My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I may be biased (since Wilson was my teacher at New St. Andrews College, as well as my pastor during those four years), but this was my second time through this book, and I still found it incredibly helpful.
Yes, all the theological insights were great, and the writing was typically witty and humorous. But, what was most striking was how Wilson addresses huge theological and Biblical topics with a consistently practical and pastoral approach. The sub-title says it well: “Essays and Forays in Practical Ecclesiology.” This is not a book for armchair theologians. Wilson is controversial at times, but he is also writing to real problems in the modern, American evangelical church. Even if you don’t agree with him, he is a great debating partner! He will challenge you to defend (from the Bible!) your fundamental notions of God, His Word, and what His Church should be doing.
I can also say, because I have some background knowledge of the actual circumstances that led to the writing of some chapters, that Wilson is writing out his own pastoral experience. He has been able, by he grace of God, to lead a large congregation through many major changes in how they understand the Bible, how they worship, how they educate their children, and most importantly, how they live as Christians every day and every hour of the week.
Many things have been said about Douglas Wilson, and many are untrue, or only half-true. Jesus said something helpful: “By your fruits you shall know them.” God has grown some remarkable fruit through Wilson’s ministry. I think many people read him, and are offended by his biting wit and sarcasm. I read him differently because I hear his chuckle in between the lines, and I see the huge grin he would always have when he was saying the most unsettling things. I would encourage other readers to keep that image in mind!