Angels in the Architecture

I am reading Doug Wilson and Doug Jone’s book Angels in the Architecture. It has been very good so far. I thought I would share some quotes from a chapter on the church. I found it very interesting in light of recent conflict:

The Church should be so central in our thinking that without her life would collapse.

We’re so American that any talk of genuine Church authority immediately provokes talk of abuses and in- (luisitions and popes. In an era of thousands of splintered denominations where anyone can hang a church shingle on his own home, worry about Church authority is like lonely orphans stubbornly avoiding Mom. Mom has been thrown out with the bath water; baby sits alone.

We are far more comfortable removing our hat and lowering our eyes for the state than for the Church. Even though the full majesty and fire of the Triune God has determined to bring blessing and cursing through the institution of the Church, we treat the Church with the same deference we give a community bulletin board-a little info, a little humor, a little opportunity.

But when we consider the Church, we think it acceptable to skip around churches as if they were fast food stands. This stand didn’t fulfill niy needs. We decide whether they are worthy of our money. I decide if the teaching is acceptable.

Yet a mother’s law need not be perfect to be authoritative. And when it needs correcting, individuals have no right to do so as vigilante theologians. How disrespectful.

The Church corrects her own creeds. After all, to her alone, not the state, not the family, not Dad, not the parachurch, did Christ give promises of truth and eternal perseverance.

The Church, like a nursery, can be a messy place at times, ripe with the smell of rebellion and ignorance. But we should despise divisions and childish quarrels like warriors despise combat-sometimes battle is necessary, but we should never long for it.

Perfectionism in the Church is very ugly, yet rampant. Calvin complained, “for there have always been those who, imbued with a false conviction of their own perfect sanctity, as if they had already become a sort of airy spirits, spurned association with all men in whom they discern any remnant of human nature.”

The Lord has called us to be patient with some “doubtful matters” that appear very clear cut, like vegetarianism (Rom. 14: I-1), and He even had patience with Naaman bowing before an idol (2 Kgs. 5:18), and with the heretical disobedience of the Corinthians. Dare we have higher standards than God Himself? Surely we could love truth and draw doctrinal distinctions without having to divide the brethren? “For I desired mercy and not sacrifice” (Hos. 6:6).

Do we love the Church? Is she central to our life and community? Do we show respect to her work and heed her pronouncements? Do we hate divisions and long for peace? Do we weep to see her healthy again? Could we really say in her absence, “my soul was wounded and my very life torn asunder”? Surely, Proverbs should haunt us: “a foolish man despises his mother” (Prov. 15:20).


This is beautiful.

Doug Jones has long denied the substitutionary atonement. Read Calvin on the Church. Much better. Sorry, brothers…

I thought this was Doug Wilson, I was glad to see him talking sanely and helpfully about church authority and I’d like to see him return to this faithful position that he’s held in the past.


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This chapter was written by Doug Wilson. I also didn’t know that about Doug Jones. I had never heard of him. His chapters were pretty good in the book but it wasn’t anything to do with the atonement. I thought you might find it useful to remind Pastor Doug Wilson of his words on the church.

My point wasn’t who wrote what words, but that Doug Jones (who for many years wrote nearly as much as Doug Wilson of what was coming out of Moscow) has gone off deep end, and he’s the co-author. Love,

About the Church, and our churches, these sentiments from a certain Screwtape ring a bell:

… One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans. All your patient sees is the half-finished, sham Gothic erection on the new building estate. When he goes inside, he sees the local grocer with rather an oily expression on his face bustling up to offer him one shiny little book containing a liturgy which neither of them understands, and one shabby little book containing corrupt texts of a number of religious lyrics, mostly bad, and in very small print. When he gets to his pew and looks round him he sees just that selection of his neighbours whom he has hitherto avoided. You want to lean pretty heavily on those neighbours. Make his mind flit to and fro between an expression like ‘the body of Christ’ and the actual faces in the next pew.”

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I was trying to look up Doug Jones and couldn’t find anything on him. Thanks for the update on him. That said its besides the point of the post. What was written by either Doug Jones or Doug Wilson was very good and I thought it would be helpful to remind ourselves and Pastor Wilson of what he had written.

The co-author of this book which aims to explain the nature of a biblical worldview (best represented in medievalism) is not at all orthodox, Biblically. The evidence is clear in his latest book, but that book is only making more explicit what has been clear for fifteen years. After hearing Wilson and Jones speak at a conference, I told Doug that clearly Jones was unhinged.

Now he’s over in Dubai writing stuff like this: “If the way of the cross is something like what I’ve sketched and argued for, then we’re called to dismiss traditional applications of providence, sin, heaven, atonement…” It gets worse. Read everything Doug Jones writes with this in mind. Which is to say, don’t read him at all.


How do you think this happened?

I have read perhaps ten of Wilson’s books over the past two years. His book Reforming Marriage quite literally changed my life. But I can’t get over how off some things are. Why?

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Dear Martin, this is Doug Jones, not Doug Wilson. Been recommending Reforming Marriage since late nineties. So very good. In fact, I really made the decision to leave my position of Executive Director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (also full time here at Trinity Reformed then) when I was going to offer the book to our constituents and received a nine-page single spaced letter from Wayne Grudem (then president of CBMW) criticizing the book. Endlessly. End of the line for me and Wayne, really. So read Doug Wilson on most things. It’s Doug Jones, his right hand man for almost two decades, I would not touch. Love,