Wilson regarding what he considers to be “the visible Church”:
Many moderns like to speak of this period in history as the Dark Ages. This terminology, unfortunately, is almost completely misleading, and was popularized by those who hated the Christian faith. Such terms are never neutral. For a counterexample, the Enlightenment was thoroughly humanistic, and must consequently be considered by us as the Endarkenment. From the vantage of the Reformation, many corruptions had to be removed from the Church — and they were. But from the humanistic view of this period of history is not to be trusted at all. The Reformers capped this period (500-1500) by reforming the Church. The secularists had no desire to reform the Church, but rather to replace it.
“Luther estimated that the church had given way to corruption by the 8th century. This was a gradual downhill slide, and not a cliff-edge drop — but you can get as low either way. What were some of the key corruptions? The first was the papacy — Jesus had warned that ecclesiastical power was not to be wielded in a certain way…But just as Paul had predicted, savage wolves arose to tear the flock…Another corruption already mentioned was the veneration of images. The Second Nicaea in 787 admitted images into worship. But the Second Commandment outranks the Second Nicaean Council…Note that the problem is not representational art, but rather men praying to or through the work of their own hands.”
So, the second commandment allows for making images of Christ as “representational art” just so long as you don’t bow down to or pray through it? I think not.
“This was indeed a millennium of decline and hope both. When a classical Protestant is asked, “Where was your Church before the Reformation?” he should reply with another question — where was your face before you washed it? Throughout this entire period, the dirt was clearly there … but so was the face, clear and recognizable.”
True Christians who love the truth need not fear reading what is called “Church History” even if we cannot discern the visible Bride of Christ in the many volumes of Schaff.
VI. THE CHURCH
A. The Church is an entity created by God by the power of the gospel with Jesus Christ as her Head and Husband, to the praise of the glory of His grace. Wherever the true Church is found, the true gospel is always found. [Psa 2:6; 46:4-5; 48:1-2,11-13; 50:2; 99:2; 102:13-21; 111:1; 118:22; Isa 2:3; 28:16; 33:5-6; 35:8-10; 52:7; 62:12; Mat 16:18; Act 20:28; Rom 12:4-5; 1Co 12:24,27; Eph 1:6,13; 2:20-22; 5:23-32; Col 1:18; 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:1; 1Ti 3:15; Tit 1:9; 2:15; Jam 1:21; Rev 21:12]
B. It is the duty of believers to assemble for worship and fellowship. [Mat 18:20; Act 2:42; Heb 10:24-25]
C. The worship in the assembly must be conducted decently and in order, in spirit and truth, according to the commands of Scripture. [2Ch 29:30; Psa 22:22; 35:18; 89:7; 107:31-32; 149:1; Joh 4:23-24; 1Co 11:1-12:31; 14:33-40; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16; 1Ti 2:1-2,8-12]
D. It is the duty of the assembly to excommunicate anyone in the assembly who confesses belief in a false gospel or who confesses that at least some who believe in a false gospel are regenerate (including anyone who considers at least some universal atonement advocates to be regenerate), as such persons are clearly unbelievers. [Deu 13:1-5; Psa 26:4-5; 101:4,7; Mat 7:15-20; Mar 16:16; Joh 6:43-45; 7:24; Rom 10:3; 16:17; 1Co 10:21; 16:22; 2Co 6:14-15; Gal 6:14-16; Eph 5:6-12; 1Ti 6:3-5; 2Ti 3:5; 1Jo 2:22-23; 4:2-3; 2Jo 9-11]
E. It is the duty of the assembly to rebuke and call to repentance anyone in the assembly who is openly disobedient to God’s law, including anyone who has sinned against another in the assembly. If the person persists in this sin without repentance, it is the duty of the assembly to excommunicate this person, as no such person will inherit the kingdom of heaven. [Psa 101:7-8; Mat 18:15-18; 1Co 5:7,11-13; 6:9-10; 2Co 13:1; 2Th 3:11-12; 1Ti 5:20; 2Ti 3:2-7; 1Jo 2:15-16; Rev 21:8]
To adapt words from a thundering poet of Wilson’s own. Wilson et al are confusing the Great Whore with the Virgin Bride of Christ, the Synagogues of Satan who send out missionaries hawking their false christ, with the True Church who boldly proclaims that unbelievers are to put their faith in the True Christ whose death demands the salvation of all whom He represented at the cross (Romans 5:17-19).
The god of this age has blinded their thoughts so that the brightness of the gospel of the glory of Christ should not dawn on them (2 Corinthians 4:4). It is due to this abject blindness that they are not able to discern the Virgin Spouse of Jesus Christ from the Mother of Confusion. This is why they imprudently embrace the harlot instead of the chaste spouse.
What the Bible calls The Great Whore of Revelation who defiles the earth with her abominations, Doug Wilson et al calls the truly chaste spouse with a dirty face.