Why are evangelicals listening to Douglas Wilson?

Why are evangelicals listening to Douglas Wilson?
Douglas Wilson
Paul Smith
Paul Smith Paul Smith is full-time elder of Grace Baptist Church, Broadstairs, Kent. He is also a director and the book reviews editor for ET.
26 February, 2024 9 min read

Confident, positive, and fruitful Christian living is in short supply. This is partly why, to the concern of some, increasing numbers of evangelicals are influenced by Douglas Wilson, a Presbyterian pastor from Moscow, Idaho.

Too many evangelicals are glum. They ask, Does the gospel have a future in the west? Those who have seen better days sometimes battle against despair.

Younger evangelicals want hope. Talk of liberal churches declining is not overly encouraging. This doesn’t mean the end of liberalism. It is a parasite which is always spawning new offspring from drifting evangelical churches as they compromise with the culture.

Nor are younger evangelicals inspired by the tactical withdrawal from the public square espoused by some evangelical leaders. The message to the world – some culturally-sensitive evangelism aside – seems to be this: We’ll leave our religion at home so please leave us alone. On issues like abortion, the argument made is that we don’t have the numbers, so now is not the time to fight.

Confident, positive, fruitful?

Douglas Wilson is not interested in cultural appeasement, nor in a fighting retreat. He appears confident: addressing the liberal thought-leaders head on. He appears positive: giving practical advice to young people on marriage and to young parents on child-rearing. He appears fruitful: prolific in writing (books and blogs), education (New St Andrew’s College and promoting Classical Christian Education), publishing (Canon Press), and community-building (in Moscow, Idaho).

The community in Moscow is growing. Baptists in the USA appear concerned about Wilson’s appeal and talk of high profile ‘defectors’. Southern Baptist Jared Longshore left Founders Ministries to move to Moscow in 2021. Joe Rigney left his position as president of Bethlehem College and Seminary (linked to John Piper) to move to Moscow in 2023.

What’s the concern?

Wilson is like a top tabloid journalist – a sharp, street-level truth-teller. He deliberately ruffles feathers. Readers are either appreciative and amused or irked and offended by his style. For example, Wilson speaks of ‘gay mirage’ instead of marriage. 

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