Monday, January 7, 2008

Why R. Albert Mohler is Good for Evangelism

Many are weighing in on the prospect of a Mohler presidency. Whether or not he is elected, here are a few reasons (among many) that Dr. Mohler is a positive force for Great Commission work.

1. Mohler has shown himself as a uniter around the cause of the gospel. In his commentary, “A Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity,” Dr. Mohler has laid out what he calls “second-order” and “third-order” doctrinal differences. While contending for right doctrine on all three tiers, Mohler has demonstrated a willingness to work together with those he differs with on second and third order differences for the cause of missions and evangelism. A number of examples demonstrate this willingness to unite around the gospel:

a. His prominent role in the 2001 Billy Graham Crusade in Louisville.

b. His 2006 Pastor’s Conference break out session with Paige Patterson, “Reaching Today’s World Through Differing Views of Election.” Mohler called Patterson, with whom he disagrees on the issue of Calvinism, a close friend. He went on to say, ““Dr. Patterson and I have discussed this far more extensively than a one-hour presentation here would allow,” Mohler said. “It’s a part of the vibrancy of our friendship in the Gospel. … We owe it to each other as brothers in Christ, who share an affection for the Gospel … to, as iron sharpens iron, talk about these issues so that we can be evermore faithful in preaching and teaching the Gospel.”

c. His co-founding of “Together for the Gospel” with Presbyterian Ligon Duncan and charismatic C.J. Mahaney, along with Mark Dever. The first line of the Together for the Gospel statement reads, “We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause – to stand together for the Gospel.” Mohler says of this group, “I am incredibly thankful for my friendship with Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and C J Mahaney. In recent years, I have come to a new and deeper understanding of what these friends mean to me . . . I have come to prize most highly those friendships that can last a lifetime. Yet, I am confident that something deeper and more important is at work here. The friendship that binds us together is a friendship that is rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here we have found our shared redemption, our shared identity, our shared calling, our shared commission, and our shared passion. . . . We are together . . . in and for the Gospel.”

2. As a major leader among younger reformed evangelicals, Mohler has rejected hyper-Calvinism and has defended the proclamation of the gospel. In his breakout session at the 2006 Pastor’s Conference, “Reaching Today’s World Through Differing Views of Election” Mohler explains, “there is the real theological danger of those who do not believe in the well-meant offer of the Gospel. These are not persons who are merely five point Calvinists. Five point Calvinism is not hyper-Calvinism, it’s just Calvinism. However, if one takes an additional logical jump from that point and says, therefore, we should not present the Gospel to all persons, they’re in direct conflict with the Scripture and direct disobedience to the call of God and in direct contradiction to the model of the apostles.” Mohler is more pointed in his remarks in his major address, “Don’t just Stand There Do Something,” Mohler states, “if your theology does not issue a determination to see the glory of God in the salvation of the lost, and see that responsibility as a sacred privilege, then take your theology somewhere else.”

3. Mohler has continually demonstrated commitment to the gospel at Southern Seminary. Under Mohler’s leadership, Southern has founded the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth; added requirements that all students take both Introduction to Missiology and Personal Evangelism; established the Great Commission Center to promote missions and evangelism opportunities on campus. Further, Dr. Mohler continually challenges students to be involved in missions and evangelism.

4. If elected, Mohler has pledged to lead our Convention in the cause of the gospel. Speaking of his nomination for SBC president, Mohler states, “Our greatest challenge is to recover our passion for the gospel in evangelism and missions and to renew our determination to defend the gospel in an age of postmodern confusion. I would hope to articulate a vision that would unite Southern Baptists and energize us together. . . . We are not a top-down denomination—and for good reason. I promise to do my best to encourage Southern Baptists to be even more faithful, more biblical, more evangelistic, and more thankful for what God has given us in this convention of churches.” I am confident that whether Mohler is elected as president or not, he will be a champion for the gospel and a leader in Great Commission work.

May we follow Dr. Mohlers' example and passion for the good news of Jesus Christ!

No comments: