That's why I was a bit surprised by his case for the three (and only three) appropriate grounds for condemning a musical form. I'm only interested in the second for the purposes of this post, and I'll get to it in a second. But first, here's the thrust of his conclusion:And one reason I'm not so certain is that Wilson himself told me not to be.
Outside these [three] basic areas, if we reject a form of music out of hand because it is not the form of music we prefer, then we are trying to kick against the variegated world that the triune God created.Now, I share Wilson's distaste for the snobbery that rejects "a form of music out of hand because it is not the form of music we prefer." And his second allowable critique does leave the door open for rejecting a particular form or genre "when that music declares openly its rebellion against God." But what if it merely declares its rebellion subtly? Is Wilson denying that's possible, or is he doubting our ability to discern it? I'm not the least bit certain the necessary conclusion is that I'm kicking "against the variegated world that the triune God created" because I think we need a more sophisticated approach than simply affirming every genre that's not explicitly rebellious.
Not so long ago, in his friendly but pointed critique of the most controversial portions of the Driscolls' marriage book, Wilson wrote:
I must read the Word to read the world, and I must read the world to read the Word. This extends beyond natural phenomena like planets, spiders, oceans, and lawn crickets. It also includes fallen human culture, and all its tawdry sins. I cannot understand the culture apart from the Word, but I do not approach the Word from "nowhere." . . .
Legalists give application a bad name. Libertines give lack of application a bad name. They both lean against one another, and the only way out is to learn how to read culture like a grown-up. The only way out is to learn how to make the applications that the Holy Spirit is leading us to make.
This is why we should not want to ban, discourage, or prohibit anything except what God has expressly prohibited, along with anything which the Spirit of God is leading us to discourage as we make necessary applications from the Scriptures. A whole host of scriptural requirements requires us to be able to read the culture in which we are making those applications.
And then he also wrote here, in a related post:
We need a hermeneutic that enables us to read our surrounding, unbelieving culture. Paul requires it here. Paul is saying that we have to look at what the pagans are doing and that we are to do something distinct from that. We have to learn how to "read" their lust, and write something different.Put briefly, Wilson believes grown-ups are the sort of people who are equipped to deal with culture when its messages are subtle, not just when it tells you what it's doing in flashing neon. I agree with that Doug Wilson—the one who wrote back in January. He should talk to the Doug Wilson who was listening to John Mayer a couple weeks ago. And if I might, I'd like to listen to that conversation.
And now, on the off-chance Pastor Wilson catches a whiff and finds some response to be worthy of his time, I await my turn as his mop head.