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The one thing I wish DeYoung had done was be more clear about the moral weight of his concerns. By employing reductionist terms like "tone" and "mood," he implied that the issues at hand are merely about style or manners, when they are actually about orthopraxy. Orthopraxy is just as important as orthodoxy. For example, the biblical mandate is not just speaking the truth (orthodoxy), but doing so in love (orthopraxy). And to borrow language from James 2:26, "truth without love is dead."

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Samuel, I hope you will consider that in your own piece you subtly shift Rachel's statement ("Doug Wilson says unsubmissive women deserve to be raped.") to something she did not say ("she accused Wilson of wanting women to be raped"). There is a sizeable difference between saying something is "deserved" and "wanting" that thing. It makes it seem that you are being either careless or purposefully shifting things in how you are talking about Rachel.

In fact, Wilson's words (which Rachel links to) include Wilson talking about how women who refuse male headship "tacitly agree on the propriety of rape." I do agree with you that Rachel knew what she was doing: she was pointing out the problematic things in Wilson's theology.

Rachel's read there is at least as fair as the read you are giving Rachel, it seems to me.

It's also possible that's just a slip on your part. Maybe you didn't expect so many people in the audience when you invoked RHE and wrote that you "don't want to speak ill of the dead, BUT."

In any case, I think it would be completely appropriate for you to edit that bit on this post. Or, even better, I think you could make your case without using Rachel at the center of it. Wilson has a long, long list of pubic detractors going back a long time. I sincerely doubt Rachel is single-handedly responsible for his descent in incendiary rhetoric.

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Saying someone “deserves” something is not the same as saying you “want” it so it seems to me what RHE said DW said is misrepresented here.

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I think what makes me a bit uncomfortable with this post is the sense that RHE dragged Wilson down in their online sparring. I feel this is unfair to Evans. I was often very frustrated with her mode of discourse and felt she heavily employed strawman arguments and mischaracterizations of her opponents. So I'm not saying this as someone who would have ever identified as one of her biggest fans. But the feel of this piece is that she was a causative agent in Wilson's transformation. He was "up here" somewhere, some better position or place, but she brought him down to "her level."

I just don't buy that. I think your larger point is that social media and online combat is deformative. I agree with that point! But this makes it sound like social media combat with RHE in particular was deformative. Like she was particularly the problem. I don't agree with that. I think Wilson is combative and delights in combat and shock (and a bunch of other things I don't want to get into right now). I think these are things in his character already there. I don't think that was about her at all, though I think this piece makes it appear it was. I do agree that online tangling is deformative, though. And I wouldn't be surprised if you could track such deformation in his writing over time. I don't have the stomach to chart it in Wilson's writings, though. No thanks.

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No. Rachel Held Evans's criticisms of Wilson were not slanderous. That's a preposterous claim to make, really.

And, more to the point, Wilson's follies didn't start after his tangling with her, as you suggest. He had been writing pro-Confederate, pro-slavery propaganda well before this, among writing and doing other harmful things. At most, one could say that this only aggravated him further... and even so, calling him out was the right thing to do.

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After reading KDY's piece and thinking back on what I know of Doug Wilson from reading his stuff here and there, I couldn't help but I think, "This guy spends way too much time on the internet." I think you hit the nail on the head with this piece and your previous one.

While we cannot pretend to live in a world without the internet, we need to realize the internet is not the real world. This is especially true of pastors who need to realize their people sit in the chairs in front of them on a Sunday and not on their screens. However, I think the church at large needs to learn this lesson too. How much of this "culture war" and fretting over the downfall of our civilization that Christians are screaming about is really just because of what they see on their social media feeds? We are truly being shaped by the internet. And the scariest part of it all is that it's not real. We are being shaped by and into an illusion.

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Having been a firsthand witness to the fallout of that piece via the notifications for TGC’s Twitter - and being able to sense, in real time, the impact it was having on me - this is a wonderful breath of fresh air. Thank you for writing this.

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Working my way through the Gospel of John again, the Great Big Picture ‘Window’ of Christ’s ministry, the Son of God’s’ Son of Man ministry, and reading daily news along side, I am constantly reminded to mentally ask, WWJD?, “What Would Jesus Do (say)? Jesus had that perfect balance of “grace and truth”; it is a fine line of response from the our Defender of the Faith, Christ Jesus, our model of righteousness.

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Astute and on-point as always, Sam. Thanks for your deftness on this topic.

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I was trying to remember where I'd heard of Evans before and now remember. I didn't follow the drama, but I can see where trying to engage in that sort of dirty fighting will have an effect on people. I appreciate the reminder that it's easy to get sucked down into the world when we engage that way.

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Are you ever kind? Nearly every post I ever read from you is condemning and mean. A few months ago, you attacked single women (that post can be found here on his Substack, everyone), and now you're attacking RHE for challenging Doug Wilson, who basically runs a cult. You are such an unserious person.

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"then we have to ask very serious questions about whether it is possible to become worldly while fighting worldliness."- This is such an important question to ask ourselves on a regular basis. Great, thoughtful article.

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AMEN!! I only read the blogs of people with whom I agree, not just for the sake of my blood pressure! We live in depraved times and the internet tragically proves that point - why we ought to listen constantly to Samuel James! Praying for you brother!

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Well written, brother. Sadly, this is a typical internet "comments" section where people get so hung up on a single word, or point they disagree with, that they miss the important overarching point being made. This was an important reminder about how internet disagreements can quickly turn toxic and all-consuming. Without a flesh-and-blood human in front of us we are much more likely to mischaracterize, dehumanize, and disparage others, all while never having to see, in person, the impact of our words. I'm grateful for the reminder to consider these interactions and the time/energy I spend on them.

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Public scrutiny & critique of public figures offering teaching to many is not "targeting."

Not many should be teachers for they will be subject to greater judgment.

If people perceive they are being misrepresented, they are free to respond in the public square. That's how public discourse works. And if Doug got "down and dirty" in his vengeful responses, how is that anyone's responsibility but his own?

Don't like scrutiny? Don't pedestal yourself to teach others how to raise children, be married, or, for that matter, write that everyone who doesn't agree with you isn't a Christian, as Doug did only last week.

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