[UPDATED]Jared Wilson, Paleo-Confederate (Doug) Wilson, and 1 Cor 3 Reformed Tribalism: Part 1


For reasons that escape me Doug Wilson is (now) beloved in the new-Calvinist (and YRR) world and is being conveniently divorced from his support of racists like Robert E. Lee, Robert L. Dabney, and so on. [UPDATE: so as not confuse, by "support" I mean "holds in high esteem"]. I have recently discovered that Wilson's hagiographic understanding of the American South before the Civil-War is completely ignored in some circles. Why is Doug Wilson getting a pass on his views on Southern slavery? I don't understand it.

Let me say for the record: I fully believe Doug Wilson to be a Godly man who gets the gospel right and loves Jesus is all his heart, mind, soul and strength. In fact, from what I've read recently, I may even agree with him on many issues regarding politics and economics. However, the point of the departure for me will be our views on the intersections of the Christ and Southern society before the before and during the Civil War.

And Mr. Wilson is free to believe whatever he wants to believe. This is what makes America great!

I realize that by raising questions about Wilson I am going to be vehemently attacked by his devotees, will probably lose friends, and it may even close off a few opportunities for speaking, writing, etc. These attacks will expose the Wilsonian tribalism that reigns today (more on that in Part 2). The attacks I am expecting will not be the first time from the Wilson-lovers crowd, however. I have spent the last 8 years racially attacked by those who share Wilson's views about the South before the Civil-War.

On the Gospel Coalition website, Jared Wilson aroused much controversy when he posted an excerpt from one of Wilson's books about sexuality. To his credit, Jared later apologized. The debates about women's roles I find provincial and boring so I'm not engaged in the complimentarian/egalitarian debate. These are important discussions for good reasons. God bless'em.

I became aware that Wilson was on the TGC website after reading this post on the website Political Jesus. I was shocked that Doug Wilson was even being talked about on The Gospel Coalition website. Why was he even there?

Since I'm not a pastor I don't really follow The Gospel Coalition content too closely so I had NO IDEA that Doug Wilson had risen to mainstream status as representative voice of the new-Calvinist tribe until last week (otherwise I woud have said something sooner). After tweeting some information about Wilson I was shocked by the number of those from his tribe pushing back. I actually had to block a few from communicating via Twitter.

Why was I shocked? Because my first introduction to Doug Wilson in the 1990s was in connection to his views on slavery in the South expressed in this pamphlet: Southern Slavery As It Was--A Monograph by Steve Wilkins & Douglas Wilson. This is also when I realized that anyone this utterly incorrect about the history and culture of the South isn't to be taken too seriously so I stopped paying much attention. Somehow, Wilson has transitioned from hosting Confederate Heritage events to serving as a brand spokesman for Reformed apologetics, Christian education, marriage and family, and the like, by many in the Young, Restless, and Reformed circles and young Calvinists.

How did that makeover happen? I have no idea. I wasn't paying attention. I am curious.

Perhaps there is simply an irresponsible and profound ignorance of Wilson's views about the Confederate South--this is my most charitable conjecture. The more worrisome conjecture, however, is that Reformed evangelicals are so enamored by his conservatism that they dismiss the importance of his views on Southern society. A blind-eye toward the South could send a clear message to African Americans: "we don't care that Wilson's writings are troubling and offensive to blacks."

How could Jared Wilson, and others, read "Doug Wilson's Religious Empire Expanding in the Northwest: A religious empire based in Idaho is part of the far-right theological movement fueling neo-Confederate groups" and find him so credible for branding on other issues (or at least start asking some questions)? When I've raised this issue before I am often greeted with this response, "well, does this mean we shouldn't read Martin Luther? He was anti-Semitic." No worries, I did a #facepalm too.

For those of who only know of Rev. Wilson from marriage, family, politics, Federal Vision discussions, and so on, here's a good article explaining what is so wrong with Wilson's understanding of Southern history from that first pamphlet. And, yes, I know that he calls himself a "Paleo-Confederate," so you need not put that in the comment thread:

Ramsey, William L. and Quinlan, Sean M., Southern Slavery As It Wasn't: Coming to Grips with Neo-Confederate Historical Misinformation. Oklahoma City University Law Review, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2005. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=633361

Abstract: "Southern Slavery as it Wasn't: Coming to Grips with Neo-Confederate Historical Misinformation" assesses the historical revisionism of neo-Confederate amateur historians who maintain that slavery was a positive and happy experience for African Americans. Such views are becoming increasingly influential among white supremacist and conservative groups in the South and Midwest, and they pose a growing threat to the civil rights of minorities nationwide on several levels.

The essay demonstrates that neo-Confederate histories of southern slavery are not concerned with historical accuracy. They seek instead to advance an ideological repudiation of multiculturalism and civil rights. As such, they are being used by opponents of civil rights to challenge voting rights, desegregation, and affirmative action in a variety of court challenges and grassroots campaigns and to champion the imposition of "biblical law."

For a more accurate view of the South than you may hear from the Wilson tribe order the following books:

  1. Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market, by Walter Johnson

  2. How Race Is Made: Slavery, Segregation, and the Senses, by Mark Smith

  3. Freedom's Coming: Religious Culture and the Shaping of the South from the Civil War through the Civil Rights Era, by Paul Harvey

  4. A Nation under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration, by Stephen Hahn

  5. Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920, by Charles Reagan Wilson

Finally, in Part 2, I'll discuss how Wilson's rise in the new-Calvinist world (esp. among the YRR crowd) exposes the growing celebrity tribalism in Reformed circles; the unchecked, uncritical following of men instead of Christ; and consequences of divorcing world-and-life-view from skill at articulating "the gospel."

NOTE: I've made a few edits to this post since I originally posted it.


Anthony - Speaking only for myself, I started taking him more seriously after reading his son's book Notes from the Tilt-a-whirl which is basically Chesterton's Orthodoxy, only if it were written in the 21st century by an American Protestant. It remains one of my top five books. And as I finished it I thought, "anyone who can raise a son like that has to have something worth listening to." I don't follow him all out b/c I think his views on race and the old south are really distressing, at least from little I've read, although I haven't read Black and Tan yet.

But the real appeal of Wilson to a young guy like me (I'm not sure I fit into the YRR crowd or not... I'm young and Presbyterian, but I don't really pay any attention to Keller, Piper, Driscoll (can't stand him...), Chandler, etc.) is that as someone who grew up when the emergent/yrr fight was at its height, I've been through the Claiborne/Boyd/Anabaptist v. transformationalist fight. And I landed on the transformationalist side. And right now, Wilson is an accessible, popular level writer with some really helpful thoughts on those issues. Doesn't mean I agree with him on everything, in fact sometimes he has the same effect on me that Driscoll does, which isn't a good thing. But I think if you take a mixture of Piper, Keller and Wilson you have yourself a pretty good mix of Reformed Protestant thought that will hopefully be as helpful to others as it has to me.

All best,
PS Did you know Eric Mason from Epiphany is speaking at Wilson's conference this fall? I only ask b/c you once told me about Epiphany and when I saw his name I remembered talking to you about the church...

If you think Doug Wilson is racist, check out the "fact check" from this event (the actual event is enlightening too): www.canonwired.com/bloomington

html url - re if you think Douglas Wilson is racist: Bloomington - Sexual by Design - Douglas Wilson

I've taught in a classical Christian school for the past four years in Pittsburgh. Wilson is a leader in that arena. But even more for us, we are a confessionally reformed school. So we like anything that smacks of confessional reformed Christianity. I had the joy of teaching high school BIble - including apologetics. Wilson and Co (Peter Leihart) published loads of essays and books regarding faith, culture, and life. In college, Grove City, we even used some Canon Press materials for various classes. I credit Wilson's rise to popularity by a sustained publication base. He has written materials for education and popular consumption since I was in 7th grade (1998). That was my first encounter with him. I've known people that have gone to New St. Andrews. And even then, from my high school years, Wilson was seen as a super-human. I credit this to homeschooling/classical schooling tribalism. "He's our leader, so don't attack him."

(Related to this is Wilson's creation of a theological college, graduate program, classical schooling, publishing house, a denomination, and planted a church...... Sounds very tribal to me.)

Secondly I credit his rise to popularity to many of the currents in the YRR movement. His soapboxes had to do with the family, complementarianism, gender roles, masculinity, and so much more. My mom once gave me a book of his entitled "Future Men." Not a bad read, but so many of his books on family... are not for me...

Thirdly, John Piper asked him to come speak at his conference on Calvin. (Why him and not Ryken or someone? I do not know.) JP invited him because "he gets the gospel and reformed theology." But I think JP invited him because of the soapbox issues. They just "clicked."

Due to this Wilson got some posts on the Resurgence AND hosted a conference at his home church with Mark Driscoll.

Fourthly, and ultimately, he did a debate and tour with Christopher Hitchens. Something that he himself put on through Canon Press. But went to Kings College, which I am sure you know, Westminster, Columbia, and DC. He tapped into Hitchen's network. (I heard somewhere, but am not able to verify this, that Peter Hitchens married one of Wilson's daughters?????? Perhaps I need to read Pete's memoir to find that out.)

That's my 4 cents.

Thanks Jake! That's very helpful. I don't really read the folks you mentioned (I came up in a different era. We read Boyce, Ferguson, Horton, Schaeffer.) But that makes total sense.

From reading Black & Tan it seems like Wilson vehemently rejects slavery and racism and is arguing that the South had the constitution and state rights right while having the slavery issue wrong. He argues there was a more peaceful way to end slavery and that racial animosity was ramped up bc of way it ended. He did point out that relationships in the south were a mixed bag some were good and others were horrific and caused God to judge the South.

Granted I'm no history buff and I don't agree w 100% of what he said. But I picked up to find out what he actually said. What would you say to those ideas?

Thought this link could be helpful to you and your readers.

Lord Acton, Anthony Bradley, and Me


If what Wilson is saying is true, then it seems rather disingenuous to post this before discussing the matters with Wilson despite his repeated requests. What's the reason for the decision to post on someone's views without discussing them with him, despite the request? Or is there more to the story that isn't being offered?

Furthermore, Eric Mason has spoken positively of Wilson in the past...please tell me that you aren't trying to create problems by asking him to leave this conference or cause unnecessary division in the reformed community, I just don't see the need for it...unless more is going on than it appears from these posts.

Good Morning,

For further background on Doug Wilson's academic background and
ministerial career please follow the url below.


The author, Dr. Nick Gier, is a retired philosophy professor from the University of Idaho. Dr. Gier taught Doug Wilson, is very familiar with Doug Wilson's ministry, as well as Doug's literary efforts.

It is time well spent to read Dr. Gier's essays for a more complete understanding of Doug Wilson.

Rose Huskey

"I realize that by raising questions about Wilson I am going to be vehemently attacked by his devotees, will probably lose friends, and it may even close off a few opportunities for speaking, writing, etc. These attacks will expose the Wilsonian tribalism that reigns today (more on that in Part 2). The attacks I am expecting will not be the first time from the Wilson-lovers crowd, however. I have spent the last 8 years racially attacked by those who share Wilson's views about the South before the Civil-War."

Mr Bradley, unfortunatley, your judgments are being clouded by your obsession with the levels of melatonin in your skin. are you more committed to your race than Christ? Do you really feel it necessary to insulate yourself from criticism by dismissing critics of your gross misrepresentation of Wilson's view as "tribalism"? You should be ashamed of yourself for being so careless with your tongue. I hope God is kind toward you and grants you repentance.

Mr. Bradley,

Are you alleging that Wilson is himself racist, or are you merely alleging that Wilson has a poor understanding of the history of the South, or both, or something else? I can't tell. Maybe that's part 2.

Did you just unquestionably cite the SPLC with a straight face? I read some of your other articles and can't imagine you would take the SPLC's review of (for example) a political candidate seriously without first finding out the facts yourself. Why then Doug Wilson? I get awfully curious when an otherwise right-winger is bedding down with the SPLC. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

Mr. Bradley, if you have something to say, say it. Cite primary sources yourself (by that I mean what Wilson has published, not simply what some allege he has said or published) and accuse Wilson precisely where you think he's guilty. You may be right. He may be crazy. But you might find that if you stick to the facts you'll enjoy the ride anyhoo.

I don't personally mind the terms "tribe" and "tribalism," but some folks might think you were using them to intimidate those who disagree with you, or at least prejudice the debate by defaming any dissenters.

As I said, maybe you're already planning on dealing with all this and more in part 2. If so, then ignore me and carry on.

Finally, I have a prediction: you will fail to find a single racist thing about Wilson, but somehow you will maintain that it is still all his fault and that people shouldn't listen to anything he says. I defy you to prove me wrong.

Toby (probably no relation) Wilson

Dear other commenters - I don't see Anthony Bradley saying Doug Wilson is racist. The issue is that Doug Wilson believes slavery is okayed by the Bible and therefore God.
ps - I do believe Mr Wilson thinks women should not have the vote either...

Based on Wilson's blog post, it seems you, Mr. Bradley, have not done your due diligence. In fact, you've intentionally avoided getting the facts. That doesn't speak well of you. Hopefully you are willing to humble yourself enough to prefer clarity over being right.

P.S. Tere, yes, and Mr Wilson also thinks all baby chipmunks should be skinned alive. It must be true, since I "do believe" it.

I've followed Wilson's ministry from afar for several years now. I'm not part of the "tribe" and am not even a part of the reformed community.

However, I've consistently found that the outrage that is occasionally levied at Wilson comes either from the hard left, the religious left, or those who, for whatever reason, want to pander to them.

Having read Wilson's book on the south and slavery "Black and Tan." I can say with absolute confidence that the man is not a racist. Any claim to the contrary simply reveals a lack of familiarity with what the man has actually written.


Please accept Wilson's offer to speak with you for clarification on these issues. I see, from some comments on this thread, that there are suggestions to read the most slanderous and irresponsible anti-Christian sources against Douglas Wilson.
(Particularly the Gier nonsense)
Also, please explain what you mean by "tribalism" here. Are you saying that those who (let's admit erroneously for the sake of argument) hold to 'Paleo Confederate views' as defined by Wilson, et al are part of a sort of obscurantist cult?

Again, please investigate your sources as though it was YOU who were on the receiving end of blogs and publications like this one.
Wouldn't our Lord honor such an effort?

I spent the last few years thinking Mr. Wilson condoned slavery and was racist, simply because I took what other people said and wrote about him as the truth. Then I decided to be an adult about it and research for myself and - what do you know?! - he isn't a racist and he believes that slavery is wrong! For pity's sake, please do your own research and have a conversation like a gentleman since he offered to talk to you personally. If you don't, you're smearing someone's name and that is offensive to God.

Dr. Bradley and everyone,

For more info on Rose Huskey, Nick Gier, and the rest of the fans of my father-in-law here in Moscow, ID, you can look under the category "Moscow Diversity Cleansing" on his blog. He also details all of the local discussions in Black and Tan. I am well aware there are many disagreement to be had with Douglas Wilson and his historical view or theological views, but I ask you, as a fellow orthodox Christian, to read/disagree with his actual thoughts as opposed to slander and lies spread far and wide on the WWW.


Did you really just cite the Southern Poverty Law Center? Now I'm shocked.

"I realize that by raising questions about Wilson I am going to be vehemently attacked by his devotees."

I'm not impressed by this passage, since it seems to dismiss/disparage any disagreement with your thesis. It may be technically true, but c'mon, "devotees" implies means certain people's disagreements can be dismissed.

It doesn't seem very scholarly to ignore Doug's request/offer to talk and then inoculate your position against those who might have more facts/context to offer. Scholars are supposed to value primary sources, aren't they.

Compare this with Doug's response and his invitation to come to Moscow, be graciously received, and observe things first hand.

It's possible to be uncritically in the tank for Doug (or anyone else). It's also possible to be uncritically in the tank against Doug (or anyone else).

I'm very interested to see whether you will be willing to put off your part 2 until you can acknowledge rectify your errors in posting part 1.

"Wilson has transitioned from hosting Confederate Heritage events to serving as a brand spokesman for Reformed apologetics, Christian education, marriage and family, and the like, by many in the Young, Restless, and Reformed circles and young Calvinists."

Well, Wilson was always a spokesman for "Reformed apologetics, Christian education, marriage and family, and the like" all along, and this was how he was primarily known. Boice in Philly was citing his book published by Crossway on architecture

Fans of his saw S.S.a.i.W as an aberration, or probably don't know about it, and are glad that Black and Tan seems like a completely different book.

If your first intro to him was SSaiW, its understandable that why he is still seen as a valuable spokesman for the other topics is a mystery.

(he's also a pretty 'soft' theonomist and one of the least radical of the 'federal visionists' (his arguments with Jim Jordan seem to demonstrate.

You should take him up on his offer and go speak on White Privilege in Moscow. It would be enlightening to him, i think.

"I do believe Mr. Wilson thinks women should not have the vote either..."

Oh dear, I'm sorry, that one made me chuckle for a good minute.

But I do have a question/concern for Mr. Bradley that I think others have articulated as well, and it pertains in particular to your teaser about what's coming in part 2.

As someone who believes Pastor Wilson "isn't to be taken too seriously" and someone to whom you "stopped paying much attention", how do you feel qualified to write about his rise in the new-Calvinist world?

I attended Pastor Wilson's church for many years, listened to countless sermons, and still find great edification from his blog posts. Naturally you can understand why I and others who do not agree with your accusations against Pastor Wilson are curious where you're getting your information for the upcoming post.

Hoping you don't interpret what is a genuine question as a vehement attack.



How sad that Bradley would not speak to Wilson over the phone when invited. Does Bradley really seek the truth or does he just seek another talking point and white man to at whom he can shake his fist?


Jason, try reading this instead: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/07/18/the-real-doug-wilson-encouraged-presided-over-the-marriage-of-serial-pedophile/

Yup. One in the same. The Southern Poverty Law Center has this handy-dandy Hatewatch map:


On it we are informed that the Family Research Counsel has been identified as engaging in anti-gay hate. This is their tag-line: "Hatewatch - Keeping an Eye on The Radical Right".


I actually did read that stuff last week when Bradley started his feigned confusion. The next credible thing to come from The Wartburg Watch will be the first, but it can be an entertaining site for someone looking for church gossip.

Anthony, you say that Wilson gets the Gospel right, but I'm not so sure. He is a leading promoter of the Federal Vision heresy which is currently plaguing Reformed denominations everywhere.

Jason, that page includes the video of Doug Wilson presiding over the marriage of the pedophile Steven Sitler. Watch it.



You don't have to be an egalitarian to be appalled by Wilson's perverted sex teachings:


Mr. Kates:

Perhaps you might be kind enough to point out what you feel were the most salient factual errors in the Wartburg Watch piece on the Wilson-Sitler relationship.



Nicholas, you're providing a great example of tribalism, but I don't think it's the one Bradley wants. I mean, you're on the correct track in ignoring personal conversation with the man, but you need to stay more 1800s and race-focused.

Dr. Bradley,

This is just irresponsible slander; you should be ashamed of yourself.

How can you, in one breath, affirm Douglas as a "godly man who gets the gospel right and loves Jesus is all his heart, mind, soul and strength" and (perhaps more astonishgly) someone whose views on politics and economics you find yourself agreeing with AND THEN, in the next breath, imply that he's the leader of some tribal "cult" where lemming-like devotion is the norm.

Can you be serious?

Register some serious and thoughtful engagement with his written testimony (i.e. cite him with context) before you publish this venemous tripe.

Wilson is compelling to some of simply because he will not apologize for anything the Bible teaches. Disagree all you want on WHETHER the Bible teaches it, but he's not the one back-peddling away from God's Word in times of distress and the charge of "insensitivity."

I have no doubt in my mind that had one of Wilsons daughters fallen in love with a man whose skin was several shades darker than his own, he would've welcomed him into his home... provided he was the kind of man he raised his daughters to love.

To insinuate something to the contrary is wicked, indeed. To refuse to have a phone call with Douglas to clarify what your wicked sources have "documented" is just foolish and unloving as well.

Shame on you.

FYI, Wilson's "Southern Slavery" was co-authored with a less than credible author. The book was revised, and then re-released by Wilson only, titled "Black and Tan." Here's what Eugene Genovese had to say about it: "The Reverend Douglas Wilson may not be a professional historian, as his detractors say, but he has a strong grasp of the essentials of the history of slavery and its relation to Christian doctrine. Indeed, sad to say, his grasp is a great deal stronger than that of most professors of American history, whose distortions and trivializations disgrace our college classrooms. And the Reverend Mr. Wilson is a fighter, especially effective in defense of Christianity against those who try to turn Jesus' way of salvation into pseudo-moralistic drivel."

And I'm not a tribesman. I'm Lutheran.

I do wonder why, if a man who was convicted of pedophilia is later released, and he's apparently forbidden from ever marrying and having a family, we don't just execute him.

I mean, why bother releasing him if he can never have a normal life again. What was the point or meaning of releasing him?

I wasn't at the trial, so I wonder what it was about the particular molestations that warranted such a light sentence.

Wilson apparently thinks that Sitler can have a normal and even children. Why else would Wilson have performed Sitler's wedding?

I think Sitler got a light sentence due to a letter Wilson sent to the judge. But it is the judges's own fault for giving a light sentence to a pedophile.

@ Dave AA

You know, he just turned 80 last week, but I'm sure he could still kick Driscoll's ass clear to Montana.


Why would a person of your academic stature sink this low to cite sources this bad? I've been asking myself this question all day. And not speak with Wilson directly to clear the air? Or accept any of his invitations - even to fly you out to his hometown (on his dime)? Wow. We do indeed live in an entirely new age where we can slander and hide. My Grandfather's generation would turn over in their graves.

You have an agenda for sure, I'm just not sure what it is other than hateful and evil - though you probably can't see it. You see skin color. It has consumed you brother. I believe deep down you know what you're doing to Wilson (and accusing him of) is dead wrong. But you won't quit. You won't ask for forgiveness. You are just generally angry. And far too proud.

I believe now you will run. Angry people who refuse to apologize or ask forgiveness will be consumed - read the storybooks, they always are.

I will be praying for you Mr. Bradley.

Yeah, the judge also seems to have approved him getting married.


Please be careful. You have no idea what the contents of Dr. Bradley's heart is or is not. Words, actions, behaviors - external things - are all on the table. You cannot and should not speculate on his motives..that is not what honors Christ. And that should be all our goal.



Good Morning,

Doug Wilson frequently hoists himself on his own petard. And, instead of learning from the situations he places himself in he glories in misrepresenting his critics, pretends that he didn't say what he did in fact say, or just announces that those who disagree are to dumb to understand the nuance and subtlety of his words. In short, he is belligerent,defensive, and just plain nasty when vigorously questioned about his views on scripture, history, or culture.
I have known Doug many years and I am offended by this behavior. For example, his response to those of us who oppose his published positions on race/slavery in the antebellum South was to call us Intoleristas and write columns for his blog under the subheading "Diversity Cleansing." That is, we were intolerant of his opinions and were opposed to diverse opinions. He is unabashedly tickled at his own clever word play. (In many ways, Doug reminds me of a first grader who has discovered "Knock Know Whose There" jokes only not nearly as endearing.)

Doug steadfastly remains unacquainted with the notion that opinions are just opinions while fact can be proved (or, if in error) disproved. He has never specifically disavowed his statement in Southern Slavery As It Was which include: "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 [the Civil War] or since." (p. 38). "There has never been a multi-racial society that has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world."(p. 24). They [the authors Wilson and Wilkins"] repeatedly deride the consensus view of slavery that has emerged over the last fifty years of academic scholarship as "abolitionist propaganda" and "civil rights propaganda." http://hnn.us/articles/9142.html

Doug steadfastly refuses to apologize for errors or acknowledge that he may be mistaken in his understanding of a topic. For example, when pressed he replies in vague statements about disliking the concept of southern slavery and wishing that the Civil War had never occurred because slavery would have gone away eventually in any case.

I understand Heather Wilson's loyalty to her father-in-law and certainly do not intend in any way to initiate a quarrel with her. I know her to be a devout Christian, and a kind and thoughtful person.

Rose Huskey

tj: "Angry people who refuse to apologize or ask forgiveness[...]"

This seems the best summary of Pastor Wilson's reaction to detractors I have seen (and yes I realize it wasn't intended to describe Wilson). A man who can respond to controversy the way he responded to the Jared Wilson issue (http://www.dougwils.com/Sex-and-Culture/the-politics-of-outrage.html) harms the witness of Christ in this world with his speech.

Is your main concern that his views on slavery and southern culture alienate blacks, and that the young reformed crowd doesn't know or doesn't care?

Is it because you have been the victim of attacks that you believe his views encourage?

Is Wilson being racist part of your concerns? If you believe he is racist, can you state specifically why?

Being from the North, I haven't had much reason to get involved in studying Southern culture and those who can't let the Civil War go. I am pro states rights simply because I don't trust the federal government, but I am certainly not for using those rights to enslave people.

Dr. Bradley,

I have been following your Twitter Feed for sometime and have found many of your quotes, links, and articles helpful.

The last couple of weeks though, I have noticed a comment or two paving the way for an attack on someone.

The reason? All the talk about "tribal followings" and there great evil.

I would like to bring to your attention the fact that you were Tweeting to and blogging to "your tribe". We all have them and they are not all bad. Our tribes may be big or small, but let us not pretend that they do not exist.

If you didn't have a tribe you would be speaking to the air, blogging to the wind, and twittering to....

That does not mean that our tribes are filled with mindless robots, that will follow everything we say or do without question, nor should we want them to. To imply that is to disparage your own tribe, unless that is how you feel about those who sit in your class or follow your blog? Which I don't believe you do.

So...stop the self-righteous tone of "No Tribalism", because your tribe is getting all bent out of shape about someone being a racist, who is not! You are sinning against your brother!



P.S. Pick up the phone and call Doug Wilson!

For those willing to actually read buy Black & Tan: A Collection of Essays on Slavery, Culture War via @amazonkindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004M8SVYI/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_ask_DlN1E.05B6YXA �

here is the full Amazon link:

or you can find it free on Canon's web site:


Wilson has offered to talk personally to Mr. Bradley personally over the phone, e-mail correspondence, and there's this on his Blog.
"...let me conclude by issuing Dr. Bradley a cordial invitation to come out to Moscow in order to speak at an event we will organize for him. We will pay for travel, lodging, and an honorarium, and the topic will be of his choosing. We will be flexible as to the time in order to accomodate his schedule and ours. We can go out for a beer at Bucer's afterward."

This event could be fully filmed and documented for all to witness.
Mr Bradley could bring as many sources as he likes to PUBLICLY demonstrate Wilson's errors.
Again, if the Truth is that Wilson is in any way racist - or at least wrong - you can get it all on video for all to see.

Please accept the invitation to Moscow, Mr. Bradley!

If your concerns are valid, you could perform an invaluable service to the Reformed community and it's reputation.
If you are shown to be in error...ditto.

What have you got to lose?

Unfortunately, Dr. Bradley has done this kind of thing before--this isn't his first "you're a racist despite the clear facts" rodeo. In fact, it's reverse bigotry. How dare a white man not take his marching orders from the media, the NAACP, and Jesse Jackson! Wilson MUST be a racist--or at least racially insensitive and ignorant of the black man's plight! Of course, none of this is true. Even a cursory read of Black and Tan shows just how outrageous and slanderous the charges are.

Until the black and white community can learn to talk REAL talk about racial issues, we can just forget about ever coming to racial reconciliation and true Christian unity. Until folks like Dr. Bradley stop looking for the racist boogeyman under every bush--we will always have this kind of nonsense going on. Racism is real (on both sides) and is a result of the human condition of indwelling sin. Especially amongst Christians, we need to always give one another the benefit of the doubt (unless the FACTS are proven otherwise). Dr. Bradley takes the word of a radical left-wing source and then flings charges on Wilson...without even reading the original sources! Did Bradley even take time to read Black and Tan? Who cares right? Facts aren't important in this kind of game. Did he take up his case personally with Wilson? Even when invited to do so?! Not even a consideration. Wilson is white and whitey can't be trusted!

Lord help us all!

Dear Mr Bradley,

The ball is your court, I think you should play it. Invite him to your place so at least you can have home field advantage.

For the Crown,

Dr. Bradley, don't be swayed by Wilson's drones who have flooded the site today. Keep up the good work!


Don't be swayed to what? To actually read Wilson's books? To have a conversation with Wilson, rather than rely on gossip and slander? To interact with the ideas a person has rather than engage in ad hominen? Gosh! Heaven forbid he'd do that!

Drones? Gimme a break.


Toby Wilson, please don't distract Nicholas while he's grinding his ax. He might cut himself.

Robbie Schmidtberger "(I heard somewhere, but am not able to verify this, that Peter Hitchens married one of Wilson's daughters?????? Perhaps I need to read Pete's memoir to find that out.)"

Yes! that would be a good idea, we will add that to our collection of fabulously false rumors.


I appreciate that Dr Bradley has given a link to the Wilson & Wilkins booklet, "Southern Slavery;" I've also downloaded the book "Black & Tan."
But after reading the booklet Southern Slavery I was appaled at its paternalistic racism.(not overt but def a form of racism)
Frankly its an appalling peice of writing & I'm shocked that a pastor that supposedly cares about the gospel would be involved with a work that would set back race relations & hinder the gospel.
Mr Bradley you are right not to continue communication until he disavows the content of Southern Slavery(not just the plagerism but the content)


Your insinuations and conjectures are beneath you, dear brother. By a long shot.

You're so poorly informed (Peter Hitchens a son-in-law?) and clearly just throwing paint on the wall hoping something sticks.

You should write Pastor Wilson and ask him to forgive you. Seriously. Re-read the Divines' exposition of the duties enjoined in the 9th commandment and ask how the tripe you've offered up here does it justice.

What if I (or anyone) would've done something like this to your father, a pastor of Christ's church?

Mr. Beatty

B Avant,

I noticed you didn't quote anything from Wilson's book or even come close to actually engaging any of his statements, arguments, etc. You leveled a pretty severe charge against him with no documentation of what your specific concerns are. Can you actually lay out your concerns? Not what you "think" Wilson might be saying but something that he actually said? Have you in any way engaged him in these points--asking for clarification, etc.? This is how reasonable discussion happens. And this is exactly the kind of thing that Dr. Bradley hasn't done in his post here. In fact, his next post won't touch any of Wilson's arguments but we deal with so-called reformed "tribalism" and all the mean people that think Dr. Bradley is out to lunch. I would be shocked if Dr. Bradley actually engages any of Wilson's arguments. Until Dr. Bradley (and others) are willing to set aside their traditions, emotions, and actually engage arguments, then this will go nowhere really fast. Unfortunately, this is how we've been conditioned to react in our culture today.

I think that we can distinguish racism and racial animus from racial insensitivity. I believe that Pastor Wilson is incredibly insensitive in many of his writings, and his work on slavery is a good example. One should always retain some sense of what you will be heard to say. I actually blogged on this yesterday in connection with the recent brouhaha:

Part of the problem in the reception of such statements is that Pastor Wilson has a track record of causing such offence, of tackling extremely sensitive issues with seemingly little sensitivity. I strongly believe that the true character of Southern slavery is a worthy subject for critical and close historical study, and that such study should be driven by the demands of truth and accuracy over the demands of either party or sensitivity. I take issue with Pastor Wilson�s historical reading of the institution of slavery in the South. However, I don�t believe that such unpopular and revisionist readings are automatically to be dismissed as driven by racist animus, although they will naturally (and I believe quite appropriately) raise troubling questions on this front. What does deeply trouble me is that a public figure and white minister of the gospel, working in a theological context troubled with a racist legacy, should tackle such a sensitive issue with such academic and rhetorical recklessness, and in a publicizing format, with a seeming disregard, indifference, or insensitivity to the effect that such a work would have. This strikes me as grossly racially insensitive and I really struggle to see how this advances the cause of Christ.

Pastor Wilson�s motives in writing such a shoddy, dangerous, and racially insensitive book are not entirely clear to me, but I find it considerably less likely that they have to do with racial hatred than that they arise from a temperamental intolerance for unchallenged consensus positions driven too powerfully by concerns of sensitivity and political correctness, a contrarian desire to advocate strongly for an alternative perspective in an area where critical assessment can feel stifled by fear of causing offence, and a wish to mitigate some measure of the opprobrium that has been heaped upon the South, by presenting another side of the picture. Such contrarian impulses can be very healthy in the context of stifling and stagnating discourses, but they are incredibly dangerous if used recklessly and without sufficient sensitivity, as clearly seems to be the case in this instance.

I think that the tribalistic character is definitely present around Pastor Wilson, although I am not sure that he intentionally tries to encourage it. Rather it is part and parcel of the rhetorical approach employed (it is hard to back down, moderate tone, and take correction when your antithesis is so sharply drawn and your rhetoric so strong), his natural charisma, and the fact that he and his followers are constantly under attack, often with wildly unsupported accusations. His followers tend to close ranks.

I think that Pastor Wilson has great gifts to give to the church. However, I wish that he would speak more carefully on such matters, or not speak at all. A seriously unbalanced and one-sided, factually questionable, and racially insensitive book written by a white minister of the gospel does no one any favours and creates tensions just where we could least do with them.

I believe that Pastor Wilson is a man of good intentions. The best outcome that I could see here is if you were to interact with him on such a presumption, in a way that challenged his historical account, presenting a truer picture, sensitizing him to the very real problems of someone in his position speaking in such a manner into the present context, explaining to him what racism and racist history looks like from the perspective of those subjected to it, and tackling the racist legacy of Reformed churches in a way that cuts through the hagiographies.

Mr. Bradley, Black & Tan is now available in PDF form for free on Doug Wilson's blog, dougwils.com. Please go and read it before commenting on the veiws contained therein.

Alastair Roberts,

Thanks for that post. That was a breath of fresh air, and very perceptive, as well. My only quibble is with your last paragraph: interacting personally with Rev. Wilson is only worthwhile if he has given some indication of being teachable--something that I have never seen him manifest. I don't waste my time with people who aren't teachable and I would recommend that Anthony not waste his time, either.

I don't follow the logic of how one of the most learned and intellectual minds of our time could be considered unteachable. People who function at the high level that Wilson functions at do not get that way by being unteachable.

Further, I have heard him say (even on recorded lectures that I have listened to) that he has changed his position on certain topics. Which is not to say that he has to on this topic - he has stated and restated over and over and over again that he is not a racist and he has demonstrated that in his actions and in his writing. Insensitive and blunt? Perhaps. But the bottom line is that what he says is Biblical. The problem is that we are more concerned with our precious personal feelings than than examining Wilson's words in the light of scripture or advancing our own minds intellectually enough to understand what he is actually saying.

Shoddy? Reckless? Dangerous? Please! I think that the style of writing that Douglas, his son Nate (N.D.) and his two daughters use is one that is worthy of study and imitation. It is complex but not shoddy, reckless, and dangerous. If you are going to read something of theirs, then it is your responsibility to understand what they are saying, not theirs to simplify it for the sake of sweetness and PCness.

Wilson is not teachable? The man has evolved from being a Arminian to Calvinist, from Baptist to Paedo, from Pre-Trib to Post-Trib, etc.
He has also retracted many things from "Southern Slavery as it was" upon reexamination of some of the sources.

James 4:11, Titus 3:2, Matt 7:12, John 7:24, Matt 18:15-17


Not talking to someone because you don't think they are teachable may say more about you than them. It may mean that you are prideful and think you know more than them. It could mean you look down on them. It also likely means that you seek to learn nothing from them.

In this case, if Dr. Bradley's goal was teaching Doug Wilson something, then his approach would have surely been different. But to take the first swing and then yell "he hit me!" is child's play. It's not how respectable Christian men should act.

The irony in this is rather painful.


Dear Mr. Bradley,

I sincerely hope you'll accept Mr. Wilson's invitation to speak to the tribe in Moscow on the topic of your choosing, and that it will result in a better understanding between the two of you. (If you do, I'll do my level best to be in attendence.)

Christian brothers who share so many of the same fundamental convictions convictions ought not be at odds with one another.

Frank in Spokane

Dr. Bradley, I do believe that Matthew 18 has some useful thoughts on this kind of matter.

Wow, Dr. Bradley, just wow.

Hypocrisy so thick you could it with a knife and serve it with tea.



It feels like I just walked into a bar brawl I have been away from the blogoshere for a while, so all of this seems other-worldly.

Anyway, I don't think Dr. Bradley can just walk away from this one, white privilege or not. Time to man-up.

Whatever their value, the five books Dr. Bradley lists above are secondary sources published within the last ten years. For a first-hand account of life in the antebellum South, see A South-Side View of Slavery, by�Boston congregationalist minister, Nehemiah Adams, available here:�


Adams responded to his critics with The Sable Cloud, available here:


Doug Wilson has provided counter-points to your claims here. If he is the character you portray him to be - engage him directly. He indicates that he made himself available to you via the phone and would confront any who have exhibited racist attitudes towards you directly.

You might portray this offer as insincere, but if you do fail to take him up on it - your credibility has more to lose than his.

And there it is. Tribalism about tribalism.

You said, "His soapboxes had to do with the family, complementarianism, gender roles, masculinity, and so much more"

This is one reason of a few why I no longer feel comfortable in churches.

If you are a never-married woman past the age of 40 with no children, many churches have no place for you.

Everything in most churches and denominations revolves around marriage, parenting, and "family." I know where I'm not wanted, so I pretty much stopped going to church.

I'm also thinking about departing from the faith altogether (for other reasons in addition to those).

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Anthony Bradley published on July 22, 2012 2:58 PM.

I believe Morton Smith: says PCA founded on theological commitments and to continue the ethos of the Old South was the previous entry in this blog.

Warnings about Paleo-Confederate Doug Wilson and Black and Tan is the next entry in this blog.


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