I’m not allowed to comment on Doug Wilson’s blog. No one has said this explicitly – it’s just that I’ve tried a few times and there is some sort of technical glitch that keeps me from posting there. Mr. Wilson recently sent out a call for people to email him who haven’t been able to comment. I did. And I still cant. It’s probably for the better in the end. There really has only been one time, looking back, that I think it would have actually been something clever enough to post (it was the time when Wilson was talking about the high price of some C.S. Lewis first-editions, to which I was going to say, “That’s a lot of Jack”). But now he’s said something that I wish I could question in the comments section of his blog. Since I’m unable, I’ll just put it out here…in the really cheap seats.
Here’s the thing. Wilson, whose books and blog I read and recommend, has recently read N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope, and is commenting on it (here and here). Well, he’s commenting on one part of one section of it, namely pages 213-222 – Wright’s take on justice and “the massive economic imbalance of the world, whose major symptom is the ridiculous and unpayable Third World debt.” While Wilson is unequivocally positive toward the book generally, he thinks these pages are stinkers. It may be that Wright’s views are a bit Pollyanna, but I’m not sure they deserve the bludgeoning they get at Wilson’s fingertips.
Considering this “the number one moral issue of our day,” Wright asserts that “The present system of global debt is the real immoral scandal, the dirty little secret–or rather the dirty enormous secret–of glitzy, glossy Western capitalism.” He continues, “Whatever it takes, we must change the situation or stand condemned by subsequent history alongside those who supported slavery two centuries ago and those who supported the Nazis seventy years ago. It is that serious.”
Strong language, indeed, but how wrong is it? Shouldn’t we Christians endeavor to work for justice on a global scale? Shouldn’t we V-8 drivin’, V8 drinkin’, air conditioned watchers of commercials and eaters of ho-hos work for the good of the people who eat what they can find in the town dump? I’m not saying that wealth is evil, but poverty ain’t too snappy.
Now, I realize that you can’t just say, “Time-out! Nobody owes anyone anything staaartiiing…now!” It isn’t going to happen all at once. It will take work…a lot of work. And time. Lots of that, too. But it doesn’t happen at all unless someone (the Church!) calls for it to be so. If we sit on our postmillennial duffs (which my duff is) and say, “Well, maybe it will take another thousand years or so…,” I think we’re being negligent. I can see the dangers Wilson points out. But that can’t be our reason for not doing something. We don’t do nothing because something is fraught with peril.
Any ideas, Mr. Wilson?
Oh, and I agree: the rest of the book is very, very good.
[That’s all for now. I have to get back to sorting through this objectivity of the covenant business.]
[UPDATE: Doug Wilson answers well here. Thank you, Mr. Wilson.]