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Laying Seige to the Very Gates of Hell With Wadded Up Kleenex?

January 27th, 2011
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I just read this provocative quip from Doug Wilson:

“‎Jesus promised us that the gates of Hades would not prevail against the Church. It is not often noted that the gates of Hades are not an offensive weapon. Hades is being besieged by the Church; it is not the other way around. We need to learn to see that biblical worship of God is a powerful battering ram, and each Lord’s Day we have the privilege of taking another swing. Or, if we prefer, we might still want to continue gathering around with our insipid songs, dopey skits, and inspirational chats in order to pelt the gates of Hades with our wadded up kleenex.”
~ Douglas Wilson

Via Facebook via Tim Meyers

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Steve Foxx
    January 27th, 2011 at 20:24 | #1

    Pastor M,
    I totally stole this for my facebook page. Thanks so much!


  2. Martin Diers
    January 27th, 2011 at 21:38 | #3


  3. Robin
    January 28th, 2011 at 00:50 | #4

    Amazing. I currently am Baptist. My husband and I have recently moved and are attempting to find a church. I am moving more and more toward Lutheranism but, alas he is firmly Baptist. The last church we visited two girls did a skit while doing sign language. I don’t really remember because I basically blacked out. Needless to say we haven’t been back. The one before that, the music leader basically led one big solo where he improvised all of the songs (none of which I had heard anyway) Please keep fight this non-sense! Everyone had their hands raised swaying to the music. I told my husband I am going to start bringing the Lutheran small catechism or something along those lines to church. It is disgusting.

  4. January 28th, 2011 at 05:34 | #5

    If this is the Doug Wilson I’m familiar with, you’re quoting not only a Calvinist, but a post-millenialist. I haven’t seen this quote in context, but for a post-millenialist, of course ” Hades is being besieged by the Church.”

    • January 28th, 2011 at 06:36 | #6

      Well whatever he meant by the comment, I thought it was still good. A broken watch is correct at least twice a day.

  5. Anthony
    January 28th, 2011 at 07:01 | #7

    Dear Pastor McCain,
    That’s a great quote from Doug Wilson. He’s highly quotable. He writes lots of provocative and helpful things, including spot-on critiques of feminized, anemic American evangelicalism. He’s also a big-time, though likely unknowing, proponent of the theology of glory. More significantly, he also badly confuses Law & Gospel.

    I point these things out because I am Reformed, but am now moving in the direction of the Lutheran faith – and CyberBrethren is partly to blame! I am making this transition, in part, because so few in the Reformed faith understand and consistently distinguish between Law & Gospel, and so many unknowingly embrace a theology of glory. Of course, there are exceptions – the “felicitous inconsistency” Pieper speaks of. I think your readers should beware of Pastor Wilson’s serious errors, views which undermine essential biblical and Lutheran theology.

    Pastor Wilson is part of the so-called “Federal Vision” – a theological movement which has caused great concern and consternation in Reformed churches. In an effort to defend and clarify their views, they produced a document called “The Joint Federal Vision Profession.” You can read it here:

    Here is a statement from that which, IMO, reflects a theology of glory:

    As the Waters Cover the Sea
    We affirm that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but rather so that the world through Him would be saved. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world—He is the Savior of the world. All the nations shall stream to Him, and His resting place shall be glorious. We affirm that prior to the second coming of our Lord Jesus, the earth will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
    We deny that eschatological views are to be a test of fellowship between orthodox believers, but at the same time we hold that an orientation of faith with regard to the gospel’s triumph in history is extremely important. We deny that it is wise to imitate Abraham in his exercise of faith while declining to believe the content of what he believed—that through him all the nations of the world would be blessed, and that his descendants would be like the stars in number.

    At first, this sounds very amenable to Lutheran theology. However, when they say that Jesus is Savior of the world, they are not talking about objective justification. They are talking about a future numerical and world-wide triumph of the Gospel, i.e., they are post-millenial, and view Christ as the Savior of the world in the sense of Christianizing the whole world at some point in the future before His return in glory. The Christ they preach is more prominently a glorious Christ of evident victory, cultural transformation, and world-wide triumph – not the crucified Christ of weakness whose glory remains hidden from the eyes of the world of unbelief.

    The next section is entitled “The Next Christendom,” which ramps up the theology of glory even more, with a big dose of kingdom confusion. Here’s a quote: “We affirm therefore that the Christian faith is a public faith, encompassing every realm of human endeavor. The fulfillment of the Great Commission therefore requires the establishment of a global Christendom. We deny that neutrality is possible in any realm, and this includes the realm of ‘secular’ politics.”

    Even more concerning is how they mishandle “Law & Gospel” in this statement:

    Law and Gospel
    We affirm that those in rebellion against God are condemned both by His law, which they disobey, and His gospel, which they also disobey. When they have been brought to the point of repentance by the Holy Spirit, we affirm that the gracious nature of all God’s words becomes evident to them. At the same time, we affirm that it is appropriate to speak of law and gospel as having a redemptive and historical thrust, with the time of the law being the old covenant era and the time of the gospel being the time when we enter our maturity as God’s people. We further affirm that those who are first coming to faith in Christ frequently experience the law as an adversary and the gospel as deliverance from that adversary, meaning that traditional evangelistic applications of law and gospel are certainly scriptural and appropriate.
    We deny that law and gospel should be considered as hermeneutics, or treated as such. We believe that any passage, whether indicative or imperative, can be heard by the faithful as good news, and that any passage, whether containing gospel promises or not, will be heard by the rebellious as intolerable demand. The fundamental division is not in the text, but rather in the human heart.

    Elsewhere, I have heard those who sympathize with these views say unhelpful things like this: “There is Gospel in the Law and Law in the Gospel,” “The Law is good news, a Word of grace to the regenerate,” etc. They directly reject the proper distinction between Law & Gospel as a hermeneutic (and in some of their blogs, identify this as a “Lutheran error” which should not be embraced by the Reformed).

    IMO, Doug Wilson should be read with due caution. Let the readers beware. Make sure your Lutheran antennae are up and active!

    Thanks for listening.

  6. Michael Mapus
    January 28th, 2011 at 07:08 | #8

    Hang in there Robin. Currently at my congregation, we have a Baptist Pastor, his wife and mother attending adult classes. In a previous conversation we had, the first thing that sticks out with him about the Lutheran Reformation, is it’s focus on the objective work of Christ, FOR US!! While at the same time not neglecting the life of sanctification. He and his family just finished reading thru the Small Catechism in the Book of Concord and is amazed at it’s depth and simplicity.

    I feel your pain when it comes to worship, that is one of the reasons I and my family drive 40 miles to our congregation. I’m reminded of what the late Dr. Kurt Marquart once said concerning worship. I paraphrase, “You never see cults and sects proselytizing like modern Amercian Evangelicals or Muslims in American prisions proselytizing imates with praise and worship songs to Allah!”. Be dillgent in your search for a sound Lutheran Church, one that has reverant worship where the means of grace (Word and Sacrament) are clearly present. Also in it’s bible classes, the scriptures and the Lutheran Reformation are faithfully taught.

    God Bless

  7. January 28th, 2011 at 16:40 | #9

    Well, the next time either I, or one of my fellow Reformed minions quote Dr. Luther’s De Servo Arbitrio on predestination and a Lutheran complains, I’m going to say,

    “Well whatever he meant by the comment, I thought it was still good. A broken watch is correct at least twice a day.” (:

    Doug Wilson is a great writer. I have some serious disagreements with him, but he is an excellent communicator, and highly quotable. Why… even Lutheran pastors quote him!

    btw, I do enjoy your blog, and faithfully read it everyday.

  8. Craig
    January 29th, 2011 at 14:21 | #10

    What’s so wrong about Wadded Up Kleenex? I cry every Divine Service. From a moving Hymn to the Absolution or the passing of peace, the Kyrie, Agnus Dei a Law / Gospel sermon that hands Christ over as a slain lamb for us, the actual eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ to the Song of Simeon. Wow! My Kleenex is loaded with snot and tears at the reality of the gifts given to us in Divine Service. As a former Calvinist doctrine was a philosophical matter. We were proud to show how well our i’s were dotted and our t’s were crossed. Everything was done in the Divine Council before the beginning of time. Your life on earth was about your gratitude and your glorifying God. The reformed worship is a play of things past, it is not about what is happening in this very moment. As a Lutheran all the realities of Christ and His gifts are given to me in real time over and over. I’m not sure if I like the Wilson’s worship as a battering ram against Hell’s Gate as opposed to the DS is God’s gift of Christ coming to us as a loving father cares for his own dear children. God can do what he wants with the devil; after all it’s His devil. Wilson says “we are taking another swing” no thanks. That’s glory talk. Pastor M I appreciate you trying to include a Reformed pastors quote. I agree that his complaint against some new worship ideas are not good. However he says “dopey skits” but what is dopier than making a worship service a play about the past and denying it’s power; the power to REALLY Forgive Sins and to REALLY eat flesh and drink blood? Mike Horton, Doug Wilson and other Reformed guys may have some good quotes but their theology of Limited Atonement and flimsy sacraments have destroyed the faith of some. I fear giving cred to any of their comments lead to justifying their “ministries.”
    Reformed worship “may” look like Lutheran worship but: The Reformed reenact forgiveness of sins, memorialize the Body and Blood and they preach what happened two thousand years ago. Lutherans RECEIVE the Forgiveness of Sins, the True Body and Blood of Christ and are truly connected to the Father through His Son in the power of the Spirit.
    Sorry for being such a butt about this….I nearly lost all hope because of my Reformed background. So yes I need Kleenex on Sunday mornings. The DS is just that real to me!

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