Monday, April 26, 2010

Not Sure What to Call This. Basically Rambling on Al Mohler-ish Stuff.

When somebody chatting away on Twitter or Facebook or one of those inane blog thingys said a week or two ago that T4G is a gathering of 7,000 nerds, well, I plead guilty. So when I say that Albert Mohler's retrospective on the very non-moderate life of Cecil Sherman is fascinating, I have to be a bit self-aware that few of you are as nerdy as I am. But hey, you're reading . . .

Mohler's argument is that Sherman was no moderate. He was a theological liberal, and an honest one. His honesty actually helped crystallize the need for a house-cleaning by conservatives in the SBC, which kicked off in the late-70s. (At least something good happened during the Carter administration.)

I can't remember hearing his name prior to the news of his death, but my understanding of history is enriched by a bit of familiarity of a man in the center of a struggle—a struggle involving both theology and politics. Sherman seems to have been one of those unusual people who appear in the midst of that sort of struggle, but who possess little taste for the political maneuvering that so often obscures theological clarity.

About an hour before Mohler tweeted news that he posted the Sherman article, he tweeted this:
It is not the critic who counts...The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust & sweat & blood.
That made me think back to the talks Mohler delivered at a Sovereign Grace pastors' conference in which he told the story of the recovery of Southern Seminary. My fundamentalist friend, don't listen if you want to keep thinking of Mohler as a pinko-commie neo-evangelical sliding down the slope to the apostates section of "What in the World."

But since I did you that favor, maybe you can do me one: Next time you hear a fundamentalist speaker tell you about Billy Graham's crusades, AND how they involved Roman Catholics and mainline Protestant liberals, AND how Al Mohler chaired one of them, maybe ask that speaker how many Roman Catholics and liberals were in the Mohler-chaired crusade. And then ask him how many other Graham crusades were like that one in the past 50 years. And if his answer is more than zero, or he doesn't know, maybe you could ask him to check the facts with Dr. Mohler. Just a little favor. Thanks.


Dan Salter said...

I don't normally comment on blogs just to say "good point." But, in this case, Ben,...good point!

Ben said...

I've received e-mails from two different friends today from two strikingly different perspectives. One seems to think I'm offering a blanket endorsement of Mohler for the initial decision to co-chair. I'm not. I don't think anything I said implies that.

The other e-mailer has heard three presentations in the last six months from fundamentalists who spoke of Mohler's co-chairmanship without any reference to the facts about Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant liberal participation—or rather, the lack thereof.

That's my point. Criticize the choice to co-chair and explain how it perpetuates confusion. But let's stop misrepresenting, ok? Deliberate misrepresentation is reprehensible.

Strikes me odd when fundamentalists who cry foul if some evangelical lumps them in with the wacko fundamentalist streams fail to grant the same charity.

brian said...

I would add an "amen" to Dan. You are apparently a nerd.

But take heart, this is coming from a guy who wished he could have made it 7001 nerds.

brian said...

I would add an "amen" to Dan's comment. You apparently really are a nerd.

But take heart, this is coming from a guy who wished he could have made it 7,001 nerds at T4G.