Mohler equates 'seductive' post-modern preaching, liberalism
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (ABP) -- A Southern Baptist seminary president recently warned pastors and other church leaders about "postmodern" preachers whose sermons sound biblical but who don't believe the Bible is literally true.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., contrasted postmodernism with modern liberal theology. He said modernists attempt to make the Bible relevant by "demythologizing" stories of miracles, which in their scientific world view cannot occur. Postmodernism goes further, he said, viewing modernity itself as just one more account of reality and contending that truth is not an objective reality.
"Postmodernism is more seductive than modernism," Mohler said April 13 at Together for the Gospel, a biennial conference he and three other preachers started in 2006 to counter popular Christian teaching that they believe adulterates the gospel.
"Most of the people in this room would recognize modern anti-supernaturalism," Mohler said. "You know liberal theology when it's labeled liberal theology. But what you have to watch for is liberal theology that isn't packaged as liberal theology."
Mohler specifically criticized Brian McLaren's newest book, A New Kind of Christianity, which he and three Southern Seminary professors previously dissected in an hour-long panel discussion on the campus in Louisville, Ky.
Mohler quoted passages that McLaren, a leader in the "emergent church," wrote about the morality of God in the Bible.
"By the way, he speaks of the Bible as a library, a community library in which we walk," Mohler digressed. "It's not, he says, a constitutional collection of documents to which we are accountable. It's simply a library in which we are picking and choosing our meaning."
"But he says in the Bible we find an evolving morality, even of God," Mohler said. "He admits that he finds many depictions of God in the Bible to be horrifying to modern morality. He thinks of the Bible 'moving from less to more mature views of God.' Then he writes this: 'Scripture faithfully reveals the evolution of our ancestors' best attempts to communicate their successive best understandings of God.' That's the most he can say about Scripture."
Mohler accused McLaren of "trying to salvage Christianity from its immorality" in the same way that classical liberals sought to rescue Christianity from the miracles.
"There's not even a hint of revelation there," Mohler said. He described McLaren's view of inspiration as "light years to the left" of Harry Emerson Fosdick, a famous liberal Protestant who preached at the historic Riverside Church in New York City and was a central figure in the modernist/fundamentalist controversy in the 1920s and 1930s.
Mohler quoted a footnote where McLaren commented, "I would rather for atheism to be true than for the Greco-Roman theos narrative to be true."
"By that he means the gospel as we understand it to be clearly communicated in Scripture," Mohler translated.
Together for the Gospel started with a friendship of four pastors who disagreed on a number of theological issues but were committed to a shared understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Co-founders Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington; Ligon Duncan, senior minister of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Miss., and current moderator of the Presbyterian Church in America; and C.J. Mahaney of Sovereign Grace Ministries were also featured speakers for the third Together for the Gospel conference held April 13-15 in Louisville.
Other preachers included Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Southern California, Pastor John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and R.C. Sproul, a radio preacher who runs a multi-media Christian-education organization called Ligonier Ministries.
is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.
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