Last week we were sent Doug Wilson’s response to the ongoing controversy over his support of Side B theology. This effort was led by Jared Moore and his appearance on the Conversations That Matter podcast jumpstarted a conversation of Doug Wilson’s views that Doug Wilson has finally responded to. Doug Wilson would write over 4000 words addressing the issue, but rather than coming to an agreement, Doug Wilson appears to double down on his errors in dramatic and academic fashion.
Much of this controversy arose after it went viral that Doug Wilson said he had homosexual Christians in good standing in his church and also had a clip in which he stated that homosexual desires were not sinful, in and of themselves. This, combined with his seeming affirmation of orientation, is a cookbook recipe for Side B theology, and many conservative Christians were shocked Doug Wilson would be peddling the same theology as the enemies within the church, just with extra steps.
In a response post titled “Concupiscence Is As Concupiscence Does,” Doug Wilsons colloquial title is followed by 4389 words that intend to out last a casual critic of his previous stance on a simple and necessary issue.
Chiding Jared Moore
Doug Wilson begins his long article by chiding Jared Moore, who raised the issue.
In his interview with Jon Harris, Jared Moore said that I was one of the “elites,” and that I thought myself above interacting with lowly types like him. What I have to say to him about this, I say to all. I also have to say this frequently to correspondents when I finally get around to answering them.
Jared Moore has gotten Doug Wilson to reply to him on Twitter. What Jared Moore is more likely referring to is Doug Wilson’s lack of accountability in taking corrective action for his public error.
Doug Wilson Reaffirms Orientation
After chiding Jared Moore and reaffirming the Westminster Confession, Doug Wilson sets out to state what it is he believes.
Our corruption of nature is truly and properly sin—and this includes everyone, not just homosexuals. Apart from the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, this corruption alone would be sufficient grounds for damnation. When I say that a Christian (a member, say, of Christ Church in good standing) has a homosexual orientation, I am not talking about his or her identity. No Christian’s identity is ever to be found in any sin or corrupt trait, but rather in Christ alone.
The first part is a correct understanding of Original Sin. What follows is a unforced error, as Doug Wilson contradicts himself. When Doug Wilson said that a Christian in his church had a homosexual orientation, he was assigning them a fixed identity. That is what “sexual orientation” means. Doug Wilson appears to not know what this phrase means, but he doubles down yet again.
So the word orientation can legitimately be used simply to describe how a person is likely to be tempted this time tomorrow. The mere fact of this likely line of temptation is not sin, but the temptation does depend for some of its force on the corruption of nature, which is sin.
Orientation refers to a persons fixed or self identity. Doug Wilson’s use and adoption of sexual orientation is a compromise. This is in fact the same compromise we saw in Al Mohler when he “repented” of not accepted sexual orientation in 2014 and also made the same argument as Doug Wilson, that we could accept orientation as a premise but not let it be our identity. This is a compromise that puts Doug Wilson with Side B theologists.
Side A is a shorthand for “acceptance.”
Doug Wilson Calls A Homosexual Desire Not Sin
The key distinction of Side B theology is that they recognize that homosexual acts are sinful but because they accept that homosexuality is part of a person’s identity, they tolerate homosexual desires as compatible with a Christian walk and are not to be mortified. Doug Wilson, while not as brazen as the Revoice Movement, gets caught doing the same here.
There is an important distinction to be made between the word sin and the phrase a sin. Say that a Christian with homosexual vulnerabilities sees a pop-up ad that would take him to a homosexual porn site, and the moment it hits him, it looks good to him. The reason it looks good to him is because of the particular kink in his corruption of nature, which is sin, but if he immediately rejects the invitation (within a second) and walks away from it, then he has navigated the situation correctly—without being guilty of a sin. He has gone through a temptation, but is not guilty of a sin. His corruption of nature is sin, but we do not have to confess our corruption of nature the same way we confess a particular sin.
Doug Wilson pulls an example of temptation straight from the Fireproof movie which was in a completely different era of the internet. Yet Doug Wilson’s argument makes a fatal error. If homosexual porn looks good to someone, the sin has been committed. It “looking good” is a value judgement that is an affront to God’s righteous standard.
Doug Wilson goes on to compare this situation to Adam who had a desire to be “like God.” But yet another distinction must be made here, one Wilson does not seem to understand. External temptation is often good outcomes presented through evil means. Being like God is a good outcome that ought to be desired. Breaking the one rule God has given you is an evil and illogical means. Sodomy is not a good outcome. A Christian should confess to God if they find themselves thinking, even for a split second, that sodomy looked good to him.
Doug Wilson calls an instance of sin, not a sin and even commends the hypothetical person in the illustration for navigating the situation correctly. Doug Wilson would go on to say that homosexual desire is sin.
As I remember it, when the Revoice Side B thing blew up, it was the Warhorn guys who were in the forefront of that battle. But there were a number of us who joined with them in that fray, and all of us were steadfast in our opposition to the normalization and mainstreaming of “being gay without acting on it.” That is not okay. And what we are talking about here is not the same thing. A man with homosexual temptations does not get to create an identity out of that any more than a man with polyamorous inclinations gets to create an identity that valorizes the concept of a harem full of blondes. But if both men reject an identity shaped and defined by sin, any sin, and resolve by grace to resist temptations from the old man as soon as those temptations arise, and they do so, then both men are living by faith in the same way, and both can expect to hear “well done, good and faithful servant.”
And if Christ can say that to a Christian with homosexual temptations, provided he has resisted them as the Word requires, then I think it should be fully appropriate for a Christian pastor to say the same thing to him.
We are talking about the same thing, Doug Wilson. Doug Wilson contradicts his previous affirmation of sexual orientation, and clearly overlooks the hypothetical example in which he soft peddles the same ideology he previously said he vigorously opposed with extra steps. No amount of writing 4000 words to redefine commonly used terms can prevent this logical house of cards from collapsing in on itself. We renew our call for Doug Wilson to repent.