As I’ve interacted with various people about the contemporary Social Justice controversy in the Church––from friends, to pastors, to “big-wigs,” to seminary students––I’ve realized that too many seem to have forgotten why Christian stalwarts, like Al Mohler, have the prestigious legacies they have now.
As a way to remind myself of that history, I began doing a little research and quickly stumbled across this fairly recent article by Dr. Mohler, in which he recalls “10 Lessons” from the Conservative Resurgence, of which he played an integral part in the later stages.
Mohler did not intend these words as advice for those of us fighting the liberal insurgence of the gospel-destroying Social Justice movement. But they are certainly relevant, and ironically encouraging.
I’ve copied and pasted some particularly salient excerpts from his comments beneath each of the “10 Lessons” below. (Click here for the full article.)
1. Isolation Never Lasts
“Churches more conservative by culture, and maybe more isolated from the cultural elites, can live in false comfort that theological liberalism won’t arrive. But isolation is no protection; it doesn’t last.”
2. Pietism Is No Protector of Orthodoxy
“In the SBC, we had our own form of pietism. The question would be, “How could this person be a liberal? Look how committed he is to the church!” But pietism is no protector of doctrine.”
3. Pragmatism Undermines Doctrine
“Pragmatism means you minimize the theology and maximize the program — a recipe that led to liberalism inside our churches. Many Southern Baptists believed that if we were growing, we couldn’t possibly be liberal. It was a form of self-blindness.”
4. Confessionalism Is Necessary, But Not Sufficient
“Southern Baptists also said to themselves, We can’t be liberal because we have a confession of faith. But it wasn’t enforced… It must be required and regulated… And leaders must be chosen and maintained on the basis of confessional faithfulness.”
5. Reformation Requires Great Effort and Conviction
5) “Those who led the reformation in the SBC had to put their personal reputations at risk. They had to be willing to be called troublemakers. They had to put at risk any future opportunity for leadership and influence. “
6. Recovery Is Extremely Costly
“These issues are so deep and so important that several of the relationships were forever broken. At the human level, that’s difficult. But a church unwilling to break relationships for the cause of truth is a church that will embrace liberalism and abdicate the faith.”
7. The Greatest Opposition to Reformation Comes from the Middle
“The greatest enemies of reformation aren’t the most liberal, nor the most heretical. The greatest opposition to reformation comes from the middle — those who don’t want to take a definite position, who want to preserve denominational peace and don’t want to pay the cost.”
8. The Greatest Challenge Is the Transfer from Generation to Generation
“We can now see that this is how liberalism crept in. At key moments of generational transition, the younger generation is far more liberal than their parents.”
9. Reformations Sometimes Fail
“Once there’s no reasonable hope for recovery; … once remaining in the denomination is to commit apostasy and to enable and to fund heresy, and to grant respectability to unbelief, then it’s time to leave.”
10. Our Confidence Is in No One But Christ
“We need to think not only in personal and family terms, but sometimes in denominational terms. There are moments in which we simply have to sing, ‘Let goods and kindred go.’ “