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  • « The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Source of the Christian Mission | Main | Question Concerning Man's Inability »



    Sunday, December 13
    5 Points Media presents
    Featuring leading atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian apologist Douglas Wilson
    Doors at 6 p.m.; event at 7 p.m. | $5 | Minor with parent

    In May 2007, leading atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian apologist Douglas Wilson began to argue the topic "Is Christianity Good for the World?" in a series of written exchanges published in Christianity Today. The rowdy literary bout piqued the interest of filmmaker Darren Doane, who sought out Hitchens and Wilson to pitch the idea of making a film around the debate.

    In Fall 2008, Doane and crew accompanied Hitchens and Wilson on an east coast tour to promote the book compiled from their written debate titled creatively enough, Is Christianity Good for the World?. "I loved the idea of putting one of the beltway's most respected public intellectuals together with an ultra-conservative pastor from Idaho that looks like a lumberjack", says Doane. "You couldn't write two characters more contrary. What's more real than a fight between two guys who are on complete opposite sides of the fence on the most divisive issue in the world? We were ready to make a movie about two intellectual warriors at the top of their game going one-on-one. I knew it would make an amazing film."

    In Christopher Hitchens, Doane found a celebrated prophet of atheism. Loud. Funny. Angry. Smart. Quick. An intimidating intellectual Goliath. Well-known for bullying and mocking believers into doubt and doubters into outright unbelief. In Douglas Wilson, Doane found the man who could provide a perfect intellectual, philosophical, and cinematic counterpoint to Hitchens' position and style. A trained philosopher and and deft debater. Big, bearded, and jolly. A pastor, a contrarian, a humorist--an unintimidated outsider, impossible to bully, capable of calling Hitchens a puritan (over a beer).

    It was a collision of lives.

    What Doane didn't expect was how much Hitchens and Wilson would have in common and the respectful bond the new friend/foes would build through the course of the book tour. "These guys ended up at the bar laughing, joking, drinking. There were so many things that they had in common", according to Doane. "Opinions on history and politics. Literature and poetry. They agreed on so many things. Except on the existence of God."

    Visit for more information.

    Christopher Hitchens (b. April 13, 1949) is a popular political journalist and the author of several books, including "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything". Hitchens is regarded as one of the most fundamental figures of modern atheism. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly and Slate, Hitchens also appears regularly on The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, Washington Journal, and Real Time with Bill Maher. He was named one of the US's "25 Most Influential Liberals" by Forbes and one of the world's "Top 100 Public Intellectuals" by Foreign Policy. Hitchens lives in Washington, DC.

    Douglas Wilson (b. June 18, 1953) is a pastor of Christ Church, editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine, and a Senior Fellow at New Saint Andrews College. A prolific writer, he is the author of many books, including The Case for Classical Christian Education, Letter from a Christian Citizen, Reforming Marriage and Heaven Misplaced: Christ's Kingdom on Earth. Wilson lives in Moscow, Idaho.

    Darren Doane is a Los Angeles-based independent filmmaker. Doane made his name as a music video director. His work for Blink-182, AFI, Jimmy Eat World and Pennywise is credited for helping bring punk rock into the mainstream in the 1990s. His previous documentary film, The Battle For LA, explored the underground battle rap scene in Los Angeles. Doane is currently in production on the documentary film To Be Born Again about legendary musician Van Morrison and has also written and directed several feature films, including Godmoney, 42K and Black Friday.

    COLLISION: Is Christianity Good for the World? (DVD)

    Posted by John on December 10, 2009 04:42 PM


    It's too bad that heretics are almost invariably chosen to give voice to Christianity.

    Doug Wilson is the leading proponent of the Federal Vision heresy.

    In Christ,

    Coram Deo

    Yes, I think most of our readers are well aware that Douglas Wilson is a proponent of FV and that many of this theology's positions are harmful to the vitals of Christianity.



    I surely hope that Reformation Theology's readers are aware that this is the case with Doug Wilson and his theology, but it seems that they would be required to discover this information elsewhere, since it's not found at this blog.

    With this in mind, would you care to offer an explanation as to why videos, links, and other favorable references to Doug Wilson, who proffers heresy, appear with regularity, yet without caveat, here at Reformation Theology?

    In Christ,

    Coram Deo

    Thanks again for your concern. I believe, anyone who is familiar with, which is the website that powers this blog, will be acutely aware that we have perhaps the most extensive resource database anywhere on the web which critiques NPP.

    The reason his video is posted is because it it is excellent. His ability to engage people respectfully with presuppositional apologetics is one of the best we have heard. This does not mean we subscribe to his theology. But when someone does something right, we recommend it.

    If I were to remove all the people I disagreed with on something at, we would have almost no website at all.


    Pope Benedict XVI maintains a substantially orthodox and Biblical view of the doctrine of the Trinity, the virgin birth, and the deity of Christ. Pope Benedict has this much "right", yet I've not seen any recommendations of his "correct" Romanist dogma here at Reformation Theology - and presumably I never will.

    To be honest I'm disappointed with the stawman argument contained in your last sentence. At no time did I suggest that you, or, "remove all the people [you] disagreed with on something."

    That's really a stunningly intellectually dishonest tactic, John.

    We're not talking about the proper mode of baptism, or open vs. closed communion, or differences about eschatological schemes here, we're talking about fundamental issues of justification.

    As you know, believers can and do disagree in good conscience on a host of peripheral issues, but when we're dealing with soteriology we're dealing with central, foundational, primary issue that representa the line of demarcation between eternal life, and eternal damnation.

    Seemingly, at least in the case of Doug Wilson, you're either unable or unwilling to distinguish the difference between peripheral doctrinal disagreements and soul damning error.

    In closing I'll simply note that the Apostle Paul didn't view the Galatian Judaizers as sympathetically and generously as you seem to view their modern day counterparts.

    In Christ,

    Coram Deo

    With all respect to you brother, your last post is deeply flawed, in my estimation.IN this instance I fear you may lack the ability to recognize the difference between inconsistency and damnable heresy.

    Consider, Arminians are also guilty of the Galatian heresy in their theology of perseverance. If Arminian believers embrace the idea that you can lose your salvation then, by definition, they must also believe that what Jesus did was insufficient to save them completely and thus they are trusting partly in themselves to persevere to the end. A clear indication of Gal 3 heresy. Yet we give them the benefit of the doubt as individual believers because they are inconsistent in this belief. Any of them would also tell you they have no hope save in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Yet their theology denies it. Does this mean you relegate all Arminians into damned souls as well? If you are consistent with your above argument you will indeed do so.

    I frankly get bored with the direction of this discussion Why so eager to call someone "stunningly dishonest" without taking the time to understand their position?. why immediately impute the worst motives to others?

    This sidetracked discussion reminded me of an article I wrote a few years ago here: "Learning from People with Bad Theology."

    Has anyone seen the movie yet? Care to comment on the content of it? Or shall we just speculate about the subtle influence of those with whom we disagree?

    One of the great proponents of sola fide (justification by faith alone) is Dr. R. C. Sproul and it is interesting to me that Doug Wilson is a frequent guest speaker at Ligonier Conferences. Surely Sproul is alert to heresy on this issue yet he certainly would seem to embrace Doug Wilson as a brother.


    Of course you know, now Sproul is guilty by association with Wilson. ;)


    This will be my last word on the subject as it wasn't my intent to bore you, or to hijack your thread.

    I don't know, nor have I intimated that I know, the eternal trajectory of Doug Wilson's soul. I suppose it's possible that he's a regenerated believer who just so happens to teach soul damning error, but I don't find any scriptural support for the existence of such a creature; however with God all things are possible.

    The same thing goes for Arminians. Individual Arminians may be saved by the grace of God despite the error they've embraced. This is also arguable for inconsistent Romanists.

    But whereas we lack the ability to know who indivdidually comprise God's elect, we nevertheless do have scriptural precedent wherein false teachers within the professing church are to be sharply rebuked for teaching false doctrines. This applies to Doug Wilson, Arminians, Romanists, Word of Faithers, and sadly many others besides.

    Lastly with respect to my identfication of your strawman tactic and labelling as intellectually dishonest - which I believe it was - and noting that it stunned me - which it did - I should have applied the rule of charity when addressing a brother in Christ, and for that I repent and sincerely apologize.

    In Christ,

    Coram Deo,

    Thank you for your kind response. Apology accepted.

    It should be noted that my response to you, I believe, was not a straw man tactic - or any kind of tactic for that matter. Rather, you may wish to consider that we simply have different convictions on how to treat people we think are inconsistent on the gospel. Like I said, we post good articles all the time from people we disagree with, even on matters of critical importance. For example, If an Arminian posts a clear presentation of the gospel, we do not remove it simply because He is in error on something else. Likewise Douglas Wilson has a great ability to communicate presuppositional. apologetics. In Wilson's so called "damning error" we believe he is inconsistent in applying this, so it is not a clear cut as you seem to be making it, imho. If you asked Wilson, "Do you believe that you have no hope at all save in the mercy of Jesus Christ alone?" I am confident he would respond in the affirmative, even though his theology may not consistently apply this principle. We heavily promote our disagreement with him on FV elsewhere. But, this does not mean he has nothing valuable too add. If you disagree, I understand. No worries.

    Blessings to you and your family

    The following are some thoughts by Nathan Lewis, after the showing of Collision in Portland the other night.

    Atheists & Christians Dialogue in Portland

    Last night several hundred atheists and Christians viewed Collision at the Bagdad in Portland. In the backstage bar, at the conclusion of the film my dream came true: 30-40 atheists engaged in lively, in-depth conversation with four Christians, myself included! One person described for me the glue holding his atheist friends together: “Nathan, our group shares one thing in common - we disagree with you. In most other respects we are totally different.” Another person described himself as a doubting Thomas said, “Nathan, you should feel the weight of your responsibility to provide me with the evidence I need to become a Christian.” Another person said, “You can believe whatever you like, just don’t twist the facts, or manipulate me.”
    The film, Collision, did its intended job of getting the dialogue going. Christopher Hitchens says that Christianity is immoral in that it relieves its followers of their responsibility for their actions. Douglas Wilson says that the universe doesn’t care about immorality and so he wonders why atheists care. He thinks that atheists have to borrow their morality from Christianity and then use it to accuse Christians of immorality. At the Back Stage Bar, the atheists I talked to, presented themselves as morally responsible individuals. One person claimed that as an atheist, he has been far more morally responsible than he ever was in his fundamentalist Christian past. Another person told me that as a Christian he became increasingly frustrated in his attempts to mobilize his fellow Christians to undertake evangelistic and apologetic missions. In his experience, his fellow Christians did not care to share their faith, proclaim the gospel or interact with lost souls. In his new atheist community he has found freedom from this lack of responsibility.
    The eight individuals I spoke to at length, all describing themselves as atheist, all have a Christian past. Part of each of their stories is bitter disappointment with the community of faith. They have been hurt, frustrated, betrayed, and used. They reference their experience and at the same time, they insist that they have come ’round to atheism through a purely rational process, an intellectual pilgrimage. These few line up with most agnostics I have conversed with over the years. Broken relationships, dreams destroyed, religious hypocrisy have been a part of the cause, indeed a much more significant part of the shift from theism to atheism than is admitted. Of course, I can not speak for the entire atheist community. I am sure that there are those who have come to it through a purely intellectual exercise, if such a path exists.
    One of the beautiful aspects of the growing atheist community is its insistence that we should all speak our minds plainly and not take offense with the person who disagrees with us. Such intellectual integrity is valued, though difficult for most polite, well-trained Americans to pull off consistently. Nevertheless, last night at the Back Stage Bar, we enjoyed the space we made for such lively dialogue. I discovered that these atheists, who were formerly Christians, became sick and tired of the silence and the spinning of substantive issues in the church, stifling, if not shutting down the dialogue, the conversation, the space necessary for intellectual, even relational pursuit. At the Bagdad last night we made a little space, which expanded at the Back Stage Bar. Hopefully, in the future, we can continue to meet and to expand this space.

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