Is dropping the controversial American pastor from a conference a biblical move or a political one?
The decision to remove pastor Doug Wilson from the lineup of an evangelical conference in Brazil has brought both an unusual moment of unity between progressives and some conservatives—and spurred a debate over whether cancellation is a political or a biblical response for Christians.
Visão Nacional para a Consciência Cristã, a conservative association led by various evangelical churches, pulled Wilson from its upcoming event after theologian and anti-racism activist Ronilso Pacheco characterized the American pastor as an advocate for slavery in a text published by Intercept Brasil.
Held during the Carnival days in Campina Grande, Paraíba— February 8–13 this year—the Encontro para Consciência Cristã (Meeting for Christian Conscience) features prominent Brazilian Reformed theologians and draws in well over ten thousand attendees.
Last month, event organizers justified the removal, citing concerns for Wilson’s safety. In his response, Wilson wrote a blog post titled “A Word to the Good People of Brazil,” saying he doesn’t endorse slavery but opposes the wars fought to try to subvert it: “My argument has never been that slavery was necessary, but rather that the carnage was not necessary.”
“I believe that Wilson’s name should not even have been considered,” said conservative evangelical theologian Norma Braga, who is based in Rio de Janeiro. “The invitation damaged the reputation of Consciência Cristã not only among non-Christians but also among many Christians who understood the problem of his presence here.”