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  • Writer's pictureShannon Makujina

I Love Douglas Wilson

I grew up in a theology saturated home. My father has a PhD in Biblical Languages and is truly the most brilliant person I have ever met. He loved to talk about the Bible, and while I’ve deconstructed from the IFB and wouldn’t agree with many of his opinions, I am still his daughter, and I love a good discussion about theology—especially when it’s about something controversial. I have my father’s blood in my veins, so every now and then I enjoy a good word battle.


I never got to argue with my dad, because I couldn’t express my opinions without being insulted and shut down. But now I live with a missionary family, who treat me like an adult human being, and I have the pleasure (or stumbling block) of regularly participating in stirring dialogue with the ‘missionary man’, Pastor K. Yeah, that is a nice way of saying we argue about theology a lot. (It is amazing how much two Baptists can find to disagree on.)


While we are far from the toxic culture I grew up in, I am sorry to say that words are still spoken quickly and voices are sometimes raised, and maybe I have even stormed out of the room once or twice??


Do you know what is going through my head every single time? “How can he possibly think that?! How dumb! How absurd! How does he possibly think Jesus could get behind that?” Or even when I’m really mad: “Has he not cracked open his Bible in the past year???”


With zero reflections on who is right and who is wrong (usually we share some of both), I’m reflecting tonight on how I possibly think Jesus can get behind my quick-to-speak-, quick-to-anger attitude.


And I’m also reflecting on my righteous anger, the flame behind every argument I ever have—a (sometimes misguided) passion to defend the character of Jesus and the infallibility of his Word.


It’s weird because I’m actually a very mild-tempered person. I don’t get upset when the missionary kids throw my beloved horse figurine down the stairs and break it. I almost never raise my voice, even when everything around me is chaos. In fact, I’m usually speaking calm into my surroundings, trying to make solutions, or even remind other people to be like Jesus. I take pride in talking like an adult—aka, saying things calmly and rationally and not yelling.


But when it comes to theology, it’s a different story.


Maybe it’s because I feel like I’m defending Jesus. Or maybe it’s because I feel like I’m defending all the people who could be hurt by the Bible being misinterpreted. Maybe it’s some of both. But something about it makes me want to grab a sword and start swinging, Peter style. (Figuratively, not literally, of course).


When I heard about Josh Howerton’s wedding night advice that he said was a joke, I was furious. (In case you haven’t heard, you can check out Rick Pidock’s article here. Pastor’s wedding night advice to women opens a conversation on harmful evangelical teaching on sex – Baptist News Global 


When I heard people defend Howerton or fail to instantly understand why he was so wrong, that made me burn even more. I sat down and wrote an angry article that made some very valid points lamenting the state of evangelicalism and the epidemic of horrible marriage advice that is leading to horrible marriages. I still might publish some of it. But I need to get my heart right first.


My strongly held opinions, however right, are not a valid excuse for my un-Jesus-like desire to be right.


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I’m not very active on Twitter; I only scroll once every few days, or go take a peek if someone tells me of a controversy exploding. I’m not going to give you my opinion, because it’s not worth much, but take a moment to reflect on this.


If Jesus were to get on Twitter and look at all the trending Christian tweets (or whatever they are called now that it is X), how much brotherly love would he see reflected in the comments? How well would he see the universal body of Christ reflecting his priorities that he laid out for us right before he died—that we love one another?


Or would he just see endless legalism, posturing, in-fighting, backstabbing, and church politics?

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Jesus prayed that the Church would show each other the kind of love that he and his Father share, and it forces me to reflect—how am I showing that love to people whose theological positions I despise?


Do I love them more than I love my theology? Do I love being gracious more than I love being offended? Can I see the good in someone I strongly disagree with, and not just the bad?

And if I can’t seem to find anything good, can I still pray for them?


You guys, I absolutely despise Douglas Wilson. (If you don’t know who he is, that’s a good thing). Out of all the reformed patriarchy Theobros, he is the worst. His bold-face, profanity laced assertations about women and marriage and a host of other things, make me vomit a little in the back of my throat.


And I’ve been challenged for months now, and I am still challenged today—how can I pray for Douglas Wilson? How can I love him?


My disgust cannot do anything to change his heart or change the hearts of his followers, but my prayers can. I’ve often thought that I believe Doug is the most dangerous false teacher in evangelical Christianity today. I grew up in IFB, I keep tabs on crazy preachers for a hobby, and the things Wilson will say and do just take the cake. IYKYK.


I’ve started to wonder: if I really believe that, then shouldn’t I pray for him disproportionately more than anything else? We wrestle not against flesh and blood, after all.


Even Paul said to Timothy, “The Lord’s servant must be gentle to everyone…instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:24-26).


I find this hard. I get angry about bad theology because I see how bad theology turns into DSS investigations, and court cases, and therapy sessions. I get angry about bad theology because I’ve comforted way too many crying women who have been abused by people taking the Bible out of context. I get angry because that bad theology is a misrepresentation of Jesus!


I have every right to be angry. But being a Jesus follower is about giving up the things you are entitled to and pursuing something different—something earth-shakingly different. Something revolutionary.


Following Jesus is about enemy-loving, Gentile-embracing, second-mile-carrying faith. This faith believes that through our love and our praying, Jesus is able to change the hardest of hearts—something anger will never do. And if we really want change—and not just revenge—we have to follow Jesus.


I want to be meek and lowly when I correct my opponents—not because I’m a woman, but because I’m a Jesus follower.

Whether it’s the friend I’m fighting with—whose position I despise—or an arch enemy of the church—whose character and positions are indistinguishable—I am called to not give insult for insult, nor pay back evil with evil, but give a blessing instead.


“You were called to this,” Peter says, “so you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9). Yes, this was the same Peter who was slashing ears off in the garden of Gethsemane, trying to defend Jesus. The difference is undeniable.


What changed him? Peter before the cross was different than Peter after the cross. He saw Jesus die for those who were his enemies, forgiving them down to his last breath. He experienced what Paul writes about in Romans: that while we were God’s enemies, he died for us.


Gospel transformation makes you want to change your enemies by loving them instead of fighting with them. That’s what happened to Peter.


While there is a tremendous need to call out false teaching for the sake of those being easily led astray, our ultimate desire should never be forgotten: that we are praying that the false teachers will come to repentance, not destruction. And if that is not our desire, why not?


May we be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to follow in the steps of Jesus, as we fight the darkness in the world, combatting evil with good.


Just to clarify, I am not (and would never!) say that you should not stand up to someone who is abusive towards you or treating you wrongly.


I am saying that from a position of safety, our hands should be stretched out to bless, and not to cast curses.


Even to the people you don’t agree with. Even to the people you really disagree with. Even the people you disagree with so much you think they’re not saved.


Even Douglas Wilson.

 

Let me love them, Jesus. The belligerent ones, the arrogant ones, the ones who don’t know any better, the ones who just don’t give a crap, the ones who lie and protect themselves and…are sinners just like me. Let me love the Church for Jesus’s sake, because he loved it enough to die for it. Let me love the people I disagree with and see them as people—whether ones with good intentions and bad practices, or the ones with bad intentions and bad practices. Save those false teachers who are not saved. Please bring them to repentance and let the Holy Spirit guide us all into knowing Your truth.

In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

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