Al Mohler urges young Baptists to save Convention
    December 30 2009 by Jeff Robinson, Baptist Press

     JACKSON, Tenn. — Do not leave the Southern Baptist Convention, save it, Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, told college students during chapel at Union University.

    Mohler brought the closing address of the “Southern Baptists, Evangelicals and the Future of Denominationalism Conference.”

    He said the rise of secularism and the fall of cultural Christianity in the deep South over the past two decades have conspired to make the “20-something” generation crucial for defining the mission of the SBC in the near future. 

    “You must be a part of forging a new identity for the Southern Baptist Convention,” he said. Speaking to a chapel audience that included his daughter Katie,  a student at Union, Mohler said the heart of the denomination is a bigger issue than numbers: “the clarity of our vision, the essential importance of our mission,” Mohler asserted.

    Photo by Morris Abernathy

    R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivers an address entitled “Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, and the Future of Denominationalism” at the Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, and the Future of Denominationalism conference.

    “It is going to be yours, and you are going to decide what to do with it.”

    The SBC is experiencing the death of cultural Christianity because the faith no longer holds the spiritual franchise it once did in the Bible Belt, Mohler said.

    “Any denomination that bases its future on the confidence of cultural Christianity deserves to die with that culture when it dies,” he said.

    “It (a new identity) is not something we can create with a new slogan, for new slogans will not save us.

    “There is a need for a resurgence of Great Commission passion, vision, commitment and energy in our denomination.”

    He said “the cause of the gospel” called Southern Baptists together in 1845 and “only the cause of the gospel will keep us together, only the cause of the gospel is sufficient as a reason for us to be together.”

    To refocus a denomination on the Great Commission will be costly, Mohler said, because it will require asking questions that have not been asked within the SBC for several generations and dealing with issues not previously considered.

    “The vision before us is not the perpetuation of the Southern Baptist Convention, but the call of the nations to exult in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Mohler said.

    “The great dynamic of the SBC cannot be to make certain that our statistics are healthy and that our charts point ever upward; it has to be that the glory of God would be evident in persons hearing the gospel and responding to the gospel and the establishment of godly churches that are ruled by Christ through His word and to show all that the church is called to show in terms of the fruit of righteousness and the power of the gospel.”

    “Do not give your life to the SBC because your grandmother was a Southern Baptist,” Mohler told the students.

    “Please do not invest your energies in the Southern Baptist Convention because you want to save something as an important artifact of American religion and southern culture and whatever else.

    “Give yourself to the SBC because you see this really can be a denomination that is transformed by a resurgence of Great Commission passion to reach the world for the glory of God, a denomination ready to ask the hard questions and to let goods and kindred go in order to do what God would have us do in the generation ahead,” Mohler urged.

    “I am not imploring you to leave the Southern Baptist Convention; I am imploring you to save it.”

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Robinson is director of news and information at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.) 

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    12/30/2009 12:05:00 AM by Jeff Robinson, Baptist Press | with 7 comments

Gene Scarborough
And who was it who so "brilliantly" has made Calvinism a focus when that was a Presbyterian tenant which kept them from being a dynamic missionary force since God "predestines" people to their eternal destination as if we have nothing to do with it.

Mohler was given the editorship of the Christian Index in Georgia as a reward, just like he was given Southern Seminary. Never has there been a President so young, inexperienced, and naive as Southern now has. His mouth is twice as active as his ears when the ratio of 1:2 should tell anyone with good sense---to listen twice as much as he speaks!
1/10/2010 6:03:28 PM
I see a lot of good intentions in the SBC. However, I also think the first Christian denomination (the believing Pharisees of Acts 15:5) also had good intentions. I see the current SBC as somewhat similar to that first denomination. The Pharisees were conservative for their time, wishing to do things the way their fathers in their faith had done them (Luke 11:48). They also were very evangelical (Matthew 23:15). They placed rules on God's children that did not come from Scripture (Mark 7:9). I don't have the space here to go into how the SBC does this, but you can read more about it on my website.

Most importantly, the Pharisees also preached a distorted version of the gospel that came dangerously close to closing the kingdom to people instead of achieving good result intended (Matthew 23:13). The SBC does this with the gospel of "faith alone." The gospel of faith alone, without mentioning the realities of salvation and justification by works, poses the same danger (see James 2). "Faith alone" is a distortion of Paul's teaching, which was that we are justified apart from the law of Moses (Acts 13:39). We are not justified by works of the law, but we are justified by works of love. James makes that clear.

These two types of works are different because, although the command to love is in the law (Lev. 19:18, Deut. 6:5), love also exists outside of the law. Unlike any other command in the law, love is what the law "hangs on" (Matthew 22:40). Love exists outside of the law. Christ came and ended the law (Romans 10:4). He didn't end love though! We *must* love as Christ did in order to live with Him.

In 15 years as a Southern Baptist, I never once heard Romans 2:7-11 explained in any sermon, much less in any gospel presentation. This leads many continually sinful believers to think they are going to heaven, effectively shutting the real door to heaven on them. To live with Christ we *must* walk as Christ walked (1 John 2:6). The SBC desperately needs to wake up to this reality and start preaching the whole truth. May God do this.
1/10/2010 4:56:36 PM

Southern was already one of the premier evangelical seminaries in the world long before Al Mohler arrived.
12/31/2009 1:27:36 PM

Dr. James Willingham
Three factors, three crucial factors or elements, are basic to a great Awakening, namely, theology, presence, and humility. My research in the in the 17t, 18th, and 19th centuries indicates the critical causes of the First and Second Great Awakening are the theology of Sovereign Grace, the Presence of God, and the Humility of mind. John Newton's hymn, Amazing Grace, is an admirable summary of what I found, but I can give numerous instances from Baptist History in that period illustrative of each factor. God grant that we can recovery the passion which such elements engender.
12/30/2009 11:19:11 PM

Brent Hobbs
I am tremendously thankful for Mohler. He's turned Southern into one of the premier evangelical seminaries in the world and continues to be exactly the kind of leader we need to this day.
12/30/2009 4:15:14 PM

David MacEachern
I appreciate the tenor of Mohler's address. I believe Holy Spirit passion is the key essential in a Great Commission Resurgence. Yet, the question must be answered..."Is my passion for the sake of my position or for the sake of Christ's gospel?" May God be pleased with each Southern Baptist's answer.
12/30/2009 2:45:43 PM

NC Baptist
His comments are very interesting given the fact that he was part of the group that has caused the downward spiral in the convention.

He said "the rise of secularism and the fall of cultural Christianity in the deep South over the past two decades have conspired to make the “20-something” generation crucial for defining the mission of the SBC in the near future." I believe it was about 20 years ago that this "takeover" took place.

12/30/2009 10:44:59 AM

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