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Don’t Listen to Doug Wilson

For those of you who are new to thinking about offering your child some semblance of a Classical Education either through Homeschooling or Afterschooling please beware. In my opinion your best guidebook will be The Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer.

There is also another famous (or infamous) author out there promoting what he calls a Classical Christian Education and his name is Doug Wilson. (The end of this post will include my review of Mr. Wilson’s latest book, Father Hunger which I received a complimentary copy of from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinions and review.) 

I knew enough about Doug Wilson before I ever read Father Hunger to know that his name was a loaded term. So I called up my cousin Daniel who is studying at an Evangelical Seminary to give me an education. Daniel helped fill me in on the controversial things that Doug Wilson is involved in like the Federal Vision, which (in my mind) seems to be a completely unnecessary “how many angels can dance on a pin” way of seeing if you are a good enough Christian. As a United Methodist, I believe that is a relationship defined by God and the Bible, not Doug Wilson.

I filled my cousin Daniel in on the truly shocking things I already knew about Doug Wilson, namely his co-authorship of the notorious Paleo-Confederate pamphlet Southern Slavery as It Was. In Southern Slavery as it Wasn’t Sean M. Quinlan, Ph.D. and William L. Ramsey, Ph.D. soundly denounce the pamphlet calling it “a short “monograph” of thirty-nine pages that defends racial slavery and claims its abolition is the primary cause of “abortion, feminism, and sodomy.”” From Doug Wilson’s blog, I also knew that he has really (in my mind) bizarre views on women. He thinks it is okay for girls to learn to play basketball for example, as long as they don’t play with boys and that they are taught to play in a lady-like manner.

Then there is the issue of gay rights, which is so contentious in churches today (Methodists included.) In an April/2009 interview in Christianity Today, Doug Wilson refused to say that stoning people to death for homosexuality was a bad idea.

Father Hunger, Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead their Families is full of other types of (in my opinion) misinterpretations of Biblical truths and twisted Ayn Rand nonsense. Wilson claims that a free market economic system would be guided by the Holy Spirit (p 96). He suggests suggesting that Autism is caused by mothers putting their children in daycare (p112). He spends two pages saying that feminists really harbor rape fantasies (pp 141-142). He also calls the Civil War the “War Between the States” (p 94), and not in a cute or ironic way, either.

If you can stomach all of that garbage, then you also have to listen to him basically say that if you put your children in public school then you aren’t really a good Christian (70-71). In fact, Wilson seems to think that many Christian private schools aren’t good enough either. This might be a good time to point out that Wilson is a contributing author to Veritas Press, the same homeschooling company that sent out a Christmas video in 2011 featuring a gun. It is also an education catalogue that offers almost no books for children featuring people of color.

What bothers me is this. You might be a devoted, Christian parent who walks into a Bible bookstore and picks up one of Doug Wilson’s books thinking “I want to do right by my child,” or “I want to give my child a first-class education.” You might stumble across the Veritas Press catalogue like I once did, and think “Hmmm… This looks interesting.” Before you know it, your head and your children’s minds could be filled up with some really twisted stuff.

What really bothers me is that more people of faith and education aren’t speaking up against Mr. Wilson. I’m a Christian, I’m an educator, I have one of the fanciest Classical Educations this country has to offer, and I think it is a crime that we are allowing somebody like Doug Wilson to speak on behalf of the Classical Christian Education movement. Our children deserve better.


  1. Dear author,
    I can’t tell when this post was written, but it is now Dec. 2015 and I, too, am fed up with Doug Wilson and his vehement commandeering of Truly Classical Ideas. I teach at a small Classical Christian school in Washington State and, by virtue of the Internet, recently discovered “A Well Trained Mind” and have held it in high regard ever since: My copy is highlighted, sticky-noted and toted around almost as much as my Bible. The text most of us were given as Classical Christian Educators was Wilson’s “Rediscovering the Lost Tools”and after several pages of insults toward the Public Schools I tossed it out the window, never to reclaim it. So, in short, I want to thank you for this post. I’ve been lonely in my opinions of Mr. Wilson and his truly bizarre views, and am glad to have found a voice of solace.

  2. Know the truth about classical Christian education. Here are excerpts from my latest article: “The Christian School: Train Up a Child” @ http://www.libertyadvocate.com/The_%20Christian_%20School.htm

    In 1947, Dorothy Sayers wrote the essay The Lost Tools of Learning explaining the education of the Middle Ages based on the trivium: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. She advocated the trivium is essential to education.

    In 1991, Douglas Wilson wrote Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning which recounts Sayers’ essay and argues for a return to classical education in Christianity.

    Now there are hundreds of Christian schools and home schools using a classical Christian curriculum.

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with studying the classics. In fact, every educated person will be acquainted with them. However, there are two reasons classical Christian education is wrong: 1) it is humanism; and 2) it is a Confederate curriculum.

    Christianity is God’s wisdom.

    Humanism is the wisdom of the world.

    Humanism denies that the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth.

    Humanism believes man learns truth by the power of reason rather than by studying God’s authoritative Word. Unquestionably, humanism is paganism.

    Contrary to Biblical teaching, classical Christian schools boast of integrating the wisdom of this world with Christianity…

    Welcome to The Ambrose School.
    Our mission: To mature students in Christ as we integrate faith and reason through classical Christian education.http://theambroseschool.org/about/

    Classical Christian education pretends to integrate faith and reason. It pretends to be wise. It is pompous and foolish classical pretentiousness.

    A true Christian education encourages children to study and ask God to give them wisdom.

    A false Christian education focuses on a well-trained mind.

    Also, classical Christian education replaces holy thinking and holy living – holiness – with “Christian worldview.” Some classical Christian schools and home schools use David Quine’s Starting Points worldview series. Interestingly, Quine condemns classical Christian education.

    But Quine is a hypocrite. While he is throwing stones at classical Christian education his own curriculum is filled with corruption. For example, his Starting Points series pompously claims students will build a “Biblical worldview.”

    In 1991, Douglas Wilson wrote Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning which recounts Dorothy Sayers’ essay and argues for a return to classical education in Christianity.

    First, who is Douglas Wilson? And why does he promote a classical curriculum?

    Wilson calls himself a “Paleo-Confederate.” Paleo-Confederates are tied to Neo-Confederates. Neo-Confederates are a white supremacist domestic terrorist group that believe the Civil War is not over. They are building a real army for the Confederacy to rise again. They teach that slavery is not wrong, and slaves in the South were treated like family. Neo-Confederates use covert activities such as living history and Civil War reenactments to recruit adults and children for the Confederate cause. Incidentally, Neo-Confederates claim to be Christians.

    Wilson trifles over whether he is a Neo-Confederate or Paleo-Confederate. But they are part of the Confederacy: “Neo-” means new, therefore, New Confederate; “paleo-” means ancient, therefore, Ancient Confederate. “Paleo-Confederate” is merely pretentious, ancient (classical) Confederate snobbery: Classical Confederate. As shown in “Religious Rebels,” Neo-Confederates use deceitful and covert tactics such as living history to advance their wicked agenda. They are building a real army. Confederates infiltrate all areas of society: political, social, religious, and educational. And Paleo-Confederates infiltrate education using a deceitful, covert tactic. They use classical Christian education to recruit children for the Confederate cause – the Confederacy will rise again.

    Parents, immediately take your children out of a classical Christian school: “What communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Separate your children from a school that idolizes pagan Greeks and Romans: “Be ye separate.”

    And teachers in a classical Christian school…quickly flee! Wash your unclean hands of promoting idolatry of the pagan ancient Greeks and Romans.

    In sum, Douglas Wilson and other Paleo-Confederates use a Confederate curriculum disguised as classical Christian education to glorify war and indoctrinate children that slavery is reasonable. Classical Christian education is a covert tactic to train children for the Confederate cause – the Confederacy will rise again.

    Our children do not belong to us; they are God’s children to be trained for Him. And we must train them up in righteousness and holiness. Christian parents may send their children to a Christian school to help them with child training, but a godly school teaches more than academics. More important, the godly school teaches God’s children holy thinking and holy living.

    Indeed, a Christian school that does not teach holy thinking and holy living is a false Christian school. Instruction in a Christian school must be dominated by a holy purpose. And that holy purpose is holiness.


    The true Christian school is a Spirit-led school.

    A school without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a dead school – a false Christian school.

    The Bible declares that true Christians are a holy people led by the Spirit of God:

    For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
    they are the sons of God.
    Romans 8:14

    The true Christian school is a holy people led by the Spirit of God.

    The true Christian school is a holy school.

    From “The Christian School: Train Up a Child” @ http://www.libertyadvocate.com/The_%20Christian_%20School.htm

    Grace and peace,

    Karen Pansler-Lam, J.D.
    Liberty Advocate

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