Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Southern Baptists and Mormons - Discerning the Times

You really should take the time to read the following.  It is a copy of the address that Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently made at Brigham Young University (a very Mormon school).  It was actually a historic moment worth noting, when the leaders of the Mormon University invited one of the most visible and articulate Southern Baptists to speak to them.  This has rarely happened in history.
Two things worth noting. 
1) Because of the peculiarity of our times - the increasing resistance to people of faith who have traditional beliefs about marriage and the impending waves of persecution (whatever form or intensity we don't know) against these people of faith who hold to the traditional view of marriage - peoples of very different faith such as evangelical Christians, Catholic Christians, Mormons, and Jews, are beginning to understand the need to band together in these times for political-social reasons.  This has hardly happened in the past 100 years, when these people of faith have tended to keep their distance from each other.  Now, BGU asks Dr. Albert Mohler, who some consider to be the most influential evangelical thinker-writer of our day, to speak to them!  That is really amazing.
2) Please notice Dr. Mohler's apologetic - his defense for the gospel.  Given that opportunity, he knew that the secular media could easily begin saying that Southern Baptists now accept Mormon theology.  Knowing that and knowing the great differences in the two theologies about salvation, Mohler very respectfully, lovingly, and truthfully address the differences.
The most notable quote from the address is as follows.  It is truly a moment worth noting in our changing times:
This is what brings me to Brigham Young University today. I am not here because I believe we are going to heaven together. I do not believe that. I believe that salvation comes only to those who believe and trust only in Christ and in his substitutionary atonement for salvation. I believe in justification by faith alone, in Christ alone. I love and respect you as friends, and as friends we would speak only what we believe to be true, especially on matters of eternal significance. We inhabit separate and irreconcilable theological worlds, made clear with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity. And yet here I am, and gladly so. We will speak to one another of what we most sincerely believe to be true, precisely because we love and respect one another.
I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together. I do not mean to exaggerate, but we are living in the shadow of a great moral revolution that we commonly believe will have grave and devastating human consequences. Your faith has held high the importance of marriage and family. Your theology requires such an affirmation, and it is lovingly lived out by millions of Mormon families. That is why I and my evangelical brothers and sisters are so glad to have Mormon neighbors. We stand together for the natural family, for natural marriage, for the integrity of sexuality within marriage alone, and for the hope of human flourishing.
In this city, I am honored to come among those who, though of a different faith, share common concerns and urgencies. I come as a Christian, and I come as one who is honored by your kind and gracious invitation. I come in the hope of much further conversations, conversations about urgencies both temporal and eternal. I am unashamed to stand with you in the defense of marriage and family and a vision of human sexual integrity. I am urgently ready to speak and act in your defense against threats to your religious liberty, even as you have shown equal readiness to speak and act in defense of mine. We share love for the family, love for marriage, love for the gift of children, love of liberty, and love of human society. We do so out of love and respect for each other.

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