Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Even Daniel only went into the lion's den once

Last October Dr. Albert Mohler, long time president of Southern Seminary and one of the great Christian minds of this or any era, visited Brigham Young University (BYU), flagship school of the so-called "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints", better known as the mormon church. I wrote at the time that a post, The Enemy Of My Enemy Is Not Always My Friend. I felt it was a serious error in judgment on part of Dr. Mohler. I say that as an admitted admirer of Dr. Mohler even when I disagree with some of his positions. This was one of the few times when I felt that he had greatly erred and did so at a serious cost to the mission and message of the legitimate church. Today I was aghast to see that he appeared at BYU again.

The answer to encroaching secularism is increased Gospel faithfulness even to the point of the ageless Christian witness of persecution and suffering. It is not to join forces with religious organizations that espouse aberrant theology and certainly not to seek alliances with outright pagan groups like the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint". Dr. Mohler's message of the day, Strengthen the Things that Remain: Human Dignity, Human Rights, and Human Flourishing in a Dangerous Age — An Address at Brigham Young University, focuses on the three issues in the title.

In spite of this caveat...
The presence of the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary behind the podium at Brigham Young University requires some explanation. I come as an evangelical Christian, committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to the trinitarian beliefs of the historic Christian faith. I come as one who does not share your theology and who has long been involved in urgent discussions about the distinctions between the faith of the Latter Day Saints and the faith of the historic Christian church. I come as who I am, and your leaders invited me to come knowing who I am. I have come knowing who you are and what you believe and my presence here does not mean that the distance between our beliefs has been reduced. It does mean, however, that we now know something that we did not know before. We need to talk. We can and must take the risk of responsible, respectful, and honest conversation. We owe this to each other, and we owe this to the faiths we represent. And we had better talk with candor and urgency, for the times demand it.
....I found his message to be bitterly ironic in that there is at least as much danger in a fuzzy ecumenism, a "big tent" religious coalition where the church of Christ is seated with polytheistic pagan faiths like mormonism, as there is in "secularism". We certainly need to talk to mormons but what we need to tell them is not "we are your partners" but rather "we bring you warning of the coming judgment and call on you to repent and turn from your idolatry". It does not help the Gospel cause to join arms with mormonism, speaking at the their school that propagates "another gospel" as we are warned about in Paul's introduction to his letter to the church in Galatia. It does not clarify and distinguish more clearly the true church from the pagan pretender to honor the leaders of mormonism with the title "elder", a perversion of a Biblical function that has been twisted and warped by Joseph Smith and his successors.

Religious liberty is not a Kingdom issue. Freedom of conscience as it pertains to providing contraception is not a Kingdom. Human rights are not a Kingdom issues, odd as that sounds. We preach a message of human dignity with all human beings being equally made in the image of God. We also don't expect that message to resonate with the unregenerate. We will not advance the Kingdom by fighting political battles, win or lose. We do not proclaim the Gospel by engaging the culture side by side with unbelievers and blasphemers. The issues of the day raised by Dr. Mohler are not new. They existed in the child sacrifice of the pagan nations of the Old Testament. They also existed in the days of the apostles. They have been a part of the fallen human experience since the very beginning when brother rose up to murder brother but through it all the people of God did not join forces with the pagan religions of their day to change laws or impact public opinion. In the midst of a pluralistic paganism, the saints of the early church stood firmly for the Gospel, and nothing else but the Gospel. They faced jail, persecution, torture and even murder for the sake of winning the lost to Christ. Should we shrink away from the hard road, carrying our own crosses for the sake of Christ and rejoicing in our suffering, our alienation from the world and the shedding of our blood? I fear the church, even among the most brilliant and stalwart defenders, seem more concerned with preserving a religious standard of living than in forsaking all for the cause of Christ. Our affluence, our comfort, our partnership with Caesar has made us soft, weak and willing to compromise rather than face walking that lonely road.

Dr.Mohler is a brilliant man, a precious regenerate adopted child of God and my beloved brother in Christ but in spite of the eloquent words and passionate speech he has erred once again in seeking allies among those who are by nature still the children of wrath and the enemies of the Gospel. I urge him to change course for the sake of the lost of the world and the witness of the church. The church is at our most powerful when we are the weakest and we are weakest when we compromise ourselves for any cause other than the Gospel

1 comment:

Aussie John said...

" there is at least as much danger in a fuzzy ecumenism, a "big tent" religious coalition where the church of Christ is seated with polytheistic pagan faiths like mormonism, as there is in "secularism". "

So right!