August 25, 2009 by Michael Dewalt
Collision… ? I have for some crazy reason not even heard of this until I got onto Desiring God’s website to look at their National Conference scheduled. I was told by Reformation Heritage Books that I would representing them in sales at the Desiring God National Conference, like the last 2-years. I have always enjoyed attending John Piper’s National Conferences in 2008 (top-ten favorite memories of my life) and enjoyed last years Conference. However when seeing the speakers list for this years coming conference I was quite upset like every other Orthodox Christian – Dutch-Reform, Reformed, American-Presbyterianism and Reformed-Baptist. (Yes Kyle Borg and Nathan Eshelman I place those that adhere to the 1644 & 1689 London and New Hampshire Baptist Confessions as a type of Orthodox Christianity.)
Reason #1 – The list of speakers in my opinion (besides Julius Kim of Westminster Seminary California) would never have crossed my mind when picking my top-five, my top-ten, nor my top-25 on dealing with the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birthday. It doesn’t matter who I’d pick exactly but am glad to say that I attended at Calvin500 Tour and Conference- held in Geneva with over 25 of the top re-known theologians and pastors in dealing with John Calvin and Calvinism. NOT a single ONE is speaking at this years Desiring God National Conference dealing with John Calvin, titled, “With Calvin in the Theater of God.” What Julius Kim, Marvin Olasky, John Piper, Sam Storms, Mark Talbot, and Doug Wilson have in common on dealing with the man John Calvin (even watching all the DG-videos) I still am yet to understand. Which brings me to reason number two.
Reason #2 – Bringing Doug Wilson in to speak at your conference is “risky.” Now I realize a few things…
That I will be at the Conference representing one of the many DG-Book Publisher’s in sales, therefore I need to be carful about stepping on toes.
That for whatever differences that Doug Wilson and I have in theology, does not make any difference in why he is a guest speaker at the DG-National Conference. Nor does it make any difference in what he will be speaking on at the Conference.
That John Piper in Evangelism (I hate that word) is maybe one of, if not the most influence person in the “New Calvinism” movement. He also is maybe one of the largest influences for the growth of some type of Calvinism, old or new today in America, which means bring in men like Doug Wilson is not an issue to the typical layman that knows no better.
However bringing him in for those that do know better, raises a lot of questions in my mind and the many minds that flat-out do not understand “why” John Piper.
Back to the reason for the post, and the few to come on “Collision.” When looking at the DG-National Conference schedule I notice that later on Friday night will be the showing of Collision, then after the screening John Piper and Doug Wilson will briefly discuss the film. I am still not fully in complete understanding what this has to do with John Calvin, John Calvin’s 500th Birthday, Calvinism either New or Old, nor exactly how it goes hand and hand with the theme of the Conference, “With Calvin in the Theater of God.”
Reason #3 – My fear and only hope this is not true is that Doug Wilson is there to be brought into Piper’s circle of friends so that he can gain respect from some spectrum of evangelicalism, being that he lost most of it from American-Reformed and Presbyterian circles for his book, Reformed Is Not Enough, his views on Peadocommunion, leanings towards Federal Vision, and wish-washy views on the Trinity that still seem not solid in anything that I have heard, read, or saw (too covenantal and no ontological?). Just scares me…
Nonetheless, for whatever it is worth in having him there I am extremely excited about the whole Doug Wilson vs. Christopher Hitchens debate video that they will be showing titled “Collision.” I have watched the videos that have been posted on Youtube of Doug Wilson and Christopher Hitchens at Westminster Theological Seminary, and enjoyed them very much. Yes I said it, I actually enjoyed Doug Wilson, his thoughts, and his very sharp mind in conversation with Christopher Hitchens. Although sadly enough to say at least in Philly, Hitchens seemed above and beyond Mr. Wilson’s level.
I am not sure yet to what the whole “Collision” thing is exactly (New York to Philly to D.C. I am assuming), but I would have to say that is what I am looking forward to the most at the DGNC-2009. With that said the next few post will be a little more about who Christopher Hitchens and Doug Wilson exactly are, what they do, and a link to where you can watch their pervious meeting at WTS.
Check out the trailer below.