ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, Biblical Manhood, Christian Marriage, Church Discipline Process, Domestic Violence and Churches, Doug Wilson, emotional abuse, Leaving the Church, Marriage, Marriages Damaged-Destroyed by Sp. Ab., Misuse of Scripture, Religious Power and Control, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Authority, Spiritual Bullies, Women and the Church

We Now See the Fruit of Doug Wilson’s Teachings on Marital Sex: Personal Accounts of Marital Rape

I just got back from a short visit to Moscow, Idaho, home of Pastor Doug Wilson (founder of CREC: Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches) and his local church, Christ Church. I became acquainted with Doug Wilson first via homeschooling. He wrote a book (reportedly plagiarized some of it as well) on Classical education.

I’ve written about Doug Wilson here over the years (check the side bar), including posts regarding a couple of high-profile pedophiles he defended and protected. Several years ago, I went to Moscow, ID for a weekend and met with survivors from his church. They shared the same kinds of abuse stories I am used to reporting on: sexual abuse cover-ups, cult-like behavior, spiritual abuse, women being treated inferior to men and blamed for men’s sexual addictions, abuse, indiscretions.

In 2012, I read an alarming quote from a book Wilson wrote. Here is the quote:

A final aspect of rape that should be briefly mentioned is perhaps closer to home. Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence. When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us.”

This second paragraph, and specifically, the second and third sentence left me feeling physically violated when I initially read it. I later found out that many, many women had the same physical response. Brace yourselves:

“In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.”

– Douglas Wilson, Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man (Moscow, Idaho: Canon Press, 1999), 86-87.


It has been around 9 years since I originally read that quote. I’m 9 years into being an advocate for those who have been harmed in the church, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. That quote essentially is the foundation Wilson has laid for what he believes husbands/wives roles should be sexually.

Let me be blunt: I believe Douglas Wilson has given the green light for all “Christian” men to sexually violate or rape their wives. Men penetrate, conquer, colonize, plant; women must receive, surrender, and accept.

This weekend, I met a woman from Doug Wilson’s Christ Church who told me she was repeatedly raped in her marriage by her now ex-husband. This woman is not an isolated case. I was told the stories of several other women, and knowing the climate of these high-controlling churches, I am convinced there are many, many more women who are suffering rape in their marriages, but who are afraid to come forward because there is a cost.

You see, if a woman in Wilson’s church does not willingly give her husband sex when he demands it, SHE is the one who is at risk for being put in church discipline.

I am writing this for 2 reasons: first, because Doug Wilson is still highly respected in Christendom. Folks, this man is vile and evil. He should have no place in any kind of leadership. Secondly, I want to give a public shout-out to Kevin McGill. Kevin, to my knowledge, is the only pastor in the local Moscow area who has publicly called Doug Wilson’s teachings abusive. This is a really big deal. To have a pastor call out abuse gives survivors an opportunity to know there are safe places outside of their high-controlling church. This is so important.

Kevin invited me to come to the Moscow area and share from my experiences/advocacy work. We recorded two videos. You better believe I’ll make the 3-hour drive if it means that even one woman might take the courageous step of leaving a harmful church or marriage.

Women, you do not need to subject yourself to bad church teachings or a harmful marriage. Sex within marriage should be consensual. If it is not, it is rape. Period. Please reach out to safe advocates if you need help.

Originally posted on my FB page.

23 thoughts on “We Now See the Fruit of Doug Wilson’s Teachings on Marital Sex: Personal Accounts of Marital Rape”

  1. Thank you so much for this. May the Lord God, the tender-hearted kind creator and sustainer of all things, open the eyes of the women who do not yet understand that being ‘required’ by ‘Reforming Marriage’ to submit to whatever her husband’s imagination conjours up is NOT consensual sex. Lord, deliver us from evil…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny you should bring up Doug Wilson. I have read his blog for years, but increasingly have a problem with him. He is very good on woke culture and the Romans 1 society we increasingly live in. He can be good on some apologetics themes.

    That said I have recently become perturbed by some of his teachings and attitudes. My personal observations from reading his blog.

    When calling out problems in marriage, he does seem to concentrate on women rather than men. He clearly doesn’t like Aimee Byrd, so I looked her up and her offence seems to be she has recently discovered abuse is possible in evangelical complementarian marriages.

    He recently stated ‘women should not run a discernment blog’. Why not? Some of the most discerning people I have ever met were women, and I have read thoughtful discernment material by women. Aimee Byrd has every right to give her opinion.

    He likes wording things in such a way as to make maximum impact. ‘Tacit acceptance of rape by feminism’ is one example. I actually agree with what he is getting at in the context of what he wrote, but he must know the outrage this will cause due to such wording, and I think it is unkind of him to do this. He shouldn’t then act all innocent as though he couldn’t have known the reaction he would get by such language. He is at best asking to be misunderstood.

    One of his commenters recently questioned the right of a woman to engage in theological debate in the comments on his blog. Big red light for me – the ‘silent women’ verses definitely do not apply here. You cannot blame Wilson for a commentator’s opinion, but it made me wonder if he is enabling an attitude of women being second class in the kingdom. He does seem to attract those who do think like that.

    For someone who supposedly proclaims a faith that eschews worldly wealth, he seems very keen on preserving it for the better off, that is, he has aligned his Christianity with right-wing social conservatism and free market capitalism. There is room for perfectly legitimate debate here amongst Christians, to what extent does the state have a responsibility towards the poor and oppressed – or not, but I cringe at the identification of Christianity with a particular political programme, whether of the right or the left, though it is usually the former.

    I also note he is bordering on being a covid denier, and seems to think church eldership trumps government responsibility in the face of the pandemic. Do not neglect to meet together … I think this is dangerously irresponsible, although I do understand the issue has become politicised in the States whereas it hasn’t in Europe. Some of Wilson’s commenters are heavily into this – yet are opposed to any action by the state to insure the population against such pandemics!

    Your faith cannot be worth much if it cannot survive a period without ‘professional’ input from an ‘ordained’ minister! Ministers seem to have a sense of entitlement rather than being servants. Ministers do not have authority to make pronouncements on health issues if they have no medical training or research. Brothers, we are not all epidemiologists … as one British evangelical quipped. (James White is another one who is into this, his qualification based on something he did in high school 4 decades ago.)

    Regarding the ‘plants conquers’ quotation, I remember seeing Wilson explain this, and I checked it again:

    https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/books/flatter-my-heart-three-persond-god.html

    It does shed light on what he meant, but he wouldn’t have to produce such explanations if he were more careful in the first place. It could be plausible deniability if his words turn out to be used (or misused) to justify immature husbands lording it over their wives.

    If you are going to read him, Wilson needs to be read with a considerable amount of discernment.

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  3. Currently, I’m doing research about the damage of the submission doctrine so yesterday, I came upon Doug’s teachings and his books. He sounds like a misogynist and has passed this on to his daughters who have also written books. I am appalled that the church is still endorsing these teachings. As a survivor of marital rape (a term I did not hear 19 years ago when I left my marriage), I just cannot believe this teaching on obligation sex is being preached behind pulpits. Lord help us all!

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  4. Tekel, thank you for your comment. This is exactly why I posted. I cannot imagine the spiritual and emotional confusion women who are under this teaching must bear. They need to know the truth!

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  5. I think what sickens me the most is the silence of the good ol’ boy reformed club in relation to all that Wilson has said, written and done. For example, why is he still listed as an author on the Gospel Coalition website? Are these silent men just cowards? Is there stuff in their own closets they want to keep hidden? Where is the reverent fear of God that so many of them preach and write about? True shepherds fight to protect the sheep… not other bullying, abusive shepherds.

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  6. Clarification on my previous post. Actually what angers and sickens me the most is what Doug Wilson has done, said, and written and the heinous impact he has had on those who have been victimized because of him. Let’s get first things first here. The silence of the good ol’ reformed boys angers and disgusts me too, but it’s not on the same level.

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  7. After Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands in Eph. 5, he doesn’t tell husbands to command, assert authority, “penetrate, conquer, colonize, and plant”. He tells them to love.

    Regardless of how one interprets that passage, it is puzzling to me how many complementarians take as an implication of Paul’s command to “submit” that husbands should lord authority over their wives – and then they stress this implication, an implication (if it even exists, which I don’t think it does) that Paul doesn’t expound upon. Instead, Paul says “love”. The same Paul describes love as patient, kind, gentle, faithful, good…

    How in the world do complementarians conflate “asserting authority over” with “love”? My only guess is if you’re a hardcore Calvinist, this is your idea of God as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree, HereIStand. The silence of the TGC crowd is very troubling to me too… probably most with respect to Doug Wilson, but also CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll. It’s a long-standing pattern.

    If they’re going to publicly support them, they need to have the integrity to also publicly challenge them when they say and do things that are so clearly out of step with the Gospel. But it seems they’d rather not critique anyone who shares their preferred theology, no matter what else they may do.

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  9. As I see it, the real problem with Doug Wilson’s writings is the idea behind them that he has everything figured out and will decide for everyone else. Even his homeschooling writings came across that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.

    Like I’ve said many times before, that is a RAPIST’s mentality. (“Because I WANNA!”)

    And a common theme in Pornography, where the woman exists only to service the Urrrges in the man’s Arrreas whenever and however HE wants them serviced.

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  11. How in the world do complementarians conflate “asserting authority over” with “love”?

    SImple. They view EVERYTHING through the lens of Power Struggle, of Dominance and Submission. Top or Bottom. Dom or Sub, Penetrator or Penetrated, Hold the Whip or Feel the Whip, nothing in-between. The Zero-Sum game of “I Win, You LOSE!” completely ignoring that there can be such a thing as a Win-Win situation.

    And if those are the only two choices, better to be the one Holding the Whip than the one Feeling the Whip.

    My only guess is if you’re a hardcore Calvinist, this is your idea of God as well.

    Because God becomes raw POWER and AUTHORITY and nothing more.
    Just He Who Holds the Biggest Whip.

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  12. What are the Scriptural references for the complementarian teachings of Doug Wilson’s vain philosophies of man? I recently heard another individual, Brannon Howse, reassure his audience that complementarianism is god’s plan for the church and his people, via his website.

    When born again believers such as myself, do not espouse or follow the complementarian worldview of twisted scriptures, we are labeled “feminists” or other derogatory names from men whose consciences are seared as if with a branding iron. I cannot locate any Scriptural references where my Savior and Pastor Jesus Christ, ever labeled Himself nor promoted the false teachings of complementarianism under the New Covenant. Was His murder on the Cross all for naught?

    Many a man uses the Scriptural reference of the “woman being deceived in the Garden of Eden” as the foundational worldview of “women being easily deceived” when compared to the “man.” However, how does one rectify that the one world order leader to come, is the “man of perdition?” Not the “women of perdition” whom the people of the world will be required to bow down to (worshipping the beast and the beast system), but the “MAN of perdition!” So pray tell, if women are so deceived and so incompetent in understanding the Holy Scriptures for themselves via the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through the lens of Jesus Christ, then how is it that many a man is leading Jesus’ sheep astray with the false teaching of lordship leadership via complementarianism.

    And when that “man of perdition” comes, and he is coming, how many of us women will be mocked, ridiculed, abused in many an evil way, and some will be killed for His Name’s Sake, by those “complementarian church men” who have believed, taught, and practiced the lie of satan in promoting man’s lordship over women?

    And when Jesus returns, will Doug Wilson’s penetration teachings be welcomed by our LORD Jesus, or will He say, “Depart from Me, for I never knew you.” ?

    So incredibly thankful that Jesus is the only Pastor I truly trust these days, for most churched folks are seeking followers after themselves, rather pointing souls to Jesus Christ and His teachings. His burdens are much, much lighter, and His Freedom allows us to freely worship Him in spirit and truth wherever we may be. No conquering needed……Amen!

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  13. Katy,
    You’ve got me curious about this Brannon Howse who I now need to look him up. It’s very disturbing to read about all these pastors who promote complementarianism. When you’ve done extensive research about this, what it all boils down to is this: complementarianism is “soft patriarchy” meaning that they say men and women are equal, but different so that means they have to have different roles in the church and marriage.

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  14. Godly obligation sex, in the words of an old “Pill” Cosby monologue:

    “I’m gonna have about fifty kids. And my wife can’t do a thing about it because she’s Catholic. She gives me any lip, I take her right out to the boat pond – ‘Pope Says You Gotta Do It, Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha’.”

    (Remember how “Pill” Cosby ended up? Exposed as not only a womanizer but Serial Rapist-by-drugging? Telegraphs the atttitude.)

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  15. Well said Katy @ 3:03 PM,
    Nowhere does the Bible teach an hierarchy based on plumbing received at birth.
    Complementarian ideology as manufactured by fundagelical zealots is a steaming pile of horse poo-poo.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. the Romans 1 society we increasingly live in.

    KAS, is “Romans 1 Society” the latest Christianese Code Word for “TEH FAGS! TEH FAGS! TEH FAGS!”?

    I have concluded Fred Phelps’ REAL sin was he didn’t use the Proper Code Words.

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  17. @HUG, “Because God becomes raw POWER and AUTHORITY and nothing more.”

    This is the center of it all. Man asserts power and authority because that’s what God wants, and God is all about power and authority because that’s the image man wants to paint of him.

    He will rule over you. That is what we live every day, whether as survivors of spiritual abuse or spousal abuse, or have narcissistic managers or coworkers.

    Read some good books lately, and it is sickening what sort of hoops the spiritual authorities will go through to sanctify their abuse. As one of the books says, patriarchy is so important that even the foundational doctrines of the Trinity cannot compete with the desire to justify it.

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  18. @KAS June 8, 2021 at 1:51 AM,

    Are you implying that free market capitalism is a negative aspect within the realm of natural freedoms? Are you in favor of control through governmental means, spiritual/church institutionalism misuse and abuse of hierarchy/authoritarianism/top down theology, and the social propaganda of class warfare?

    My personal observations include both the long arm left wing and the psuedo righteous right wing of the political raptors nesting in the same nest using humanity for its own glory, instead of living and working for Christ’s Glory.

    If it were not for free market capitalism, I would not have a penny to support and shamelessly give to the poor, whether in my home or in the public arena, without my name attached to the giving. When authority, any kind of authoritarian structure, seeks to power over individuals’ freedoms of working hard, earning an honest living, and sharing that wealth with others, whether by hiring people for jobs or generously giving from our own wealth, then the flames of honoring our LORD Jesus to the core of our souls are snuffed out by the poisons of the beast system. The lies of equity does not mean “equal” in the double speak language of the three legged stool, government, church/religion/social institutions, and the corporate/business sector.

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  19. The Bible does NOT teach male supremacy. I have the Nestle-Aland “Novum Testamentum Graece” edition of the New Testament which contains the variant readings in the different families of Greek manuscripts of the texts. You can compare the differences in the texts for the “women passages”. In the family of Greek manuscripts from which the King James version was translated, the pronouns had been changed to make it appear that acts and services which women performed (e.g., pastoring home churches) were performed by men. Somewhere along the line, copyists changed the pronouns from female to male! There are many other mistranslations – it is shocking, really.

    Check out this organization, Christians for Biblical Equality: https://www.cbeinternational.org/

    The idea that one person is “better” than another person because of some accident of birth is evil. This is what they claim: I am better than you are because my father was an aristocrat and yours was a tenant farmer. I am better than you are because I am white and you are not. I am better than you are because I am an Aryan and you are not. I am better than you are because I am a male and you are a female. THAT is what the aristocrats, the white supremacists, the NAZIS, and the male supremacists claim. It is evil.

    And it is a lie – they had to pervert the texts of the Bible to create the false impression that the Bible teaches male supremacy. It most manifestly does not. Here is a paper I wrote some years ago showing how male supremacists have butchered Isaiah 3:12 https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/sarah-palin-isaiah-312/

    That is just one of many mistranslations of “women passages”.

    i highly recommend Dr. Ann Nyland’s translation of the New Testament – “The Source New Testament” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2507786.The_Source_New_Testament_With_Extensive_Notes_On_Greek_Word_Meaning

    The clergy is a magnet for bad people – you will note that the Bible constantly rails against false teachers & priests – “hireling pastors”, etc.

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  20. JA: KAS, how refreshing that I found myself agreeing with a lot of your comment.

    Well it’s nice to have a Psalm 133 moment – generically understood, of course! 🙂

    Since my original comment I have to be honest a certain antipathy has started to develop against Doug Wilson. This is especially so with regard to corona.

    I really don’t think the authority of elders extends to deciding to let the church meet together when the state has temporarily banned such gatherings. It’s not just religious gatherings, but everything, so please, quit the persecution angle evangelicals are not being targetted. (That doesn’t mean it is wrong to express opinions on how appropriate or not state action is, especially with restrictions on personal liberty. The state has overreacted at times.)

    Churches in Europe have ‘met together’ and have spread the virus to those attending leading to sickness and death, especially early on in the pandemic.

    I was more shocked to read a missionary ask in the latest letters section “Would you see it as a viable option to get a fake vaccine “passport” or document?”

    The answer from Wilson was “Eugene, yes. We are certainly at that point in the discussion. In my mind, if we are at the “papers please” phase when you are trying to drive from Washington to Idaho, I don’t have any problem with those papers being as fake as this whole crisis is.” (My bold.)

    I know there is a cultural difference between the States and Europe, but just where does this paranoia come from about anything the govt does? Forging a vaccine passport is a criminal offence, but is it not morally wrong as well? Pretending you have been vaccinated, with the potential to catch and spread the virus to other people. Mind-numbingly selfish and ignorant.

    The state would be perfectly entitled to punish such crime, and no it wouldn’t be persecution for righteousness’ sake (even if the Session of Elders had met in Holy Convocation in the Kirk). 😉

    It’s not terribly consistent to bang on about wives submitting and then claim personal autonomy when it comes to submitting to the authorities.

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  21. My kids attended a classical school that followed Doug Wilson’s teachings. In the end we discovered that there were so many horrible things happening and being excused there. I was personally taken down because I’m a women and I called these awful men out for being abusive to children. Last year one of the board members had a sexual relationship with an underage student! They told the parents that it was fine and taken care of and everybody just smiled and nodded. No charges pressed against this awful man. But the young girl was punished. It’s just too awful for words. This happened in knoxville, Tennessee. Very far from mascow. This mans evil reach is long.

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