Moscow’s Trinity Festival Features Fraudulent Calvinists and Questionable Trinitarians





Nick Gier, Professor Emeritus, University of Idaho


Read here for more on
the Wilson Controversy


            Douglas Wilson, pastor of
Moscow’s Christ Church and speaker at the Trinity Festival (August
6-8, 2007), calls himself a "crawling-over-cut-glass"
Calvinist.  Wilson has also authored a book entitled The Serrated Edge,
but he is much more adept in using this weapon than Jesus allegedly was.


Most conservative
Calvinists, however, have not been impressed with Wilson’s crooked sword.  A
Salt Lake City congregation of the conservative Orthodox Presbyterian Church has
criticized Wilson for "false reports," "misrepresentations," and defending
himself with "sophistry and word games that should be an embarrassment for
elders of a Church of Christ." 


In June of 2002,
the Reformed Presbyterian Church of the United States declared that Wilson�s
teaching �has the effect of destroying the Reformed Faith through the
introduction of false . . . principles." Most
recently, delegates at the June, 2007 meeting of the conservative Presbyterian
Church in America (PCA) overwhelmingly rejected Wilson’s version of John
Calvin’s theology.  Out of 1,400 delegates in attendance, one observer counted
less than fifty votes for Wilson and his associates.


            Ironically, the detailed
doctrinal debate revealed that there was not much "cut glass" in Wilson’s
so-called "Federal Vision," which gives a very un-American, collectivist view of
human responsibility. Interestingly enough, a federal government is evil, but a
federal God and family is the supreme good.


Of central concern
for the PCA delegates was Wilson’s very liberal definition of who is saved.  For
Wilson one is fully justified and sanctified simply by being baptized in any
Christian denomination.  Not much cut glass on this road through a very wide
gate of salvation.


Wilson is not a
PCA member and enjoys total immunity in his own Confederation of Reformed
Evangelical Churches. However, Peter Leithart, Wilson’s right-hand theologian at
his own New St. Andrews College (NSA), and good friend Steve Wilkins are PCA


In a recent letter
to the Pacific Northwest Presbytery, Leithart essentially dares the PCA to
discipline him. In 2005, Wilkins survived a heresy trial by his own Louisiana
Presbytery, but even in exoneration, Wilkins was warned of his problematic views
on the baptism. For a denomination that emphasizes adherence to religious
doctrine rather than religious practice, excommunication is a real possibility
for Leithart and Wilkins, who are featured speakers at this year’s Trinity


            Since 1994 Wilkins and other
radical right Christians have come to Moscow for what was originally called a
"history" conference. The topic of the 1994 meeting was slavery in the
Antebellum South.  Drawing on their conference papers, Wilson and Wilkins
co-authored a booklet Southern Slavery As It Was, published by Wilson’s
own Canon Press in 1996. 


The authors argued
that Bible supported owning slaves and that the Antebellum South was the most
harmonious multiracial society in world history. Several years ago, Wilson
removed the booklet from circulation citing "documentation" problems, a
euphemism for the embarrassing fact that Wilkins had lifted 20 percent of the
text from another book on slavery.


            Although not on the official
agenda, many PCA members know of the slavery booklet and have condemned it as
inconsistent with the PCA’s 2004 Pastoral Letter on Racism. Echoing the Southern
Baptists’ 1995 Racial Reconciliation Resolution, the PCA confessed that its
churches participated in "the national sin" of racism and slavery.  PCA members
have also condemned Wilson’s book The Serrated Edge, in which he argues
that Jesus himself employed racial epithets.


            The words "trinity" and "trinitarian"
are found everywhere in the literature of Wilson’s K-12 schools, college, and
church.  NSA’s President Roy Atwood has toured the country extolling the virtues
of "trinitarian" accreditation, which must somehow overcome the academic
deficiencies of the 40 Bible Colleges, NSA is among them, approved by the
Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. 


            In October, 2003, NSA Senior
Fellow Douglas Jones and I started a long, drawn-out debate on the Trinity.  I
was shocked at Jones’ poor performance in defending a doctrine so central to his
church.  In four exchanges of views (,
Jones could not formulate a coherent defense of the Trinity and refused to
answer my arguments against his views.


            Most importantly, Jones failed
to clarify strong implications in both his and Wilson’s writings that indicated
three separate divine beings rather than a three-in-one unity with a single
will.  Most distressing was Jones’ recommendation of an author who declared that
defining Christianity as a monotheistic religion was a mistake.


            As hundreds of Wilson’s
followers come to the Palouse this coming week, Moscow’s citizens should ponder
the negative implications of a nationally discredited pastor and Christian
nationalist with anti-democratic views, who is head of an expanding college and
owner of more and more downtown real estate.

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