A critique of Pastors Wilson and Sumpter on COVID-19

New Warhorn Media post by Josh Congrove:


In Letters on May 19:

RE Masking the Masquerade – I agree with your position on masks. What is the proper response when your church leaders are telling members they have to wear masks? I’m struggling with the proper response. Appreciate your thoughts.


Wilson responded:

Mark, I would tell them that the Surgeon General cautions us about wearing masks, and Romans 13.

This was well after the Surgeon General had changed his position on masks. On April 3 he published this video on how to make your own masks:

I’m struggling to understand how Wilson could be unaware of this a month later. Was he being facetious?


No. Just unhelpful. The point he was making was the same one that has been made ad nauseum: that the rulers changed their minds on masks. Everybody knew that.

But this is his response to a serious question: What should I say to my elders?

“Naaa-naaa-na poo-poo. I am submitting to the authorities. They’re idiots. Hardy har har.”

Can you imagine being an elder and having a member give you such a smart-ass response? Can you imagine telling people to talk to their elders that way?


By rational midwest standards, Moscow is unhinged. However, Moscow is not a small town on the edge of the Minnesotan prairie where all the children are above average. If what little I’ve seen of Moscow (all 2nd hand) is true, then Wilson & co. live in a Karen-town.

What Wilson & co. have missed, I think, is that their situation is not universal. They make universal statements that are not universally applicable. While some of us roll our eyes at our governor’s justifications for wearing masks, we wear them anyway, to give honor to whom honor is due. While our authorities may not be on the right track, they are not insufferable ninnies. They’re simply wrong, not maliciously wrong.

I think Moscow is bewildered by Bloomington’s response because, frankly, they’ve been making the broadest possible statements for years, with no pushback from well-reasoned men, until now.


I think that’s right. It’s as if Moscow has become so practiced in simply dismissing opposition from mainstream evangelicals and liberals for so long, that they suddenly find themselves unable now to question or doubt the validity of anything they say, even when called into question by real, rational arguments made by good men.

It’s painful to see them doubling down and digging themselves into a deeper and deeper hole.


Yes. Sadness is how I would describe the tone here in Bloomington in dealing with this. No one is relishing any of it. It is simply very sad and very painful.

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I love pastor Wilson, and I probably owe more to him than to any other person, close family excepted. But he has a long history of making absurdly strident and ignorant statements. Its just that this time there is a very practical application, and it is tearing people apart.

To me the crux of the matter is this statement: “Nobody can be told they must come into the throne room of God wearing a secular burka [a mask].” This is about as absolute as it gets - no one can tell you to do this, not the civil authorities, not your elders, not your father, not your husband, no one. He has seemingly walked this back (a bit) with other statements, but this requires retraction and apology rather than nuancing.

Another big issue is that Wilson has several times stated that at Christ Church you are free to wear a mask if you would like to and he has “instructed our people not to give the stink eye to anybody. Don’t assume the mask wearer is a coward.” This is well and good, but if his people read his blog (and many do) they will see a steady stream of statements associating masking with cowardice and not masking with courage, freedom, and American goodness. Doug has stated that Masks are a confession and that weekly wearing of masks will have an (implied deleterious) effect on the wearers theology. Surely he sees the contradiction.


Yes I think that’s driving a lot of this. We’re having some irritations with local health officials in Wisconsin, but Idaho seems much worse. I haven’t heard the latest What Have You? but my wife says that some of Wilson’t grandchildren were threatened with citation for walking to close together downtown.

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I’m a Pulmonologist and Critical Care physician. The bluster out of Moscow over the past several months reminds me of a term Michael Crichton coined: Gell-Man Amnesia.

I’m reading the nonsense they’re putting out about pandemics, masks, and conspiracies against the public. Because of my background I’m recognizing it immediately as nonsense without hesitation. But now it’s casting a shadow on all other helpful aspects of their ministries.

I seriously love “The Moscow Project” regardless. But they’re way over their skis.


Wilson did this with the Steven Sitler case too, and it was disappointing then too. As I recall, there was a post at the old Bayly Blog opposing Wilson on Steven Sitler, but written very carefully and mildly.


Don’t want to jump into this tussle, but thought I’d just offer a little more info on this point: I’d guess that far, far fewer Christ Church members read Doug’s blog than read his weekly emails to the congregation, which have been full of exhortations to be gracious to one another and warm gratitude that that is exactly what’s happening. Think Paul gushing over the Thessalonians – that’s the spirit that predominates in Doug’s direct communication to the congregation. These messages aren’t made public, so those outside the community don’t see that bit of data. I’ve seen just one brief Facebook exchange among members that might be considered fussing at one another. We’re by and large a cheerful bunch who love one another. There’s no spirit of judgmentalism thriving among us…promise! :blush:


What temptation would I be facing if I were able to write what Pastor Wilson and Pastor Sumpter have since March? The temptation to give more of what is being received with applause and likes and follows and shares and page views (and increase in church attendance). I’ve done this. I’ve preached a certain message in a certain tone and received good feedback. And then I did it again and again. And, then, mercifully, some kind saints (and some not so kind) let me know where I was wrong. They were right. I was preaching not only or mainly to rebuke and correct but to continue to get the positive backslaps.

I don’t know if this is what is happening but it would be any different than what I’ve done myself (on a much smaller scale). Also, been very helped by those men and continue to thank God for them while being disheartened and saddened at what has all taken place. But, I look forward to seeing this all worked as it seems it is.


Glad to hear it, Valerie. When I was in Moscow, many years ago, discussing Doug’s blog was a favorite past-time among my set (a bunch of young guys who thought we knew it all;)).

But my critique wasn’t only that others in the church might be inclined to judge their brothers or sisters, but that Pastor Wilson himself is saying don’t be judgmental while simultaneously questioning motives and writing quite stridently against those who choose to wear masks. Also, to be clear, I wouldn’t expect the judgement of other parishioners to be overt; in most cases, it would be the case that someone who would like to wear a mask, either due to concern for their health or a belief that they are to obey the civil magistrate in such matters, would choose not to because they are worried they are being silently looked down upon. I’m guessing that a relatively small percentage of Christ Church’s faithful are choosing to obey the magistrate in this matter… but I could be wrong.

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Young guys who think they know it all are their own special breed. God bless 'em. Which He often does…by growing them up into older guys who really do know something. :wink: And I mean it…they’re one of my favorite demographics. It’s so much better to be a young guy who thinks he knows it all and gets into tussles that both toughen and tenderize him in the right places than to be a young guy who’s passively unopinionated.


We’ll let this one set for a time. Wind blows through and clears the air. Love


Yep. Much as I don’t care for my friends being at odds, I have every confidence that everybody involved knows what team they’re playing for and that things will get sorted out eventually. Paul will once again have need of Mark.