (ISBN 1-885767-51-X), Her Hand in Marriage (on biblical courtship; ISBN 1-885767-26-9), Standing on the Promises: A Handbook of Biblical Childrearing (ISBN 1-885767-25-0), and Future Men (ISBN 1-885767-83-8).
Wilson has written on theological subjects in books such as Mother Kirk: Essays and Forays in Practical Ecclesiology (ISBN 1-885767-72-2), To a Thousand Generations (ISBN 1-885767-24-2) on infant baptism, and "Reformed" Is Not Enough: Recovering the Objectivity of the Covenant (ISBN 1-59128-005-2). He has also been a noted advocate for Van Tillian presuppositional apologetics and postmillennialism. Letter from a Christian Citizen (ISBN 0‐91581566‐4) is Wilson's response to atheist Sam Harris's Letter to a Christian Nation. In May 2007, Wilson debated another noted atheist, Christopher Hitchens, in a six-part series published by Christianity Today. In October of the following year, they debated in person in three separate venues on three consecutive days.
Wilson's views on covenant theology as espoused in "Reformed" Is Not Enough and in his contribution to The Federal Vision (ISBN 978-0-9753914-0-2) have caused some controversy as part of the Federal Vision theology, partly because of its similarity to the New Perspective on Paul, which Wilson does not fully endorse, though he has praised some tenets that are in line with his theology. The RPCUS denomination, declared his views on the subject to be heretical, and although "Reformed" Is Not Enough was already in process when the RPCUS's resolution was published, Wilson sought to address some of their charges in that book.
Wilson's most controversial work is probably his pamphlet Southern Slavery, As It Was (ISBN 1-885767-17-X), which he wrote along with League of the South co-founder and fellow Christian minister Steve Wilkins. The pamphlet stated that "slavery produced in the South a genuine affection between the races that we believe we can say has never existed in any nation before the War or since." Historians such as Peter H. Wood, Clayborne Carson, and Bancroft Prize winner Ira Berlin condemned the pamphlet's arguments, with Wood calling them as spurious as holocaust denial.
Wilson held a February 2004 conference for those who supported his ideas, such as pastor George Grant, in the University of Idaho. The University published a disclaimer distancing itself from the event, and numerous anti-conference protests took place. Wilson described critical attacks as 'abolitionist propaganda'. He also has repeatedly denied any racist leanings. Wilson has described his own views as 'paleo-Confederate'. He has said his "long war" is not on behalf of white supremacy; rather, Wilson seeks to revive the memory—however rose-tinted—of eras in Western history when faith and reason seemed at one, when family, church, and the organic "community of Christians" that T. S. Eliot describes in Christianity and Culture were more powerful than the state.
The Southern Poverty Law Center connects Wilson's views to the Neo-Confederate and Christian Reconstruction movements influenced by R. J. Rushdoony, concluding, "Wilson's theology is in most ways indistinguishable from basic tenets of Reconstruction."
Canon Press ceased publication of Southern Slavery, As It Was when it became aware of serious citation errors in several passages authored by Wilkins. Robert McKenzie, the history professor who first noticed the citation problems, described the authors as being "sloppy" rather than "malevolent." Wilson reworked and redacted the arguments in the tract, and published (without Wilkins) a new set of essays under the name Black & Tan (ISBN 1-59128-032-X) after consulting with historian Eugene Genovese.
Wilson addressed his views on slavery, racism, and states' rights in a 2011 interview by Canon Wired.
- Wilson, Douglas (1989), No Stone Unturned: The CEF Symposium on Creation, Canon Press (editor and contributor).
- ———; Nance, James B (2006) [1990, 1992, 1997], Introductory Logic for Christian and Home Schools, Canon, ISBN 978-1‐59128033‐0 Check
- ——— (1991), Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education, Crossway, ISBN 978-0‐89107583‐7 Check
- ——— (1995), Reforming Marriage, Canon, ISBN 978-1‐88576745‐5 Check
- ——— (1996), Repairing the Ruins: The Classical and Christian Challenge to Modern Education, Canon, ISBN 978-1‐88576714‐1 Check
|isbn=value (help) (editor and contributor).
- ——— (1996), Contours of Postmaturity: InterVarsity Press Comes of Age, Canon, ISBN 978-1‐88576720‐2 Check
- ———; Hagopian, David (1996), Beyond Promises: A Biblical Challenge to Promise Keepers, Canon, ISBN 978-1‐88576712‐9 Check
- ———; Wilkins, Steve (1996), Southern Slavery: As It Was, Canon, ISBN 978-1‐88576717‐2 Check
- ——— (1996), To A Thousand Generations: Infant Baptism ~ Covenant Mercy to the Children of God, Canon, ISBN 978-1‐88576724‐0 Check
- ——— (1997), Her Hand in Marriage: Biblical Courtship in the Modern World, Canon, ISBN 978-1‐88576726‐4 Check
- ——— (1997), Standing on the Promises: A Handbook of Biblical Childrearing, Canon, ISBN 978-1‐88576725‐7 Check
- Latin Grammar for Christian and Home Schools (with Karen Craig) (Canon Pressm 1997, 2nd ed.) (ISBN 978-1885767370)
- Easy Chairs, Hard Words: Conversations on the Liberty of God (Canon Press, 1997) (ISBN 978-1885767301)
- Persuasions: A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief (Canon Press, 1997) (ISBN 978-1885767295)
- Angels in the Architecture: A Protestant Vision for Middle Earth (with Douglas Jones) (Canon Press, 1998) (ISBN 978-1885767400)
- Joy at the End of the Tether: The Inscrutable Wisdom of Ecclesiastes (Canon Press, 1999) (ISBN 978-1885767509)
- Federal Husband (Canon Press, 1999) (ISBN 978-1885767516)
- The Paideia of God and Other Essays on Education (Canon Press, 1999) (ISBN 978-1885767592)
- Fidelity: What It Means to be a One-Woman Man (Canon Press, 1999) (ISBN 978-1885767646)
- For Kirk and Covenant: The Stalwart Courage of John Knox (Leaders in Action) (Cumberland House Publishing, 2000) (ISBN 978-1581820584)
- Knowledge, Foreknowledge, and the Gospel (Canon Press, 2000) (ISBN 978-5550033241)
- Exhortations: A Call to Maturity in Worship (Charles Nolan Publishing, 2000) (ISBN 978-0967760315)
- Untune the Sky: Occasional, Stammering Verse (Veritas Press, 2001) (ISBN 978-1930710696)
- Greyfriars Covenant: Essays on Evangelism and Apologetics (Greyfriars Hall Press, 2001)
- Beyond Stateliest Marble: The Passionate Femininity of Anne Bradstreet (Leaders in Action) (Cumberland House Publishing, 2001) (ISBN 978-1581821642)
- Classical Education and the Homeschool (with Wesley Callihan and Douglas Jones) (Canon Press, 2001) (ISBN 978-1885767851)
- Bound Only Once: The Failure of Open Theism (editor and contributor) (Canon Press, 2001) (ISBN 978-1885767844)
- Future Men (Canon Press, 2001) (ISBN 978-1885767837)
- Mother Kirk: Essays on Church Life (Canon Press, 2001) (ISBN 978-1885767721)
- Excused Absence: Should Christian Kids Leave Public Schools? (Canon Press, 2001) (ISBN 978-0970224514)
- "Reformed" is Not Enough: Recovering the Objectivity of the Covenant (Canon Press, 2002) (ISBN 978-1591280057)
- The Case for Classical Christian Education (Crossway, 2002) (ISBN 978-1581343847)
- A Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking (Canon Press, 2003) (ISBN 978-1591280101)
- Blackthorn Winter (Veritas Maritime) (Veritas Press, 2003) (ISBN 978-1932168105)
- My Life for Yours: A Walk Though the Christian Home (Canon Press, 2004) (ISBN 978-1885767905)
- Wisdom Is A Woman And Other Short Essays On Marriage For Men (Canon Press, 2004) (ISBN 978-1591280293)
- Omnibus I: Biblical and Classical Civilizations (editor, with G. Tyler Fischer) (Veritas Press, 2005) (ISBN 978-1932168426)
- Black & Tan: A Collection of Essays and Excursions on Slavery, Culture War, and Scripture in America (Canon Press, 2005) (ISBN 978-1591280323)
- For a Glory and a Covering: A Practical Theology of Marriage (Canon Press, 2006) (ISBN 978-1591280415)
- Letter from a Christian Citizen: A Response to Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris (American Vision 2007) (ISBN 978-0915815661)
- The Deluded Atheist: A Response to Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion (American Vision, 2008) (ISBN 978-0915815593)
- God Is. How Christianity Explains Everything (American Vision, 2008) (ISBN 978-0915815869)
- Is Christianity Good for the World? (with Christopher Hitchens) (Canon Press, 2008) (ISBN 978-1591280538)
- A Primer on Worship and Reformation: Recovering the High Church Puritan (Canon Press, 2008) (ISBN 978-1591280613)
- Heaven Misplaced: Christ's Kingdom on Earth (Canon Press, 2008) (ISBN 978-1591280835)
- Five Cities that Ruled the World: How Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York Shaped Global History (Thomas Nelson, 2009) (ISBN 978-1595551368)
- The Forgotten Heavens: Six Essays on Cosmology (editor and contributor) (Canon Press, 2010) (ISBN 978-1591280712)
- What I Learned in Narnia (Canon Press, 2010) (ISBN 978-1591280798)
- A Study Guide to Calvin's Institutes (Canon Press, 2011) (ISBN 978-1591280866)
- The Rhetoric Companion: A Student's Guide to Power in Persuasion (with N.D. Wilson) (Canon Press, 2011) (ISBN 978-1591280781)
- Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life (Canon Press, 2011) (ISBN 978-1591280996)
- Future Men: Raising Boys to Fight Giants (Canon Press, 1st rev. ed., 2012) (ISBN 978-1591281108)
- Evangellyfish (Canon Press, 2012) (ISBN 978-1591280989)
- Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families (Thomas Nelson, 2012) (ISBN 978-1595554765)
- Back to Basics: Rediscovering the Richness of the Reformed Faith (David G. Hagopian, ed.) (P&R Publishing, 1996) (ISBN 978-0875522166)
- Whatever Happened to the Reformation? (Gary L.W. Johnson & R. Fowler White, ed.) (P&R Publishing, 2001) (ISBN 978-0875521831)
- The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism (Gregg Strawbridge, ed.) (P&R Publishing, 2003) (ISBN 978-0875525549)
- The Federal Vision (Steve Wilkins & Duane Garner, ed.) (Athanasius Press, 2004) (ISBN 978-0975391402)
- When Shall These Things Be?: A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism (Keith A. Mathison, ed.) (P&R Publishing, 2004) (ISBN 978-0875525525)
- The Case for Covenant Communion (Gregg Strawbridge, ed.) (Athanasius Press, 2006) (ISBN 978-0975391433)
- With Calvin in the Theater of God: The Glory of Christ and Everyday Life (Crossway, 2010) (ISBN 978-1433514128)
- "Essential reading", Ask Doug, Canon wired.
- History, Association of Classical and Christian Schools History.
- Introduction to Classical Christian Education, Classical Christian Homeschooling.
- "Is Christianity Good for the World?". Christianity Today. 8 May 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- "On the Road with Atheism – Christopher Hitchens squares off with Douglas Wilson". Christianity Today. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
- Wilson, Douglas. "A Pauline Take on the New Perspective". Credenda/Agenda 15 (5).[dead link]
- "A Call to Repentance". Covenant Presbytery, Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States. 22 June 2002. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- Wilson, Douglas (2002). "Forward". Reformed Is Not Enough: Recovering the Objectivity of the Covenant. Moscow, Idaho: Canon Press. pp. 7–9. ISBN 1-59128-005-2.
- Ramsey, William L (December 20, 2004), The Late Unpleasantness in Idaho: Southern Slavery and the Culture Wars, US: History News Network, retrieved June 16, 2009.
- Christianity today, Apr 2009, p. 5
- "Doug Wilson’s Religious Empire Expanding in the Northwest", Intelligence report (SPL center), Spring 2004 .
- Luker, Ralph E (May 2, 2005), "Plagiarizing Slavery...", Cliopatria (blog) (US: History News Network).
- "Neo-Confederates: Plagiarism as it is", Intelligence Report (SPL center), Fall 2004, retrieved June 16, 2009 .
- Ramsey, William L (March 27, 2006), Horowitz, Genovese, and the Varieties of Culture War: Comments on the Continuing Unpleasantness in Idaho, US: History News Network, retrieved June 16, 2009.
- Blog and Mablog - Wilson's blog
- The Wilson-Hitchens Debate
- The Wilson-Drange Debate, a formal, written debate in which Wilson defends Christian theism and assails the views of nonbeliever Theodore Drange
- The Controversialist, profile from Christianity Today