Bredenhof: Reasons Why Wilson Should Not Be Regarded As Reliable

…Wilson presents his [theonomic] position as something distinct from theonomists like Greg Bahnsen. However, as an OPC minister, Greg Bahnsen affirmed the Westminster Confession too.  He too affirmed what the Westminster Confession says about “general equity.” He was a “Westminster theonomist.” What we need to do is look at particular instances to understand what someone means when they say they’re a particular kind of theonomist.
For example, what about child abusers?  In his 1999 book Fidelity, Wilson argued that, on the basis of Old Testament penalties, a child abuser should receive the death penalty (p.85). I don’t think Greg Bahnsen would have disagreed.  If so, where’s the difference?

…If he were only referring to the disposition (habitus) of justifying faith towards subsequent obedience, I could give him a pass. But he doesn’t say that. While he denies that obedience is part of the basis of our justification, faith as the instrument of our justification seems to include it—“in that living condition [i.e. obedient] it is the instrument of our justification.” This is at best muddled. Why not just use the classical Reformed formulations?

Again, while Wilson claims to be Reformed, while he claims to subscribe to the Reformed confessions, he’s selective in what he believes from those confessions. When it comes to the law/gospel distinction, he flattens out what is sharply distinguished in the Three Forms of Unity. For more critique of this approach, see my Federal Vision: A Canadian Reformed Pastor’s Perspective.

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Wes Bredenhof | “Doug Wilson: The Bad” | July 3, 2023


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