Another Non-Reply . . . And The Victims Are Still Under the Bus

Wilson is a master in cranking out non-replies, that I will cede. And of lousy thinking. And of evasion. I am blessed, though, that this time I didn’t have to read too much of it. Only three points, none of which is relevant to the issue, and none of which answers the problem I posted in my original critique.

It turned out Wilson hasn’t read that article. Ironically, because right before I wrote my reply, I had a small PM exchange with one of Wilson’s fans – or “followers,” if you believe he is a “leader.” The Wilson’s fan asked me if I’d read what Wilson had written, and if I hadn’t, I had no right to criticize him. I responded that Wilson hadn’t even read my article. The fan used those exact words to assure me that they meant he has. The words were rather ambiguous, so I accepted that might be the case. After all, who would imagine that Wilson would speak authoritatively without reading?

So I was right, originally. Wilson hasn’t read that article. He just imagined what my responses would be, without actually making the effort to get informed. Why would he? I mean, it’s not like his purpose is to be an honest church minister. One doesn’t need intellectual integrity to gather a “following,” after all.

I don’t expect that fan of Wilson to apologize. Cultic followers of celebrity-types never do. They never even realize they are using double standard: what their beloved celebrity can get away with, his opponents shouldn’t be allowed to. Over the years, I have been asked the same question over and over again when pointing to false teachings by celebrities: “Have you read all of his stuff?” Wilson’s “followers” have asked me the same question many times. Now, there, their own man says he made a decision without reading. I don’t expect an apology. That’s how the celebrity cult works in the US. Idolatry is always schizophrenic.

But, hey, Wilson has much to say, right? And that without even knowing what he is responding to. Typical. Don’t expect his fans to grill him for his making uninformed judgments; that’s not how the celebrity cult works.

His answer to my point about the rape scenario is such a perfect example of lousy thinking, it deserves full quoting here:

Second, in the rape scenario from Deuteronomy that Bojidar brought up, he did not answer the point I made at all. The case law there has a situation where the man is guilty of a capital crime under either scenario. You believe the woman in that situation because the fact of intercourse is granted by all the parties, but because there were no witnesses there is no basis for charging the woman with complicity. The man is guilty under both scenarios, and the woman is guilty only in one. Once this point is grasped, Bojidar’s whole point falls apart.

My point falls apart? How so? If anything, it proves my point. The case is like murder, according to the Law. The fact of the rape is not contested, just as the fact of a dead body is not contested. The rapist is like the killer. The rapist is considered guilty by default, no matter what; ergo, the killer is considered guilty by default. The girl is the victim, just like the dead man is the victim. The victim is considered innocent by default in both cases, . . . unless . . . one can bring another set of witnesses to testify against the victim.

To repeat it again, for Wilson, may be this time he’ll get it: The perpetrator (killer or rapist) is guilty by default once his identity and the fact of the crime are known. The victim (dead man or raped girl) is innocent by default. The supposed guilt of the victim (aggressive behavior by the dead man or willingness of the girl) is a matter of a separate case and demands its own set of witnesses to be proven.

So, to return to that cop, yes, we can condemn that cop. The fact of the killing is not disputed. The identity of the killer is not disputed. Now, if the dead man asked for it, this is a separate case. Bring your own witnesses, and let’s hear them.

I mean, lousy thinking can be very lousy, but I don’t think it can get any lousier than defeating your own case with your own words.

And third, of course, finally, Wilson does side with the victims. He just often doesn’t know who the victim is. Because the Bible doesn’t clearly define who the victim is, when one person is killed. I can help him. The victim, by default, is the one without a pulse. By default. Unless there is evidence against him. Just like the victim of rape is the one on the receiving side. Unless, of course, there is evidence against her. That’s how simple it is, Biblically.

As if being exposed once for putting words in my mouth was not enough, Wilson goes for it again:

Under Bojidar’s approach, if a man defends himself in a deserted place, and kills his assailant, then he must be tried and executed unless he can come up with witnesses to testify that he was in fact defending himself. His crime? Being waylaid in a deserted place.

Is that my approach, really? Let’s see what I said, in the article that Wilson did indeed read:

So, the three facts that need to be known are these: (1) the fact of the crime, (2) the identity of the killer, (3) the nature of the weapon.

Look at number 2: the identity of the killer. How do we establish the identity of the killer in that situation? If there are no independent witnesses, that second fact is not known for sure. The killer may be guilty, may not be guilty, no one knows. Unfortunately, in this case, the judges will have to let God decide.

Can that compare to murder by a cop where the identity of the killer is known beyond any doubt, and there are witnesses? No. Then why is Wilson using it as an example, and why is he putting words in my mouth?

In the final account, the victims are still under the bus. Wilson’s excuse? “We have to prove first that they are victims.” Not much of a “siding” with them, is it?


  • I want to make sure I’m characterizing your argument properly. You argue from Numbers 35:15 that all killings with a weapon (an object specifically designed to kill) are murder, and the killer should be prosecuted if it is possible to establish the fact of the killing, the identify of the killer, and the nature of the weapon. Is that correct?

    If so, I believe your premise is flawed. Biblically, it is not true that all killings with a weapon are murder. As one example, see Exodus 32:26-29. The Levites are commanded to take up swords and kill their fellow Israelites for idolatry, and God blesses them for doing so. As another example, how about Numbers 25:7-12? Phinehas kills an Israelite man and a Midianite woman with a spear, and is commended by God.

    If it is possible to kill with a weapon without that killing being murder, than the three facts you outline are not sufficient to establish guilt.

    Any thoughts?

    • My premise is not flawed, your understanding of the case is.

      Very obvious, we are talking here about killing by a private individual, not about execution of criminals following a court’s verdict. (Moses was the Supreme Court in Israel.) The examples you give are not relevant to our cases.

      • Hi Bojidar, thanks for the response. So, we agree that there are situations where killing a man with a weapon is by definition not murder (such as a court-ordered execution), and some where it is.

        So, a key question is: into which category does a killing by a police officer fall? Obviously there are some police killings that are murder, but some are necessary in the police officer’s role as an agent of the state. As two extreme examples, an off-duty police officer shooting his wife in anger would be murder, while a police sniper killing a terrorist would not.

        Because some police killings are murder, and some are not, it isn’t enough to answer your three questions (fact of killing, identify of killer, use of weapon) to determine whether a police killing is murder or not. We also have to determine the circumstances – was this a justified killing by an agent of the state (and thus not murder) or an excessive use of force (and thus murder)?

        To put it another way, the parallel between police killing and rape from the Deuteronomy passage strikes me as flawed. It isn’t a question of the presence of testimony, it’s a question of the legality of the act itself. Adultery/fornication was a crime for the man regardless of whether it was consensual. Killing by a police officer may be a crime or it may not. In the case of rape, the conversation is:
        Court: “This woman accuses you of raping her, for which the penalty is death.”
        Defendant: “It wasn’t rape. We had sex, but it was consensual.”
        Court: “Very well. You are acquitted of the charge of rape, and are now sentenced to death for adultery [or fornication].”

        In the case of a police killing, the conversation is:
        Court: “You are accused of murdering a private citizen.”
        Officer: “It wasn’t murder. I did kill him, but he was threatening other citizens, and killing him was necessary to protect them.
        Court: “Very well. You are acquitted of the charge of murder.”

        • All this is already covered and answered in my articles, including the one Wilson didn’t read.

          Do you want me to post all 12,000+ words of these articles here to answer your questions, or do you want to make the effort to read before you argue with me?

          The parallel strikes you as flawed because you haven’t understood it, and you are trying to make up a parallel that is irrelevant to the specific issue at hand. I am not going to repeat myself.

          • Hi Bojidar,
            Fair enough. I went back and read your longer article. For the sake of an argument, I will grant your main point – that the modern police force as an arm of the executive branch is unbiblical, and that outside of acting as agents of the judiciary or halting crimes in progress, police should fall under the same standards of law as private citizens.

            But even in that case, there are situations where police have a legitimate need to use force, and even deadly force. As you say in your article, “The lawful use of weapons and killing, of course, is in self-defense.” So if an officer observes a citizen in the act of commiting a crime, and the citizen threatens the life of the officer (by drawing a gun, for instance), the officer may need to resort to lethal force for self-defense.

            Because there are situations where a police officer can lawfully use lethal force, it is not enough to establish that an officer killed a citizen with a gun to assign moral/legal guilt to the officer (your Numbers 35:15 argument). We still need to know the situation.


          • No, we need to declare the killer a murderer and try him. If the situation is different, the burden of proof is on him to accuse the victim and prove his accusation.

  • Hello, Bojidar. I want to begin by saying that I have deep respect for both you and Douglas Wilson. As someone who is new to both postmillenialism and theonomy, I have learned a lot by reading and listening to men such as yourselves and I am grateful to both of you for the work you’ve produced and made available. Thus, it is somewhat disconcerting to me as a young “convert” to these doctrines to see the two of you at odds like this.

    Having read all of the relevant articles (and listened to your podcast “Should We Have Police?”), I have come to three conclusions:

    1.) Your arguments about biblical law as it relates to murder and the modern police state are compelling and I find myself siding with your interpretation.

    2.) I also agree with you that Douglas Wilson did not fully understand your argument and missed the mark in his responses.

    3.) It is with great humility and respect for you that I say this, but I believe you went beyond simply having a theological disagreement with Wilson and resorted to personal attacks against the man’s character.

    So, in regard to what was argued (the content of the argument), I think you are right. But as to how it was conveyed, I think you were wrong and it may have contributed to Wilson not taking you seriously enough. That’s not to say he ought to be let off the hook (I posted a comment on his blog as well), but I think a lot of the tension and confusion here could have been avoided if you would have voiced your disagreement with Wilson in a more cordial and respectful way – even if you didn’t feel he deserves it.

    If you don’t see any merit to what I’m saying, may I humbly suggest meditating on 2 Timothy 2:24-26 and going back over your past few blog posts to see if it characterizes what you wrote or not. If you still think I’m off, well so be it.

    If you would like me to be more specific or you’re not sure what I mean by “personal attacks” then I can go into more detail about what I’m seeing and how I’m perceiving it. Anyway, this is getting long, so I’ll just live it at that for now. Please know that I am only writing this out of the respect I have for you and the desire I have for more people to hear and consider what you have to say. Have a great day.

    • Could be. Although, “how it was conveyed” is a personal bias and could easily be culturally conditioned. Like political correctness.

      I personally find Wilson unworthy of better treatment. In my personal view, the man lacks the dignity which would require better treatment. A man who has changed his positions multiple times, according to how it suits him, and likes to speak out of both ends of his mouth, is not worthy of a better treatment.

      Other than that, I am not trying to change your opinion of him personally.

      • I agree that personal biases and political correctness can condition our perceptions. But I’m not making an appeal based on what I personally find distasteful or any kind of social convention that says you have to handle a man’s ego with kit gloves. Such things are malleable and undermined by individual sensitivities (and I think you and I both agree that American men in general are too sensitive).

        However, when Scripture does, in fact, speak about “how” we are to handle ourselves in when someone disagrees with us or opposes us, then we have an objective standard to go on. Surely you despise how modern Christians seek to negate or discount the law of God in favor of their own humanistic view of government or social policy. I would also hate to see us similarly render the Word of God meaningless by saying that this issue of “how” we communicate truth can only be evaluated on a subjective basis.

        Again, returning to 2 Timothy 2:24-26, do the Biblical terms like “kind to everyone” and “correcting with gentleness” not have objective meaning that transcends cultural influence? Are you saying that you were, indeed, “kind” and “gentle” with your instruction, but because of our cultural differences I did not perceive it as such? Or are you saying that Douglas Wilson has simply disqualified himself from receiving such treatment?

        (Just to be clear about the tone of these questions, I do not mean for them to sound sarcastic or accusatory in any way. They are a sincere attempt to understand exactly what you meant in your previous comment. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I don’t expect Pastor Wilson to even read my comment on his blog, much less respond. I hope you have a good weekend and that God continues to bless your ministry in Bulgaria.)

        • The question here is this: Are there Biblical examples of similar behavior towards people with similar immoral behavior and teaching like Wilson? Are there Biblical examples that, if transferred to our day, will sound unkind and unloving to you? If there are such examples, then you are not interpreting “kind” and “gentle” in a Biblical way.

          Biblically, false teachers are corrected in exactly the same way I correct Wilson, if not even harsher. I am on the kind and gentle side of the Bible in this regard. I could have called him worse and still be Biblical.

          • By “Biblical examples” are you referring to John the Baptist (Matthew 3) and Jesus (Matthew 23) and their rebuking of the Pharisees? If so, are you saying that Douglas Wilson is an unregenerate hypocrite who is hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

            I’m not saying that would make you “unkind” or “unloving.” Again, I’m just trying to make sure I’m following exactly what you mean. As I said earlier, I’m relatively new to this area of theology, so I don’t claim to be an expert on all of the personalities associated with the various viewpoints. I want to be open to all true information and avoid unwise loyalty to, as you put it, “celebrity preachers.”

            That said, until now I hadn’t encountered anything that would make me think Douglas Wilson is a false teacher. Even as I look at the blog posts the two of you exchanged, I only see him guilty of having holes in his theology (who doesn’t?) and unwisely responding to your argument without understanding it – neither of which would necessarily put him in such an extreme category. Do you have evidence that conclusively exposes heresy in Douglas Wilson? If so, I would be very interested to investigate it in light of Scripture. If not, I don’t see how you can call him a “false teacher.”

          • Issues of justice and righteousness are not “holes in theology.” Calling good evil and evil good is not “holes in theology.” Siding with the criminals against their victims is not “holes in theology.” Refusing to condemn a criminal based on the Biblical standard for justice but instead playing with technicalities based on humanistic standards of justice is not “holes in theology.”

            All these point not to a man whose theology is seepy, but to a man whose very understanding of justice and righteousness is deeply corrupt. It’s one thing to have your theological definitions messed up. It is another thing to call good evil and evil good, and to refuse to take sides where the Bible commands us to take sides.

  • When I refer to a “hole” in one’s theology I don’t mean to downplay it as an insignificant matter. As I’ve said from the start, I think you were right to confront it because it is an important matter with serious implications. I just think it’s a bit of a jump to conclude that Wilson is intentionally siding with the criminal over the victim and consciously refusing to condemn criminals based on the Biblical standard of justice. Respectfully, it looks like you’re judging his motives without sufficient basis.

    Was the conduct of Peter and other Jews intentionally hypocritical and out of step with the truth of the gospel when Paul had to confront them? (Galatians 2:11ff) Would it have been appropriate for Paul to call Peter and those other Jewish Christians “false teachers” in that moment? If so, I don’t see him doing that. He publicly confronts the inconsistent behavior and addresses the contradiction with sound theology, but he doesn’t call names or impugn their motives.

    The way I see it, both Peter (in his case) and Doug (in this case) are likely guilty of the same thing – acting and reasoning based on tradition rather than Scripture. If the Apostle Peter can resort to his previous social conditioning in the area of Jew/Gentile relations (especially in light of the personal revelation he had received on this matter), then is it not possible that something similar is going on with Wilson (and MANY other pastors in America) in the area of police, considering how we are conditioned to view men and women in uniform?

    If there is even that possibility, doesn’t it call for a different sort of confrontation than when dealing with the Pharisees who were in clear opposition to Jesus and His Gospel? Should we not give the benefit of the doubt to those who profess to believe in justification by grace alone through faith alone (as Wilson does) and exercise more patience with them when they are in error?

    • So if I called Wilson a hypocrite, you would gladly agree I was right and save me this discussion?

      There is a huge difference between Peter and Wilson. Peter immediately repented of his hypocrisy. Wilson, on the other side, decided to defend himself, even though it is obvious that his position is not Biblical.

      So I was right about Wilson’s motives. If his reply was, “I’m sorry, I was wrong,” then your arguments would have held water. Wilson has still not repented for his siding with the criminals against victims. There is no way for you to legitimately claim it is unconscious social conditioning. It is very clearly a deliberate anti-Biblical position, from beginning to end, of siding with criminals in power. Thus, I am correct to call him a false teacher.

      There is no patience shown by God in the Bible to teachers. To whom more is given, more shall be required. Teachers get heavier condemnation. If the Bible is clear about it, and if you are trying to make me have patience toward a teacher who should know better than both of us, then you are really obeying your cultural bias – and may be even your celebrity worship – not the Bible. Thus, I am not only free to ignore your admonition, I am Biblically obligated to reject it.

  • I’m not sure why you insinuate possible “celebrity worship” on my part as I have not tried to defend Wilson’s actions in any way. My main concern throughout this dialogue has been honoring God and His Word when correcting someone like Wilson when he is in error. My thoughts on how he ought to be treated are based on how I think the Bible instructs us in such cases, regardless of how many people know their name. Clearly you and I have different ideas about what the Bible tells us in this area, but neither of us seems to be convincing the other. Perhaps a face-to-face conversation would have been more fruitful for one or both of us.

    I respect the work you do and do not want to waste your time, so this will be my last comment on this issue. I’m sorry if I have gone too far or have been guilty of knit-picking. Thank you for demonstrating the patience to reply to my comments again and again.

    • I take back the comment on celebrity worship. Indeed, you have not tried to defend Wilson’s actions, so the comment was unnecessary.

      The cultural bias still remains. The Bible is clear that teachers who deviate from the truth are to be condemned more harshly. There is no Biblical reason for you to request such patience towards Wilson. While celebrity worship is indeed clearly excluded in your case (and I was wrong to bring it up), the cultural bias still remains.

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