Douglas Wilson (theologian)

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 B.A. in classical studies and a B.A. and an M.A. 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 Confederation 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"[1]

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.

On education

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). 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[2] and homeschoolers.[3]

On family

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).

On theology

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 0915815664) 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.[4] In October of the following year, they debated in person in three separate venues on three consecutive days.[5]

Federal Vision

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.[6] The RPCUS denomination, consisting of twelve congregations in the United States, declared his views on the subject to be heretical,[7] 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.[8]


  • The Christian faith is good for the world because it provides the fixed standard which atheism cannot provide and because it provides forgiveness for sins, which atheism cannot provide either. We need the direction of the standard because we are confused sinners. We need the forgiveness because we are guilty sinners. Atheism not only keeps the guilt, but it also keeps the confusion.[4]

Controversial views

Southern slavery

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]

Canon Press ceased publication of Southern Slavery, As It Was when it became aware of serious citation errors in several passages authored by Wilkins.[11] Robert McKenzie, the history professor who first noticed the citation problems, described the authors as being "sloppy" rather than "malevolent."[12] 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.[13]




Editor and contributor



  1. ^
  2. ^ Association of Classical and Christian Schools History
  3. ^ Introduction to Classical Christian Education from Classical Christian Homeschooling
  4. ^ a b "Is Christianity Good for the World?". Christianity Today. 8 May 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "On the Road with Atheism -- Christopher Hitchens squares off with Douglas Wilson.". Christianity Today. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  6. ^ Wilson, Douglas. "A Pauline Take on the New Perspective". Credenda/Agenda 15 (5). [dead link]
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ a b "The Late Unpleasantness in Idaho: Southern Slavery and the Culture Wars". By William L. Ramsey. History News Network. Published December 20, 2004. Accessed June 16, 2009.
  10. ^ page 5
  11. ^ Plagiarizing Slavery... By Ralph E. Luker. CLIOPATRIA: A Group Blog. Published May 2, 2005.
  12. ^ Neo-Confederates: Plagiarism as it is. SPLC Intelligence Report. Fall 2004. Accessed June 16, 2009.
  13. ^ Horowitz, Genovese, and the Varieties of Culture War: Comments on the Continuing Unpleasantness in Idaho. By William L. Ramsey. History News Network. Published March 27, 2006. Accessed June 16, 2009.

External links

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