August 26, 2007

Dr. Albert Mohler Jr. on Courage

Dr. Mohler, is one of the staunchest anti-gay ministry leaders around. You may remember a few months ago when I shared with you his idea of developing a way to "cure" homosexual babies while still in the womb. Hit latest uttering was published in the "On Faith" section of the Washington Post website. I'm posting it here in its entireity followed by my comments:

A Failure of Courage
Churches and denominations that invite or allow their standards to be openly violated institutionalize hypocrisy. This usually indicates that the church lacks both the courage to change the standards and the conviction to enforce them.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA] has voted to encourage its bishops not to take punitive action against ministers who violate the denomination's ban on active homosexuals in the ministry. Last year, the Presbyterian Church USA [PCUSA] took a similar action, allowing local jurisdictions (presbyteries) to ordain candidates for ministry who violate a similar policy. Both cases represent tragic failures of leadership. Both churches failed to maintain their own standards and lacked the courage or consensus to change them.

All this is further evidence of why the liberal denominations are in such a decline in terms of membership and influence. These churches are divided between liberals who push constantly for doctrinal changes and conservatives who are determined to keep standards they believe to be mandated by the Bible. The conservatives are losing.

The liberals are pushing for the full normalization of homosexuality. This runs right into conflict with biblical prohibitions and clashes with the standards of these churches. Liberals in these two denominations dominate the landscape in the seminaries and church bureaucracies, but they have not yet been able to muster adequate support to change the policies. Conservatives are losing a battle akin to theological trench warfare. The big battles are lost an inch at a time.

Bishops, presbyteries, and congregations are charged to maintain the doctrines and standards of the church. When a bishop or presbytery or congregation fails in this task the whole church suffers. When this failure is made a matter of policy, the entire church embraces hypocrisy. When bishops are encouraged to allow doctrines and standards to be violated, they are encouraged to violate the integrity of their office. The same holds true for presbyteries or congregations, depending on the form of church government.

This process does not start with issues of sexuality, of course. Long before these churches faced controversies over sexuality, they had already allowed the doctrinal foundations of their churches to be eroded and compromised.

In other words, a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on doctrine preceded a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on matters of sexuality.

The only means of recovery is repentance and an affirmation of biblical authority. "Don't ask, don't tell" just doesn't work in church.

Here is a copy of the e-mail I sent to Dr. Mohler in response.

I am writing this in response to your essay in the Washington Post titled "A Failure of Courage,"
your latest attempt to diminish and marginalize an entire section of God's creation, homosexuals.

I've read numerous pieces like this you've written and seen you on television touting the same line, showing a smugness and assuredness that leaves no possibility of error or, worse, indicates intentional misinterpretation of scripture to suit your personal prejudices.

I suspect it is not difficult to take this approach with a group of people when you're sitting at a computer screen or looking into a television camera. In those situations, they are a nameless, faceless abstract concept; the homosexuals.

Have you ever gone to a house of worship with a congregation that is predominantly gay and lesbian? Have you ever looked them in the eye, one person at a time, and spewed your message of how God condemns their "lifestyle," even those who are in long-term committed relationships (something straight ministers seem to be having more and more problem sustaining themselves). Have you witnessed gay Christians soaking in the Holy Spirit, speaking words from the Lord, and told them that it is all an illusion?

You write about the courage of the church in your latest essay, do YOU have the courage to come to my church, Believers Covenant Fellowship, in northern Virginia and worship with us? Do you have the courage to take a chance that you might experience a truly enlightening spiritual experience with a group of homosexuals that all have names and faces?

I have the courage to make this challenge to you and give you the opportunity to look me in the eye and tell me that my GLBT brothers and sisters do not deserve the right to stand with you and me in full fellowship in God's kingdom. My pastor, Dale Jarrett, enthusiastically endorses this challege and invites you to join us in our worship, 11:00 AM every Sunday.

I'm sure you wouldn't want to waste your time with a small congretation like ours, so to make the trip worth your time, we will make sure to capture the service on video, especially the part where you talk to Apostle Jarrett and myself afterward to share your thoughts on our worship experience. We will then post it on You Tube so you can have a substantial audience.

Do you have enough courage to venture into apparently unknown territory? I hope so. My GLBT brothers and sisters would welcome the opportunity to show you a side of God your writing indicates that you have not expereicned.


Jim Johnson

I'll let everyone know if I receive any type of response to this e-mail. You can contact Dr. Mohler at if you would like to share your thoughts on his views of the GLBT community.

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