Category Archives: doug wilson

Hitchens vs. Blair on Religion

On November 26, 2010 the Munk Centre in Toronto, Ontario hosted the sixth in its series of debates. The question to be resolved was “Is Religion a Force for Good in the World?” Answering in the negative was renowned wordsmith, literary critic, journalist and author Christopher Hitchens. The affirmative was answered by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. I desperately wanted to attend this debate if only to witness a showdown between two articulate, charismatic, witty and educated opponents. If it were at all possible, I also envisioned getting my copy of Hitch-22 signed by its author. Alas, it was not to be, so I’ve had to settle for watching it online (see below).

You might find it odd, if you know anything about me, that I come away from watching the debate favouring Christopher Hitchens. Of course, I am no friend to atheism, nor was I particularly convinced by his argument. Where I came to “side” with him was not so much on his atheism. Rather, this debate was less one about atheism vs. Christianity, or even atheism vs. theism. It was rather a debate between an atheist and a religious pluralist. I dare say, I think I can’t stand religious pluralism more than I can’t stand atheism. Blair converted to Catholicism after he completed his political career and is now some sort of spokesman for religion. It must be said, however, that Blair’s take on religion is a mushy form of “why can’t we all get along?” wearing a t-shirt with Desmond Tutu on the front.

Were I to debate Hitchens on this question, my opening words would attempt to clearly define what I meant by religion. If by the term I was to defend a catch-all that included Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Wicca and the religion that crazy guy in Allan Gardens mumbles in his crack-induced haze–I would gladly concede defeat without uttering another word. Yet, if by religion I mean that revealed in the pages of the Hebrew and Greek Testaments that has its focus set squarely on Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Second Person of the Trinity–I humbly submit that I would not only argue for the validity that it is a force for good in the world, but I would win (not because of my skills, but because this definition of religion is a necessary precondition for any discussion of “good.” I’d win at the outset just by affirming my position!).

A much better rendition of this debate was had between Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson. It was originally staged in the pages of Christianity Today, it then went on into book form with Is Christianity Good for the World?, and then went on tour across the eastern seaboard of the United States and was captured in the documentary Collision. For anyone dissatisfied with the Hitchens/Blair pairing, I would highly recommend Hitchens/Wilson instead. Wilson does all that I would hope a defender of Christ would do–including win.

So, below is first a video from the Munk debate; afterwards a trailer for Collision and finally the video for the Westminster Seminary part of the Hitchens/Wilson debate.




Filed under apologetics, atheism, christopher hitchens, debate, doug wilson, tony blair, video

Christians and Dope

I recently had a discussion with some Christians about the differences between the Scripture’s view of drinking wine and marijuana use. For some, both are prohibited, while for others only the latter. It can be an emotionally charged issue in the broader church, so to have a little balanced and clear-headed perspective is always welcome. Doug Wilson, in an article he wrote years ago entitled “One Toke Over the Line,” that gives just such a balanced perspective. Here’s a couple of quotes to whet your whistle (pardon the pun).

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Filed under alcohol, doug wilson, ethics, marijuana

The Pastor and Reading

I’ve highlighted Doug Wilson’s “Ask Doug” segment at the CanonWIRED website before. Now I’m especially excited to draw your attention to it because my question was answered (and answered well)! I asked: “You advocate reading and reading widely, what do you say to pastors who don’t read, whether because they don’t care for it or they feel that they don’t have enough time for it?”

Doug Wilson’s answer is blunt but dead-on. Reading is integral to pastoral ministry. A mentor of mine has gone so far as to publicly argue that a pastor should be reading at least two hours a day, beyond their own sermon prep — if not, they’re not fit for ministry! While I may not go that far, I definitely sympathise!

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Filed under books, doug wilson, pastoral theology, video

Ask Doug

A neat feature that the folk at Canon Wired have been doing for a while now is “Ask Doug.” This is where people can email Doug Wilson and ask him questions on any subject related to theology or culture and he responds on video. Each response is short and to the point and very useful. I’ve profited from these greatly. The subjects are wide and various including pastoral issues, literature, philosophy, education, economics and systematic theology. Below are some of my favourites thus far.

In this one Doug is asked the question about whether people of different theological backgrounds should get married. I find his answer to be very careful and balanced, and I completely agree with him:

Theological Agreement and Marriage – Conversations with Doug Wilson from Daniel Foucachon on Vimeo.

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Filed under books, doug wilson, interviews, video

Review: Collision (by Mark)

My buddy Mark Nenadov has a review of the recent documentary Collision that follows Christopher Hitchens and Doug Wilson as they debate on the question of whether Christianity is good for the world. Check it out.

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Hitchens/Wilson on Imus

Christopher Hitchens and Doug Wilson discuss their new movie, Collision, on the Don Imus show {HT: Blog and Mablog}:

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Filed under apologetics, atheism, christopher hitchens, debate, doug wilson, ethics, philosophy, presuppositionalism, video

Interview: Piper and Wilson Discuss Atheism

John Piper discusses the upcoming film Collision with Douglas Wilson. The film is a documentary directed by Darren Doane that follows Wilson and atheist Christopher Hitchens as they did a series of debates on the west coast last year. Check it out here.

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Piper’s Thoughts on Wilson

{HT: All Things Expounded}

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Westminster’s Online Resources

Westminster Seminary in Pennsylvania has finally posted all of their resources online, for free! I just signed up and was pleased to see that they have the full video of the Wilson/Hitchens debate (as an aside, for you Canadians, Christopher Hitchens will be on The Hour this week).

So sign up and watch/listen ’til your heart’s content! Click here for access {HT: Between Two Worlds}.

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Filed under audio, christopher hitchens, debate, doug wilson, Resources, video, westminster theological seminary

Christianity Today on Doug Wilson

Doug Wilson’s blog, Blog and Mablog, is one that I turn to daily. Anyone who reads my blog can tell that I have an interest in and admiration for the man. I’ve read a number of his books and listened to a number of his sermon series and lectures. In spite of some of the disagreements that I have with him theologically, I often find that he has something thought provoking to say.

Christianity Today has recently published an article on Wilson which is a worthwhile read called “The Controversialist.” This is a good title considering Wilson’s recent debates with atheist Christopher Hitchens as well as his controversies over the Federal Vision in Presbyterian circles and the issues he finds himself involved in in his hometown of Moscow, Idaho.

On his blog, Wilson notes a few areas of clarification that need to be made after reading the article. You can read those here.

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Filed under apologetics, articles, christopher hitchens, doug wilson

Does God Exist?

This video is from the Christian Book Expo. It’s a panel discussion on the question of God’s existence. William Lane Craig, Christopher Hitchens, Douglas Wilson, Lee Strobel and Jim Dennison are on the panel.

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American Theological Inquiry

Ever search your name on Google just for the fun of it? Sometimes it can be scary. I just did and found out that I have a book review published in American Theological Inquiry. Who knew? Anyways, I’m glad that it’s there as the journal looks outstanding. What’s even better, it’s free! Published by Wipf and Stock, ATI looks to be a journal with promise. The latest issue (2.1) has these articles (Scroll down the PDF for my review of Is Christianity Good for the World?):

  • ‘The Theology of Gerald O’Collins and Postmodernism’, by Craig Baron
  • ‘Late have I left thee: a reflection on Augustine the Manichee and the logic of belief adoption’, by Charles Natoli
  • ‘Jesus On The Big Screen’, by Stephen Nichols
  • ‘Lutheran Puritanism? Adiaphora in Lutheran Orthodoxy and Possible Commonalities in Reformed Orthodoxy’, by Daniel Hyde
  • ‘A Rose By Any Other Name: Attempts At Classifying North American Protestant Worship’, Lester Ruth
  • ‘Twin Parables Of Stewardship In Luke’, by J. Lyle Story
  • ‘Death, Killing And Personal Identity’, by Todd Bindig


Filed under books, christopher hitchens, doug wilson, journals, me, Resources, reviews

Collision: Wilson vs. Hitchens

While I’m on an atheist kick, Collision, a documentary on the debate over the existence of God between Doug Wilson and Christopher Hitchens, should be out soon. I guess it’s being screened at the Christian Book Expo. I can’t wait!

[HT: Doug Wilson]

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Filed under apologetics, atheism, christopher hitchens, debate, doug wilson, presuppositionalism, video

Wilson on Wright

Doug Wilson is blogging his way through N.T. Wright’s new book Justification, which the bishop has written in response to certain critics, including John Piper. Wilson thus far is hitting the nail on the head with Wright. As seen in the following:

[Quoting Wright] It is central to Paul, but almost entirely ignored in perspectives old, new and otherwise, that God had a single plan all along through which he intended to rescue the world and the human race, and that this single plan was centred upon the call of Israel, a call which Paul saw coming to fruition in Israel’s representative, the Messiah” (pp. 18-19, emphasis his).

This is great stuff, but it is hardly Columbus planting the flag on a virgin continent. Find me one word in that summary that would not bring forth a chorus of amens from B.B. Warfield, Jonathan Edwards, or any Reformed stalwart between the years, say, 1550 and 1900. Take that phrase “almost entirely ignored” and hold it up to the light in wonderment. So where did I obtain the tall stack of books that I read that persuaded me of this view long before I had ever heard of N.T. Wright? Wright really needs to get out more, and stop acting like he has discovered things that many Christians have known and taught over the course of generations.

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Filed under doug wilson, justification, n t wright, reviews

Wilson’s Worldview Wheel

“Worldview thinking” is very important, but as Doug Wilson points out, there is more to it than just thinking. For instance, “worldview living,” or “worldview doing.” Wilson has a series of sermons called “A Worldview Wheel” hosted at the Canon Press site. I’ve only listened to the first one, but found it very helpful and thought I’d post a link to each of them for your (and my own) listening pleasure.
The series is based upon an illustration that Wilson uses of a wheel (worldview) with an axle (grace of God) and four spokes (catechesis, lifestyle, narrative and symbol). He makes a number of excellent points, including the interelated nature of a worldview (he realises that this is where his wheel illustration breaks down, because spokes aren’t normally interelated), how worldview impacts all of our living, the totality of a worldview, and how to communicate your worldview biblically. This stuff is much better than any of the worldview reading/listening I’ve encountered.

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Book Questions

I usually can’t stand being tagged, but when it comes to books — well, my opinion differs drastically! Darrin put down some good books on his post and tagged me (as well as some others) to display my reading habits. So, here goes! Without wanting to state the obvious, I am excluding the Bible from this list because if I didn’t, it would be my every answer (except, of course, for number 7 – thanks Ben).

1) One book that changed your life:
I’m sure that there are many books that have had a profound influence on me. And although this book isn’t greatly technical, it broke me of a lot of my worldliness. It is Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? by James Montgomery Boice. It especially helped me not to keep myself dumb. Another book that I’ve greatly enjoyed, although maybe not so influential, is Intellectuals by Paul Johnson.

2) One book that you’ve read more than once:
On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It has such a wanderers spirit that I love. Maybe not the most moral book out there, but certainly one that I’ve enjoyed. I hear that an unedited edition is coming out soon!

3) One book you’d want on a deserted island:
The SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, In Any Climate, On Land or at Sea by John Wiseman. A guy’s gotta survive!!!

4) One book that made you laugh:
Fidelity by Douglas Wilson. The opening chapter about biblical satire had me in stitches, and proved a very excellent and biblical point. Sometimes we need to talk plainly to get our point across. Thankfully, plain speech can be funny!

5) One book that made you cry:
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. When ole Gus died, I balled. I usually get pretty choked up when I watch that scene in the movie too.

6) One book that you wish had been written:
A Comprehensive History of Atheism: Readings and Analysis by Greg Bahnsen. I think it would have been the one stop resource for demolishing atheism.

7) One book that you wish had never been written:
Why Christianity Must Change or Die by John Shelby Spong. The guy is pompous and arrogant disguised as open minded and caring. The book has destroyed many a person’s faith.

8) One book that you are currently reading:
As with Darrin, I have my bookmark in a few books. I just finished A Serrated Edge by Douglas Wilson (excellent); I too am reading Selected Shorter Writings of J. Gresham Machen by D. G. Hart; I’m reading through the Works of Alexander Carson (slow going and tedious note taking). I’m almost finished Stanley E. Porter and Stephen Bedard’s Unmasking the Pagan Christ. I haven’t touched in about a week or so for one reason or another. I’m also reading various articles in an old Reformed journal called Contra Mundum — interesting stuff. Today I read about how Enlightenment thinking, in particular rationalism, was evident about a hundred years before the actual Enlightenment began. The culprit was an Anglican named Richard Hooker, who subordinated revelation for reason. (That was long!! Whoops).

9) One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Unlike Darrin, I haven’t sat and read through John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. That is something that I very much would like to do. I’ve read numerous portions, but never cover to cover.

So, now it’s time to inflict this on some other bloggers. I would have to say Terry Stauffer, Rogers Meredith, Al Mickle and Crawford Gribben! I don’t tag them to annoy them, I’m actually interested to see their answers!!


Filed under books, doug wilson, greg bahnsen, john calvin, tom harpur, westerns

Blog – Evolution – Mablog

Without wanting to look like a Doug Wilson crony, I am linking to another post. This time it’s not on politics, rather it is a brief explanation of the various objections to evolutionary theory. He highlights four: particular evidences, logical difficulties, ethical concerns and transcendental argument. As many of you know, I follow the philosophy of Cornelius Van Til, sometimes labelled presuppositionalism (I prefer “kung-fu apologetics”), so the last argument in particular scratches where I itch (TAG, you’re it). Here’s a quote to get your mind churning:

The theory of evolution cannot stand because it does not account for the rational preconditions of theory itself.

For in-depth study on the presuppositional method I just mentioned, Paul Manata has a great collection of articles that he’s compiled into a kind of “e-book” called Philosophy of (the Christian) Religion. There are excellent articles here by John Frame, Greg Bahnsen, Vern Poythress, John Byl and more.

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Filed under apologetics, cornelius van til, doug wilson, evolution, greg bahnsen, john frame, presuppositionalism, vern poythress

What I’ve Read About The Emerging Church

I haven’t done a lot of study on the emerging church. Aside from listening to David Wells’ excellent lectures on the subject (here and here), reading a few blogs, and Reformation and Revival’s critique of D.A. Carson’s Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church. The only serious readings about the emerging church I have done have been from Doug Wilson’s blog. I recommend them both for their information and critique as well for their utter hilarity. Written in true Doug Wilson fashion.

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Filed under blogging, books, don carson, doug wilson, emerging church