As Christendom has collapsed in the West, Wilson has offered a vision that plays on the fears and emotions of those who are panicking. This is precisely why the mission of the church, all of the sudden, takes a drastic turn in its elevating of cultural transformation while “saving people from their sins” becomes only a means to this greater end. While we might look at the psalm-singing, the community, the safe space, the building of schools and churches in Moscow as good things (and I do indeed admire much of it) we can’t miss what has drawn such an attraction.
This entire article may be a fool’s errand. I mean, it’s easy to watch two men mud-wrestling from afar with the hopes that none of the mud lands me as a spectator. But there are some fights so nasty that the mud is unavoidable. And if you are one to pray for rain, you certainly have to deal with the mud. That’s somewhat how I feel reading the responses to Kevin DeYoung’s article that raised concerns over the “Moscow Mood.” As a whole, I thought DeYoung’s article addressed some very fair concerns about the trajectory of what is clearly a movement that should concern Christians in terms of mission and witness. Yet, the responses indicate, as I suspected, that the issues plaguing Christians over the end of Christendom are far beyond that of a mood.
I’m not convinced you can take on Doug Wilson over style alone. As one friend said, that’s like teeing up your head and Wilson likes to swing with bats. Jared Longshore likes the metaphor since he expressed that DeYoung certainly teed this up for Wilson, but he just didn’t mention the bat. Yet, to engage Wilson over style is a losing battle—every time. Many will silently read a piece like DeYoung’s and say, “just another critique of ‘Moscow man bad’ over tone.” There is much more to the issue, of course—things to which DeYoung alluded—but to make any progress in helping people see clearly through the issues, theological substance has to drive the critique.
But the present confusion of Christ and culture is complex, and we American Christians do not like complexity. There is a sense that something must be done to curb the flood of iniquity coming upon us. It’s a tough pill to swallow in accepting that what happens in the culture is the will of God, especially as he executes his righteous judgments. But exactly what our calling should be in a moment like ours dominates the minds of Christians in the West. Wilson has taken the reins and is offering a vision forward that few seem to have. Yes, it’s all about vision. And I agree, other current eschatologies are not resonating with people at the moment in terms of vision. No matter how many different reasons Wilson may present as to why people are flocking to Moscow, what undergirds it all is an eschatology that gives people a sense of doing something to stop the avalanche of our culture. And therein lies the heart of the issue.
Wilson’s vision stands somewhat alone in its robust, Billy Sunday, strong-man approach, while many quarters of the church are caught up in the pathetic woke ideals that have invited much of this reaction to begin with. Who can forget Mark Driscoll convincing us that he was a tough guy from the other side of the tracks in his constant take down of effeminate men? It worked, certainly–for a while. And let me say that unequivocally, I agree that wokeism is a neo-orthodoxy that also is crippling the church’s witness. I’m only going to assert here that the approach under consideration is not the solution.