Open main menu

Richard Albert Mohler Jr. (born 1959) is an American historical theologian[1] and the ninth president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been described as "one of America's most influential evangelicals".[2]

Albert Mohler
Al Mohler.jpg
Born
Richard Albert Mohler Jr.

(1959-10-19) October 19, 1959 (age 59)
ResidenceLouisville, Kentucky, US
NationalityAmerican
Occupation
  • Academic administrator
  • preacher
  • theologian
Years active1983–present
Theological work
EraLate 20th and early 21st centuries
LanguageEnglish
Tradition or movement

Contents

Education and personal lifeEdit

Mohler was born on October 19, 1959, in Lakeland, Florida. During his Lakeland years he attended Southside Baptist Church.[3] Mohler attended college at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton in Palm Beach County as a Faculty Scholar. He then received a Bachelor of Arts from Samford University, a private, coeducational Baptist-affiliated college in Birmingham, Alabama. His Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in systematic and historical theology were conferred by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.[4]

CareerEdit

In addition to his presidency at SBTS, Mohler was the host of The Albert Mohler Program, a nationwide radio show "devoted to engaging contemporary culture with Christian beliefs."[5] He currently produces a weekday podcast on the news, The Briefing, in which he provides commentary on current events from a Christian worldview. [6] He is former vice chairman of the board of Focus on the Family and a member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.[7] Christianity Today recognized Mohler as a leader among American evangelicals, and in 2003 Time called him the "reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S."[8] Mohler has presented lectures or addresses at a variety of conservative evangelical universities.[4]

In 2018, Mohler labeled turmoil in the Southern Baptist Convention as the SBC's "own horrifying #MeToo moment" and said it stemmed from "an unorganized conspiracy of silence" about sexual misconduct and abuse.[9] He wrote that the SBC's "issues are far deeper and wider" than the controversy surrounding Paige Patterson, who’d been moved that day from president to president emeritus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.[9]

In early 2019, explosive newspaper reports of sexual abuse by church leaders and volunteers shook the Southern Baptist Convention, and Mohler called for independent third-party investigations.[10] Just days after the Houston Chronicle’s 2019 report of allegations of hundreds of sexual abuse cases (some of which were not reported to law enforcement),[11] Mohler apologized in an interview with the newspaper for supporting a religious leader who was accused of helping conceal sexual abuses at his former church.[12] Some have lauded Mohler, while others have questioned the timing and motivations of these comments.[12] One day after Mohler's remarks to the Houston Chronicle, his Southern Baptist Theological Seminary office released a related statement by him.[12][13]

Southern Baptist Theological SeminaryEdit

Mohler joined the staff of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1983 as Coordinator of Foundation Support. In 1987, he became Director of Capital Funding, a post he held until 1989. From 1983 to 1989, while still a student, he had served as assistant to then-President Roy Honeycutt.[14] In February 1993, Mohler was appointed the ninth President of the seminary by the institution's board of trustees to succeed Honeycutt.[4]

Media and editorial workEdit

Mohler served as editor of The Christian Index,[15] the biweekly newsletter of the Georgia Baptist Convention. From 1985 to 1993 he was Associate Editor of the bi-monthly Preaching Magazine.[16] Mohler also served on the Advisory Council for the 2001 English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. Mohler previously blogged on Crosswalk.com, a web site maintained by Salem Web Network of Richmond, Virginia.[17] Mohler currently blogs on his website[18] and hosts "The Briefing," a daily podcast on current events from the Christian perspective.[19] Mohler also hosts "Thinking in Public," an extended interview podcast on theological and cultural issues.[20]

Theology and other faithsEdit

In 2008, Al Mohler declined to sign An Evangelical Manifesto, publishing a lengthy explanation for his decision.[21] Mohler is an evangelical and an exclusivist, which means that he believes Jesus is the only way through which an individual can attain salvation or have a relationship with God the Father. As a Calvinist, Mohler believes that human salvation is a free gift from God which cannot be earned by human action or will and is only given to the elect. He has publicly advanced this position with respect to Judaism, Islam,[22] and Catholicism.[23] He recently stated that "any belief system, any world view, whether it's Zen Buddhism or Hinduism or dialectical materialism for that matter, Marxism, that keeps persons captive and keeps them from coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, yes, is a demonstration of Satanic power."[22] He believes Muslims are motivated by demonic power[22] and in the months after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Mohler characterized Islamic views of Jesus as false and destructive:

I'm no specialist in Islamic theology. I'll let those who are debate whether or not there is that kind of militancy and warrior culture within Islamic theology. But I want to say as a Christian theologian, the biggest problem with Islamic theology is that it kills the soul.

The bigger problem with Islam is not that there are those who will kill the body in its name, but that it lies about God [and] presents a false gospel, an un-gospel… These are difficult things to say. This is not polite.[24]

The secular world tends to look at Islam as a function of ethnicity which means seeking to convert these people to Christianity is an insult to them. But Christianity is a trans-ethnic faith, which understands that Christianity is not particular to or captured by any ethnicity, but seeks to reach all persons.

The secular world tends to look at Iraq and say, well, it's Muslim, and that's just a fact, and any Christian influence would just be a form of Western imperialism. The Christian has to look at Iraq and see persons desperately in need of the gospel. Compelled by the love and command of Christ, the Christian will seek to take that gospel in loving and sensitive, but very direct, ways to the people of Iraq.[8]

Media appearancesEdit

Mohler appeared on MSNBC's Donahue on August 20, 2002.[25] The subject was Christian evangelization of Jews.[25] Mohler and Michael L. Brown, a Messianic Jew, debated this subject as well as Mohler's insistence that salvation lies exclusively in the personal acceptance of Christ before the afterlife with Donahue, a Roman Catholic, and Shmuley Boteach, an Orthodox Jew.[25]

On April 15, 2003, Mohler was interviewed by Time[26] on the subject of evangelizing Iraqi Muslims in the form of Christian aid groups.

On May 5, 2003, Mohler appeared on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross to ponder the issue of evangelization of the Iraqis. At issue was whether the coupling of evangelizing with basic human aid relief might be perceived as aggressive or coercive by the Iraqi people, and whether such a perception, if widespread, might place other relief workers in jeopardy. Mohler argued that biblical, evangelical Christianity is not uniquely American, but exists as a movement throughout the world, so that Christian witnessing is not, in his view, to be interpreted as a move on the part of any single nation against the religion of another. At the same time, however, Mohler acknowledged the need for "sensitivity," and distanced himself from the idea that religion coerced. When pressed, Mohler expressed support for the idea of religious freedom as a theoretical matter of law.[27]

On December 18, 2004, Mohler debated retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong on Faith Under Fire, a program hosted by Lee Strobel and appearing on PAX, a Christian television network. The subject was the historicity and truthfulness of the Bible.

On December 19, 2013, Mohler appeared on CNN to discuss the controversy surrounding comments made by Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. GLAAD National Spokesman Wilson Cruz was also on the program.[28]

Speaking engagementsEdit

On November 8–9, 2004, Mohler spoke at the annual meeting of the Florida Baptist State Convention.[29]

On May 21, 2005, Mohler gave the commencement address at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Mohler told graduates they could display the glory of God by telling and defending the truth, sharing the gospel, engaging the culture, changing the world, loving the church and showing the glory of God in their own lives.[30]

On February 25, 2014, Mohler delivered a Forum Lecture in the Marriott Center Arena at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The title of Mohler's lecture was, "Strengthen the Things that Remain: Human Dignity, Human Rights, and Human Flourishing in a Dangerous Age."[31]

Justice SundayEdit

Mohler was on the board of directors of Focus on the Family. In this role he was one of the principal organizers of Justice Sunday, a nationally televised event broadcast from Highview Baptist Church, Mohler's home church, in Louisville on April 24, 2005. Mohler shared the stage with Charles Colson and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist appeared at the event via videotape. Another host of the program was Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.

The purpose of the broadcast was to mobilize the conservative base in lobbying the United States Senate to curtail debate on the nominations to the federal judiciary made by George W. Bush.

We want to communicate to all that we are not calling for persons merely to be moral. We want them to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, because we don't just need instruction, we need salvation. Now, because of that, something has to explain why we would take this time on a Sunday night to talk about something like the federal judiciary. I want to make clear why there is such a sense of urgency that we would do this. It's because so much that is precious to us, so much that is essential to this civilization, this culture, this great democratic republic is in the hands of the courts. And we know that means that much is at risk. Because we have been watching. And we have been learning. For far too long, Christians have been concerned to elect the right people to office, and then go back home. We have learned the importance of the electoral process, and yet we're also discovering that that third branch of government, the judiciary, is so very, very important. We have been watching court cases come down the line. In 1973, Roe v. Wade [declared] a woman's right to an abortion. We now know in the aftermath of that decision, that Justice Harry Blackmun, who was the author of the majority opinion, even has admitted that they were determined to legalize abortion, and they just went to the Constitution to try to find an argument that would get them where they wanted to go. And they did. Now, that was a wake-up call for Americans to say, now wait a minute, there's nothing in the Constitution about abortion. By no stretch of the imagination did the founders of this nation and the framers of that document intend for anyone to be able to read those words and find a right to kill unborn children.

— Albert Mohler, April 24, 2005[32]

Theological viewsEdit

Roman Catholics and the PopeEdit

Mohler believes the Roman Catholic Church is a "false church" that teaches a "false gospel" and that the Pope's office is not legitimate. [33][34] During a March 13, 2014 podcast of The Briefing, Mohler stated that Evangelicals "simply cannot accept the legitimacy of the papacy" and that "to do otherwise would be to compromise biblical truth and reverse the Reformation."[34] Mohler has denounced Pope Francis for his supposed left-leaning leadership.[2]

Mohler stated that he was one of the original signatories of the Manhattan Declaration because it is a limited ecumenical statement of Christian conviction on the topics of abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage, and not a wide-ranging theological document that subverts confessional integrity. He emphasized that he signed the document in spite of his deep theological disagreements with the Catholic Church.[35]

Deliberate childlessnessEdit

Mohler spoke in June 2004, about married adults who choose not to have children.

The Scripture does not even envision married couples who choose not to have children. The shocking reality is that some Christians have bought into this lifestyle and claim childlessness as a legitimate option. The rise of modern contraceptives has made this technologically possible. But the fact remains that though childlessness may be made possible by the contraceptive revolution, it remains a form of rebellion against God's design and order.[36]

Mohler has also been critical of birth control methods that prevent implantation of the fertilized egg, which he believes "involve nothing less than an early abortion." He has attempted to bring about a new reflection on the topic within evangelical opinion.[37]

Gender roles and sexualityEdit

In 2017, Mohler signed the Nashville Statement.[38]

YogaEdit

According to Mohler, yoga practice is not consistent with Christianity.

When Christians practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga. The contradictions are not few, nor are they peripheral. The bare fact is that yoga is a spiritual discipline by which the adherent is trained to use the body as a vehicle for achieving consciousness of the divine… The embrace of yoga is a symptom of our postmodern spiritual confusion…[39]

After voicing his stance on the topic, Mohler stated that he was 'surprised by the depth of the commitment to yoga found on the part of many who identify as Christians'.[40]

LibertarianismEdit

Mohler has argued that libertarianism is idolatrous, and as a comprehensive world view or fundamental guiding principle for human life, is inconsistent with Christian ideals. He is a proponent of personal liberty, but believes such liberties can run into problems when applied in the political sphere. The more limited economic libertarianism, on the other hand, can be consistent with the "comprehensive world view that Christianity puts forward."[41]

Selected bibliographyEdit

Books authored by R. Albert Mohler Jr.Edit

  • Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists ISBN 978-1-4335-0497-6
  • Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth (Today's Critical Concerns) ISBN 978-1-59052-974-4
  • He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World ISBN 978-0-8024-5489-8 (September 1, 2008)
  • Desire and Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance ISBN 978-1-60142-080-0 (September 16, 2008)
  • The Conviction to Lead: The 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters, expresses the view that leadership stems from conviction and moral character (2012).[42]
  • We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong ISBN 978-0718032487 (October 27, 2015)
  • Acts 1-12 For You, first in a two-part popular-level commentary on the book of Acts ISBN 978-1909919914 (The Good Book Company, 2018)

Books edited by R. Albert Mohler Jr.Edit

  • Henry, Carl Ferdinand Howard (1994), Gods of This Age or God of the Ages? Essays by Carl F. H. Henry, ISBN 0-8054-1548-3.
  • Theological Education in the Evangelical Tradition (Editor, with D. G. Hart) ISBN 0-8010-2061-1

Books to which R. Albert Mohler Jr. has contributedEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Making of Christianity in the West — A Conversation with Peter Brown (Self professed in course of the interview)". 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Catholicism and American Conservatives: Trump's Papal Problem Reopens Some Old Fault Lines". The Economist. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Speakers say heart of Gospel is to show God's glory". Florida Baptist Witness. 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
  4. ^ a b c "About". albertmohler.com.
  5. ^ "The Albert Mohler Radio Program". Archived from the original on 2008-02-19. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  6. ^ Mohler, Albert. "The Briefing". albertmohler.com. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  7. ^ "Board of Directors". Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Archived from the original on 11 January 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
  8. ^ a b Liston, Broward (2003-04-15). "Interview: Missionary Work in Iraq". Time. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  9. ^ a b "Mohler confronts SBC's 'horrifying #MeToo moment'". Baptist Press. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  10. ^ "After Explosive Sex Abuse Allegations, Southern Baptist Leaders Promise Reform". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  11. ^ "20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms". Houston Chronicle. 2019-02-10. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  12. ^ a b c February 15, Robert Downen | on; 2019 (2019-02-14). "Leading Southern Baptist apologizes for supporting leader, church at center of sex abuse scandal". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  13. ^ "Statement from R. Albert Mohler Jr. on Sovereign Grace Churches". News - SBTS. 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  14. ^ "Roy Honeycutt, Southern Seminary president from 1982-1993, dies". News - SBTS. December 22, 2004.
  15. ^ "The Christian Index".
  16. ^ "Preaching Magazine".
  17. ^ Mohler, Albert. "Christianity" (blog). Crosswalk. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
  18. ^ "AlbertMohler.com - Cultural commentary from a Biblical perspective". albertmohler.com.
  19. ^ "The Briefing". Albert Mohler.
  20. ^ "Thinking in Public". Albert Mohler.
  21. ^ Mohler, Albert (2008-05-12), Comments on An Evangelical Manifesto.
  22. ^ a b c The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News Channel. March 17, 2006.
  23. ^ "Mohler calls Catholicism 'false church'". Baptist Standard. 2000-03-03. Archived from the original on 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  24. ^ "Speak about Islam clearly & without fear, Mohler says". Baptist Press. 2001-10-19. Archived from the original on 2012-03-18. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  25. ^ a b c "Christ the only way for both Jews, gentiles, Mohler says on 'Donahue'". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on 2009-09-12. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
  26. ^ Liston, Broward (2003-04-15). "Interview: Missionary Work in Iraq". Time. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
  27. ^ Debate Over Christian Aid to Iraq Nationally Aired Archived 2006-02-18 at Archive.today in The Christian Post
  28. ^ Albert Mohler on "Duck Dynasty" Suspension: He's "Unquestionably Faithful to the Scripture" on YouTube. Retrieved on 2014-02-01.
  29. ^ Speakers say heart of Gospel is to show God's glory Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine. Florida Baptist Witness. Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
  30. ^ "Largest class graduates from Union University - News Release | Union University". Uu.edu. 2005-05-23. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
  31. ^ "Strengthen the Things that Remain: Human Dignity, Human Rights, and Human Flourishing in a Dangerous Age — An Address at Brigham Young University". AlbertMohler.com. 2014-02-25. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  32. ^ Democracy Now Archived 2005-06-23 at the Wayback Machine May 5, 2005
  33. ^ Blumenthal, Max, Republican Gomorrah, p. 141.
  34. ^ a b "SBC leader denounces papacy", ABP news, archived from the original on 2013-03-16.
  35. ^ Mohler, Albert. "Why I Signed the Manhattan Declaration". Cross walk.
  36. ^ Mohler, R. Albert Jr (2004). "Deliberate Childlessness: Moral Rebellion With a New Face". Gender news. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
  37. ^ "Can Christians Use Birth Control?". Albert Mohler. 2006-05-08.
  38. ^ "Initial Signatories". Nashville Statement. Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  39. ^ "The Subtle Body — Should Christians Practice Yoga?". Albert Mohler. 2010-09-20. Archived from the original on 6 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
  40. ^ "Southern Baptist leader on yoga: Not Christianity". Associated Press. 2010-10-07. Archived from the original on 11 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
  41. ^ "Can a Christian be Libertarian?". Up For Debate with Julie Roys. moodyradio.org. 2016-03-05. Archived from the original on 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2016-03-09. Can Christians can be libertarians, or is libertarianism inconsistent with Christian ideals? Julie Roys, host of Up for Debate, [discussed] the issue with Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who says libertarianism is idolatrous. Challenging his perspective will be Norman Horn, founder of the Christian Libertarian Institute, who argues that "libertarianism is the most consistent expression of Christian political thought."
  42. ^ Author Mohler: Conviction Is Key to Leadership. Bethany House. December 2, 2012. ISBN 978-0-76421004-4. Retrieved December 4, 2012.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit