Agreeing and Disagreeing with Douglas Wilson on the Great Commission

by Jared Moore on February 5, 2013 · 62 comments

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

Bio from Amazon:

Douglas Wilson is the minister of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, which is a member of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC). After his stint in the submarine service of the U.S. Navy, he attended the University of Idaho, where he obtained an MA in philosophy.

As one of its founders, he has served on the board of Logos School, a classical and Christian school (K-12), since its inception. He is also a Senior Fellow of theology at New St. Andrews College. He is the author of numerous books, including Reforming Marriage, The Case for Classical Christian Education, Letter from a Christian Citizen, and Blackthorn Winter. He is also the general editor for the Omnibus textbook series. His blog can be found at www.dougwils.com.

Wilson has one of the sharpest minds in evangelicalism today and one of the sharpest wits as well. In the video provided below, Wilson answers this question, “Does the Great Commission Apply to Every Christian?” The video is over 11:00 long and is worthy of your time.

 

Points of Agreement

1) Wilson believes every Christian should be able to give a response to those who ask about the hope that is within them (01:09; 1 Pet. 3:15). I strongly agree as well. As Christians, we are commanded to learn all that Christ taught the Apostles while on Earth (Matt. 28:20). Christ’s teachings are fleshed out in The Prophets, Himself, and the Apostles. The Great Commission is still being completed in all of us as we learn and apply Scripture.

2) Wilson argues that the whole point of the church is the fulfillment of the Great Commission (01:44; Matt. 28:18-20). He’s right. The Great Commission was given by Christ before He ascended to Heaven, and the rest of the New Testament reveals how the early church fulfilled this Great Commission, and how the church can fulfill this Commission throughout the ages.

3) Wilson argues there is a corporate reality in the fulfillment of the Great Commission (02:00; 1 Cor. 3:7-8; 12:1-31). Whether we plant or water, the entire local body of believers is involved in the salvation of souls. For example, several children at our church have confessed Christ recently. I often pick up the children in the church van, bring them to church, and their discipleship teachers teach them the Word of God. I also preach to these children in corporate worship, and when these children are ready to publicly confess Christ, I’m often the one who prays with them and baptizes them. Nevertheless, all those in the local body who make this discipleship possible are involved in the salvation of these souls. In other words, the harvester is not the only one who is involved in fulfilling The Great Commission. All Christians who have come before and who currently use their gifts in New Salem Baptist Church are involved in fulfilling the Great Commission here. “He who plants and he who waters are one” (1 Cor. 3:8).

4) Wilson argues it’s an evangelistic atrocity that we never hear the phrase, “As honest as an evangelical” (06:35). Wilson is right, evangelicals are not so other-worldly as citizens of the New Jerusalem that those who are mere citizens of this evil world want to be citizens of the New Jerusalem. Citizens of the New Jerusalem should do all things to the glory of God, which should set us apart from the world who has other motivations for their daily lives. Christians should be the best citizens, soldiers, mechanics, teachers, etc. since we know the Author of all Truth (Christ), in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:2-3).

5) Wilson argues Christians should utilize their gifts on behalf of others (10:44). Although I don’t agree that evangelism is a spiritual gift, I agree with Wilson’s point here concerning the use of spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are given to Christians for the purpose of building up the local church (1 Cor. 12:7). Whether we have a teaching gift or a serving gift or a combination of the two, we must use our gifts to build up the church. This means we also will be built up by other Christians. We must use our gifts on behalf of other Christians who do not have our gifts, and other Christians must do the same for us.

 

Points of Disagreement

1) Wilson argues not every Christian is called by God to personally evangelize on a daily basis. He thinks this mentality runs rough shot over people’s giftings, callings, abilities, and so forth (00:43). I agree that Christians are not required to evangelize daily, but I think we are required to evangelize. If, as Wilson argues, Christians are required to be ready to give a reason to those who ask about the hope within them, then wouldn’t they also be required to share the gospel without being asked as well? What I mean is that if a Christian must be ready to respond to unbelievers, then this requirement has nothing to do with “spiritual gifts” that some Christians possess and others do not (as Wilson argues). The fact that Christians are required to give a response to unbelievers who ask reveals the reality that all Christians are equipped by the Holy Spirit to evangelize. If a Christian is capable of providing an answer to an unbeliever if asked, then he or she is also capable of sharing the gospel without being asked, regardless of his or her giftings, callings, abilities, and so forth.

2) Wilson argues that the point of the church is the fulfillment of the Great Commission, but we’re not all responsible to fulfill the Great Commission as individuals (00:43). He believes there is only a corporate responsibility to fulfill The Great Commission. I disagree for many reasons:

a) We’re to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-39). God is worthy to be worshiped, and Christians should be bothered that there are other human beings who refuse to give God glory. This holy jealousy for God to be glorified should produce an active desire in Christians to share the gospel with other self-glorifying humans (sinners) so that they too may repent and believe in Christ to the glory of God. Furthermore, every Christian that has repented and trusted in Christ has done so because someone else shared the gospel with them. If I believe all humans are created in God’s image, and I love my neighbors, I will care where they spend eternity. This love for my neighbors is active, not passive. Just as we should not passively wait for our neighbors to ask us for food, clothes, etc., we also should not passively wait for them to ask us about Jesus. We must actively pursue them regardless of our gifting, for the Holy Spirit has regenerated us for this purpose. As an aside, I wonder how many sinners have been redeemed due to Christians pointing them to Christ even though these Christians were not asked about the hope within them and did not “possess the gifts, callings, and abilities of an evangelist,” but were jealous enough for God’s glory and loved their neighbors enough to actively seek their souls with the gospel? 

b) Evangelism is not a spiritual gift. Although, I agree that pastors/elders are primarily preachers of the gospel (evangelists), this truth does not mean that they have some sort of evangelistic giftedness that other Christians do not possess, at least on a foundational level (Granted, pastors may be more gifted in this area). After all, if someone knows the gospel, they can tell someone else the gospel, the same way they can communicate anything else.

c) Christ’s commands are irrespective of the personalities He created. Sharing the gospel will come easier for some than others, but this reality does not mean those who find evangelism difficult are excused from obedience. In similar manner, just as some Christians will find understanding Scripture easier than others, this reality does not excuse those with less God-given ability in this area from actively pursuing understanding all Christ has commanded (The third part of fulfilling The Great Commission; Matt. 28:20).

d) Paul commends churches for their evangelistic efforts: The Thessalonians (1 Thess. 1:4-10) and the Romans (Rom. 1:8). These two letters were written to two local church bodies of believers (1 Thess. 1:1; 1 Rom. 1:7). As far as we know, these churches as individuals took the gospel to their communities, which indicates that evangelism wasn’t reserved for a select few of “gifted” individuals in these local churches.

e) All Christians possess the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19). Since Christ has reconciled us to God, we too should seek to share Christ with others so that they too may be reconciled to God. In 2 Corinthians 5:17-19, Paul seems to group all Christians together as ministers of this reconciliation. Thus, this passage should be viewed fundamentally as a repeat of The Great Commission. Sinners are reconciled to God as Christians fulfill The Great Commission by taking the gospel to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them all that Christ has commanded (Matt. 28:18-20).

What do you think?

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

1 theoldadam February 5, 2013 at 8:58 pm

None of us are really up to it.

We are all mixed bags. Sometimes we are obedient to Christ and His Great Commission. And sometimes we fail miserably. And then there is the question of gifts. We are all equipped differently.

The bottom line is that we ought do what we can, when we can, knowing that we will blow it, no matter what area of ministry we engage in.

But the great thing is, that He uses our lackluster efforts for His purposes and forgives us, all at the same time.

Methinks…anywho.

2 David Rogers February 5, 2013 at 9:28 pm

1. I think every believer, in every encounter with other people, should strive to move them–whether unbelievers or unbelievers–on step further on the Engel Scale. We will each to this somewhat differently, depending on our spiritual SHAPE.

2. I haven’t listened to the clip yet, but from your summary, it sounds like Wilson is making a lot of the same points I made here:

http://sbcimpact.org/2007/10/21/world-evangelism-is-a-team-sport/

3 David Rogers February 5, 2013 at 9:28 pm

*should read “one step further”

4 David Rogers February 5, 2013 at 9:30 pm

*and “we will each do this”

5 David Rogers February 5, 2013 at 9:34 pm
6 David Rogers February 5, 2013 at 9:37 pm
7 David Rogers February 6, 2013 at 5:40 pm

FWIW, I’m not giving any sort of endorsement for Wilson either.

8 Jon February 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Doug Wilson holds many views that diverge from the baptistic tradition, among which are his views on evangelism. I have to say that while he has a very good mind and a definate appreciation for the history of thought and church history, he certainly has some views which are not representative of mainstream evangelicalism either.

9 Stephen Beck February 5, 2013 at 9:44 pm

I agree mostly. Just to clarify a little your point 2b, I would point out that while I don’t think evangelism is listed in any of the main gift lists in the NT, nevertheless evangelist is one of the offices given to the church in Ephesians 4 among apostles, prophets, and pastors (I didn’t watch the video, don’t know if DW talked about this). Moreover, in 2 Tim 4:5, while Paul is describing the duties Timothy should have as a pastor, Paul charges Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. You could disagree about the context of 2 Tim 4.

10 Bob Cleveland February 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm

If the command to “make disciples” applies to me, individually (as opposed to the church .. the ekklesia), then so does the command to baptize. It’d apply to everybody, as a command overriding the local body’s rules limiting who must do that.

Come to think of it, everybody would have to, individually, go into all the world, too. I don’t know anybody, including the Apostles, who did that…

11 mike white February 6, 2013 at 9:55 am

The apostles went corporately into all the world. No one has done it as an individual.

12 mike white February 6, 2013 at 10:11 am

If you dont see any Christian one day, have you failed in fulfilling the Great Commission?

13 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 11:06 am

Mike, what do you mean?

14 mike white February 6, 2013 at 11:52 am

The Great Commission isnt just about witnessing to the lost.

15 Frank L. February 6, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Mike, you are absolutely right. The great commission is strictly about “making disciples,” the only imperative in that passage.

However, one can’t make a disciple until one first starts with a convert.

So, while you are correct, you are also incorrect.

16 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 11:05 am

I’ve deleted some comments. Please interact with what Wilson has said here instead of “poisoning the well.” Consider Wilson’s arguments here based on their own merit. This article is not about Wilson’s other beliefs. Let’s stay on topic.

17 BDW February 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Thanks but no thanks, Jared. Your entire post assumes that Douglas Wilson is worth agreeing or disagreeing with. Clearly at least a few people here think, he is not.

As someone who tries to be more academic in style and engage in academic discussions (key emphasis on tries in this instance), your approach here is revealing. I guess fortunately for you the comment stream of a blog post is actually very different from the seminar room. In the seminar room, you don’t have the option to do as you’ve done here and shut down a line of discussion that was actually very related and relevant to the subject matter. I hope you see the irony.

I don’t know about Louis or anyone else but I will remember in the future not to waste my time commenting on posts that you have authored.

18 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Aaron, in a seminar, you have to actually provide evidence for accusations as well. No one provided any evidence for their accusations against Wilson, only sweeping statements. Also, in a seminar, a professor won’t allow one to dismiss a theologian’s arguments based on a “poisoning the well” logical fallacy.

I would show you the same courtesy I’m showing Wilson if I wrote an article agreeing with you on racial issues, yet someone wanted to dismiss you due to your view of Scripture. All arguments should be considered based on their own merit.

19 BDW February 6, 2013 at 1:10 pm

So my comment was deleted merely because I didn’t provide footnotes, professor?

Here’s the article that I referenced in my original comment that you deleted.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/april/24.42.html?paging=off

I assumed people here were capable of Googling the article if so interested. I think they are capable. Perhaps you are not. After reading Dr. Worthen in Christianity Today, folks are also free to do a quick search on Steve Wilkins for more background. I think that just about substantiates everything.

In my courses, I’ve always allowed students to discuss freely as long as the discussion is respectful, etc. I, as the professor, don’t cry fallacy.

As to racial issues, my guess is we probably don’t agree on that either given your quick penchant to defend Mr. Wilson. And I agree that arguments should be considered based on their merit. But it also matters who is making the argument and what that person is so completely outside the mainstream, we ought to take that into consideration because certainly harmful fringe views speak to a person’s character, judgment, etc.

Given the history of Baptists, history of Christianity in America and the larger history of our nation, race issues are rightly set apart in the mind of most people. Christians ought not to be complicit in the mainstreaming of someone like paleo-confederate Wilson whose controversial “book” with white nationalist Wilkins provides “cover” to dangerous ideologies and evil individuals and groups in society. That’s all I was trying to convey, sir.

20 cb scott February 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm

And again; Yep.

21 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm

BDW, I didn’t defend Wilson and have no interest in doing so. I’m saying that whether or not your accusations are true has nothing to do with the merits of Wilson’s arguments in the above video concerning The Great Commission.

I’ll let this comment stand, but all other comments must get back to the original issue: The Great Commission. This article is not about Wilson’s views on slavery, marriage, etc., but Wilson’s views on The Great Commission.

22 BDW February 6, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Jared Moore: “Wilson has one of the sharpest minds in evangelicalism today”

OK, I’ll LET you think what you think then….

23 Jon February 6, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Well that’s the whole thing Jared, no one can talk Wilson without these other issues being raised. Everyone knows his positions on, well, err, those other things, you know. I’ve known it for a couple of years now since I first heard of him.

24 Jon February 6, 2013 at 10:07 pm

His connection with reconstructionism in the Rushdooney tradition and his tract, along with his sentiments relating to the old South are enough to make me very nervous.

25 cb scott February 6, 2013 at 3:43 pm

. . . and Yep again

26 mike white February 6, 2013 at 11:59 am

When we go to work and earn money so that we can send others, we are doing a part of that multi faceted Great Commission. Many days my witness can only be what others see and thete is no place or time for the spoken word. Dont let modern day pharisees dictate rules on how we each should live out Christ in our lives. Be in prayer and the Word and give place for the Spirit.

27 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Sure, there is a corporate reality to fulfilling the Great Commission, but if all Christians love God and their neighbors, they’ll care if God is worshiped by them and care if their neighbors are headed to endure God’s eternal wrath in Hell. If all Christians are to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us, then sharing the gospel does not take an extra spiritual gift that some Christians have and others don’t. I do realize though that there are times when we’ll be able to share the gospel and others times when we won’t. The point is that we should always seek to love God and our neighbors, and continual silence about the gospel is not an option. We should all evangelize (maybe not every day, week, month, year, etc.), but we should all love God and our neighbors.

28 Frank L. February 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Interesting fight over whose the most intellectual. Not so much of a fight on who is most controversial.

Wilson a great friend to have in Idaho in winter. He always generates some heat. He’s not that driven to impress “seminar attendees.” He seems driven to change the world.

I can respect him for that and still disagree at points.

From another submariner that teaches classics

29 Louis February 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I posted a comment from our home computer this morning, and now see that it is gone.

I am not upset about that really.

I will continue to engage with Jared and his posts. I like Jared and believe him to be a good person.

I, like BDW, did not have the time to footnote my comment. I will not repeat what I said in that comment, and really don’t need to.

I would encourage anyone reading here to go to the Christianity Today article to which BDW linked.

I would also encourage people to simply do their own research on regarding Mr. Wilson and see what they can find.

Here is a portion of a Wikipedia article on Wilson and slavery/racial issues:

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.[9]

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’.[9] 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.[10]

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.” [11]

Canon Press ceased publication of Southern Slavery, As It Was when it became aware of serious citation errors in several passages authored by Wilkins.[12] Robert McKenzie, the history professor who first noticed the citation problems, described the authors as being “sloppy” rather than “malevolent.”[13] 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.[14]

I do not know if this comment will survive moderation. I hope that it will.

My point is that despite the fact that Wilson is clearly intellecutally curious, his published views on race in this country place him in unusual circles.

And those circles are not the circles the SBC needs to be in.

Louis

30 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Louis, this article is about Wilson’s views on The Great Commission. Please only interact with his views on The Great Commission.

31 Louis February 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Jared:

See my comment above.

I would submit that having a “sharp mind” is not the only test for being the subject of a blog post.

Wilson is clearly prolific and is willing and able to discuss many issues.

His discussions on racial issues, however, clearly place him outside the mainstream of Christian thought – into a collection of persons who are odd.

It is my believe that the SBC genuinely seeks to build bridges and repair old wounds with African American Christians.

Citing Doug Wilson does great damage to that.

32 cb scott February 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Yep

33 Chief Katie February 6, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Jared,

Sometimes I don’t understand your motives for such posts. I hold you in very high regard, so I trust that you are doing so to clarify the teaching of the great commission.

The subject is one that concerns us all, but to turn it into a discussion of such tiny points of disagreement doesn’t seem to be a productive use of our time.

First we aren’t of a reformed denomination. Most of us are Southern Baptists and like it that way.

Second, for me personally, the best way to fullfill my part of the great commission is to let my everyday life shine as I live it for the Lord. I’m ready to give an answer, but don’t feel any need to forcefully give it when it is not asked for.

Wilson beautifully related the way God has designed us. Each with our special gifts and talents.

But the biggest thing I took away from the video was the brief nod to the Hugenots. “As honest as an Evangelical” made me cringe. We are often belittled and maligned because we have brought such labels upon ourselves. We should probably invest our efforts into cleaning up our own acts. Until we do that, we are seen by a good many people as hyporcrites.

I don’t have to leave my home or school everyday to evangelize. My life should shine so that others will want to know what makes my life different from theirs. I use my teaching talents and musical talents for the glory of the Lord and that is as it should be.

Wilson goes into places where most of us would flee and that includes the classrooms of our universities where God is something to be trampled upon and removed from public discourse.

I’m finding that more and more, I’m drawn to reformed believers. Doug Wilson is but one example of why.

34 Frank L. February 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Chief,

Wilson’s boldness and willingness to tackle the Goliath of government forced schooling makes him a hero of mine.

Even though our school (2 years old through High School) is technology rich, our foundations are very classical — including classical studies that I teach beginning in the third grade. Brother Wilson’s books and leadership in that area have been immensely helpful.

35 Chief Katie February 6, 2013 at 6:58 pm

My school is also classically arranged and we are invested in the model fully. We do use technology, but have tried to find the balance and I admit, that at times, it’s difficult.

This year we are K-6. We started as K-3 and have grown with our students. We also assist homeschoolers without any charge.

The great schools of our nation that were grounded in the faith are all pretty much apostate now, but I do so pray for a time when our schools are recongized as places of academic and spiritual excellence. Prayers for you and yours.

36 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Chief, sounds like you’re following the Lord in obedience. My only concern is if you’re taking the name of Jesus with you as you go about your daily life. Sinners may never ask us about why we live for God’s glory. I don’t think we should try to forcefully tell them, but I do think we should purposely labor to tell them. I don’t think we can wait for them to ask. I, however, cannot tell you what personal evangelism looks like in your life, but I believe I can say, you shouldn’t only share the gospel when someone asks, but you should seek to share the gospel even when people don’t ask. That’s the main difference between Wilson’s view and my view. I believe each Christians has a responsibility to love God and their neighbors by taking the name of Jesus with them as they live in this world.

37 Louis February 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Our critical faculties are at their lowest with regard to someone who otherwise affirms what we hold dear.

Mr. Wilson may say some interesting and wonderful things about the Great Commission, but it is hard for me to engage with those in light of the fact that the things he says about race are not wonderful.

And the SBC’s problematic history is with race.

We in the SBC should not discuss the Great Commission around the thoughts of a contemporary person who has made unacceptable racial statements.

Jared, I appreciate your leaving these comments up.

I have to run to a meeting.

38 Dave Miller February 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm

“Our critical faculties are at their lowest with regard to someone who otherwise affirms what we hold dear.”

Wow. Wise!

39 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Louis, any further comments that have nothing to do with the content of this article will be deleted. This article is not about Wilson’s other views on slavery, marriage, etc. Interact with what’s in the article please.

40 cb scott February 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Jared Moore,

1). The views Doug Wilson holds on race reveals without question that his position on the GC cannot be holistic to the entirity of the human race.

2). Also, who has actually credited him as one of the sharpest minds in the evangelical world?

3). For you to threaten guys who contribute comments to this blog that generate thinking in the minds of the readers such as are Louis and Big Daddy with censure simply because they have spanked your ego is beneath adult behavior.

41 Frank L. February 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm

CB, could you provide a quote, text, etc. from Wilson that says he does not include all races in the human race.

You can spank my ego, too, I suppose because I have gained a great deal of help in dealing with government forced education–an evil force many times greater than Wilson without a doubt.

As far as his squabble with others, I think part of it is just flashing PhD badges back and forth.

Wilson, by far is one of the seminal thinkers in the conservative world. By that I mean, he does not fall in line behind what others consider EP — evangelically correct.

I haven’t read everything he has written so your accusation could be accurate. I’d just like to read it for myself.

42 cb scott February 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Frank L.,

Read his position in his writings about race. BTW, I did not and you know I did not state that Wilson “does not include all races in the human race.” Those are your words and not mine.

I did state, ” the views Doug Wilson holds on race reveals without question that his position on the GC cannot be holistic to the entirity of the human race.”

There is a difference in what you have accused me of and what I actually stated.

As far as Wilson helping you with “government forced education,” so could William Bennett.

Frank L., there have surely been men in your history, just as in mine, who helped us with various matters and enhanced our lives who were wrong about other specific life matters.

43 cb scott February 6, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Frank L.,

Are you by any chance comfortable with the teachings and writings of R. J. Rushdoony?

44 Frank L. February 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm

CB — I’ve never read a passage in any of his books that stated he felt the Great Commission did not extend to all races — your words.

I’m not saying I know he doesn’t believe that. I’m saying I’d like to read it for myself. You did not answer the question but quibble about the wording.

I’m thinking that he does, in fact, believe the Great Commission applies to the “entirety of the human race.”

William Bennett is part of government forced education (K-12 Curriculum) so I don’t see how he can help. He’s light years behind Wilson in regard to what true, valued-centered, Christian based education is all about. Bennett’s a band-aid approach.

Again, I thought I was more than clear that I know the difference between fish and bones.

45 cb scott February 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Frank L.,

Suit yourself. You did misquote me. That’s fine. Take the time to read Wilson on race. Take the time to read Wilson on several other social issues.

And again, I will ask you; “Are you comfortable with the teachings and writings of R. J. Rushdoony?” If you are, that will answer a lot of our questions and reveal why we differ on Doug Wilson.

46 Jess Alford February 6, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Jared,

Douglas Wilson definitely has a Calvinistic view on the Great Commission.
I do believe there is a spiritual gift that God gives a Christian that would make him an evangelist. We all have that gift in part,but an evangelist
has the spiritual gift in full.

Jared, in your wording it’s almost as if you are pushing folks to call the
lost to decision. We cannot do that, unless God does the calling it’s
useless. There has to be a heart felt conviction of the Holy Spirit.

47 Stephen February 7, 2013 at 12:27 am

What is a ‘Calvinistic’ view of evangelism?

48 Jess Alford February 6, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Frank L.

Does the cane hold up two legs, or two legs hold up the cane?
Think about it. (grumpy).

49 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Everyone, please get back to the original topic: Douglas Wilson on the Great Commission. Otherwise, I’ll just shut comments down altogether.

50 Frank L. February 6, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Jared,

I think a major problem I have is pointed out in points 1 and 2 of your “Disagreements.”

I don’t think that the issue can be so bifurcated. Whatever is the “mission of the corporate body is also the mission of each part.” To use that metaphor: where ever my legs go, my head goes also — or there is a major problem.

But, I also believe that one of the strongest evangelistic appeals that can be made is a “corporate appeal”: the church members living in a peaceful, missional, loving relationship before the world. That’s a powerful witness to be sure, but it takes each part doing her part.

Was it Pliny who wrote: “My, how they love one another.” I do agree with Wilson that there is a “corporate” aspect to evangelism that is often under appreciated, but it is not separate and distinct from individual efforts.

51 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Frank, you and I sound pretty close in our view of fulfilling The Great Commission.

52 Frank L. February 6, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Jared, I think we have much in common but I just recent that you are younger and smarter than I am.

53 Frank L. February 6, 2013 at 10:12 pm

“Hitler . . . Hussein . . . Same with Wilson.”

Herein lies the reason that matters of great importance cannot be discussed in a civil, worthwhile manner.

How come you did not include Obama? He’s killed more people than Wilson. In fact, I don’t know of anybody Wilson has killed. I DO know of something Wilson has stated clearly:

“”"The necessity of condemning racism is clearly revealed in Scripture, an acknowledged authority by many Southerners. (Kindle Location, Black and Tan, 247). Kindle Edition. “”"

Any time the race card is played, logical fallacies breed like rabbits. Most of what I’ve read here is simply ad hominem arguments, both ad hominem abusive and ad hominem circumstantial. This is often the case in regard to such an emotional issue, but not particularly helpful.

Argumentum ad baculum arguments are not particularly helpful either. An appeal to emotion, particularly an appeal to fear, as if reading what Wilson writes will lead to a global holocaust.

I know a great deal about Wilson’s position on education and I have gained much insight from it to help families build strong, god-loving children. I’m not an expert on his views on “racism.” Though, people confuse, it seems to me, his views the historical practice of slavery in the south with a general view about race in general.

The quote above suggests to me that Wilson’s discussion of slavery in the south do not necessarily lead to the accusations that he is a racist.

I could be wrong, because I am not an expert in that field. That’s why perhaps a discussion of the issue would be helpful, absent the accusations.

Though, I think Jared has the right, to lead the discussion in whatever way he sees fit. He does hold the giant eraser.

54 Bob February 8, 2013 at 11:47 am

Hopefully I’m staying on topic here, but if not I apologize. This article brings up a topic that’s been on my mind for quite some time, and it’s that we seem to have two very different camps when it comes to the nature of the Great Commission (GC). I am currently a member of The Church at Brook Hills where our senior pastor is David Platt. As many are probably aware, both he and Francis Chan are pouring a great deal of effort into trying to get people equipped for and engaged in discipleship (and I agree with them).

But amazingly, when I’ve talked with others about the phrase “every disciple a disciple-maker” some folks don’t seem to agree with this statement. Ultimately, it all goes back to how we are interpreting the GC. Some view it in this corporate sense (which I think has truth to it) and use it as a way to not require that everyone be involved in the GC. Now I realize that they would “say” that everyone should be involved, but the end effect is that it gives people a get-out-of-evangelism-free-card, because all you have to say is “well, I just feel called to …. (do something other than make disciples)”

We desperately need to recover an understanding that the GC was given to ALL the apostles and they were commanded to make disciples and teach them (i.e. the disciples) to obey ALL (including the GC) that Christ commanded them (i.e. the apostles). As individual believers it is our sin and timidness that usually makes us not carry this out – I know this from my own experience. As leaders and teachers, we feel sympathetic to our faith family members who are struggling to live out the GC – but we need to remember that we’re not helping ANYONE by lowering the bar. What we need to do is help people understand how to be disciple-makers.

Like I said, I hope this hasn’t veered off topic, but the original post seems very similar to some ongoing discussions I’ve been having. I welcome feedback and questions.

Grace and peace.

55 parsonsmike February 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Bob,
I think we are all called to disciple each other. AND we are called to be witnesses of the Lord Jesus to unbelievers. But not every one is called to do those things in the exact way.

In my church we have a prayer chain of which many are shut ins and some due to their own health problems struggle to make it to church. Yet they pray for the health of the church [growing disciples] and that others will be saved and thus to be baptized. Are they not doing GC work?

56 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Aaron, Wilson does. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says.

57 cb scott February 6, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Big Daddy,

Maybe the guys’ mind is sharp. . . but maybe it is sharp one only one side. The other side seems to be extremely dull and flat.

When one considers the definition of evangelical, it becomes apparent that the sharp side of Wilson’s mind is not the evangelical side. The evangelical side is the dull, flat side.

58 Frank L. February 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Jared. I agree with you Wilson is as brilliant as he is controversial. It is too bad evangelicals, some, are repulsed by his biblical principles of education.

Like you. I eat the fish and spit out the bones

59 Jared Moore February 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Frank, Wilson has been so influential and helpful in the Classical education movement. I agree with you. Let’s eat the fish and spit out the bones.

60 Frank L. February 6, 2013 at 7:17 pm

And . . . just a reminder, I’d have no problem disagreeing with you Jared and you have been gracious when I have done so, and at times I was not easy on your point of view.

I’m not a moderator, nor the son of a moderator, so I won’t perceive to know if you are following the right agenda in that regard.

61 cb scott February 6, 2013 at 10:24 pm

That works pretty well until you choke on one you missed.

62 Frank L. February 6, 2013 at 11:43 pm

There’s risk to everything, but it beats starvation.

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