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|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2011)|
|R. Albert Mohler, Jr.|
|Born||Richard Albert Mohler, Jr.
October 19, 1959
|Occupation||Seminary President, Scholar, Theologian|
|Era||Late 20th and Early 21st Centuries|
|Tradition or movement||Southern Baptist
- 1 Education and personal life
- 2 Career
- 3 Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
- 4 Media and editorial work
- 5 Theology and Other Faiths
- 6 Media appearances
- 7 Speaking engagements
- 8 Justice Sunday
- 9 Notable views
- 10 Other quotes
- 11 Resources
- 12 Selected bibliography
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Education and personal life
Mohler is a native of Lakeland in central Florida. As a child he attended Lake Yale, a Florida Baptist campground. During his Lakeland years he attended Southside Baptist Church. Mohler attended college at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton in Palm Beach County as a Faculty Scholar. He then received a Bachelor of Arts from Samford University, a private, coeducational Baptist-affiliated college in Birmingham, Alabama. His graduate degrees, a Master of Divinity and Ph.D. in "Systematic and Historical Theology," were conferred by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, also known as Southern Seminary. He is married to the former Mary Kahler. They have two children, Katie and Christopher.
In addition to his presidency at SBTS, Mohler is the former host of the The Albert Mohler Program, a nationwide radio show devoted to engaging contemporary culture with Christian beliefs. He is a member of the board of Focus on the Family and a member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Christianity Today recognized Mohler as a leader among American evangelicals, and in 2003 Time called him the "reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S." Mohler has presented lectures or addresses at a variety of conservative evangelical universities, including Samford University.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Mohler joined the staff of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky in 1983 as Coordinator of Foundation Support. In 1987, he became Director of Capital Funding, a post he held until 1989. While still a student he had served as assistant to then-President Roy Honeycutt. In February 1993, Mohler was appointed the ninth President of the seminary by the institution's board of trustees to succeed Honeycutt.
In 2004, Mohler hosted a symposiusm at Southern Seminary honoring Paul Pressler, the former judge from Houston, Texas, who was a prime leader in the Southern Baptist Convention Conservative resurgence that began in 1979, a movement which ultimately toppled the moderate faction from its control over the SBC. At the symposiusm held on the 25th anniversary of the Conservative resurgence, Pressler attributed rank-and-file church members for reversing the trend toward theological liberalsism in the denomination. Mohler said that without the Conservative resurgence, the SBC would in time have become as liberal as the Episcopal or the Methodist churches. Mohler said that because members of local churches are the ultimate decision makers in the denomination, the concerned laypeople were able to reverse the direction of the SBC.
Media and editorial work
Mohler served as editor of The Christian Index, the biweekly newsletter of the Georgia Baptist Convention. From 1985 to 1993 he was Associate Editor of the bi-monthly Preaching Magazine. Mohler also served on the Advisory Council for the 2001 English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. Mohler blogs on Crosswalk.com, a web site maintained by Salem Web Network of Richmond, Virginia.
Theology and Other Faiths
In 2008, Al Mohler did not sign An Evangelical Manifesto, publishing a lengthy explanation for his decision. Mohler is an evangelical and an exclusivist, which means that he believes Jesus is the only way through which an individual can attain salvation or have a relationship with God the Father. As a Calvinist, Mohler believes that human salvation is a free gift from God which cannot be earned by human action or will and is only given to the elect. He has publicly advanced this position with respect to Judaism, Islam, and Catholicism. He recently stated that "any belief system, any world view, whether it's Zen Buddhism or Hinduism or dialectical materialism for that matter, Marxism, that keeps persons captive and keeps them from coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, yes, is a demonstration of Satanic power." He believes Muslims are motivated by demonic power and in the months after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Mohler characterized Islamic views of Jesus as false and destructive:
I'm no specialist in Islamic theology. I'll let those who are debate whether or not there is that kind of militancy and warrior culture within Islamic theology. But I want to say as a Christian theologian, the biggest problem with Islamic theology is that it kills the soul.
The bigger problem with Islam is not that there are those who will kill the body in its name, but that it lies about God [and] presents a false gospel, an un-gospel… These are difficult things to say. This is not polite.
The secular world tends to look at Islam as a function of ethnicity which means seeking to convert these people to Christianity is an insult to them. But Christianity is a trans-ethnic faith, which understands that Christianity is not particular to or captured by any ethnicity, but seeks to reach all persons.
The secular world tends to look at Iraq and say, well, it's Muslim, and that's just a fact, and any Christian influence would just be a form of Western imperialism. The Christian has to look at Iraq and see persons desperately in need of the gospel. Compelled by the love and command of Christ, the Christian will seek to take that gospel in loving and sensitive, but very direct, ways to the people of Iraq.
Mohler appeared on MSNBC's Donahue on August 20, 2002. The subject was Christian evangelization of Jews. The show's host along with members of both Catholic and Jewish clergy criticized Mohler's insistence that salvation lies exclusively in the personal acceptance of Christ before the afterlife.
On May 5, 2003, Mohler appeared on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross to ponder the issue of evangelization of the Iraqis. At issue was whether the coupling of evangelizing with basic human aid relief might be perceived as aggressive or coercive by the Iraqi people, and whether such a perception, if widespread, might place other relief workers in jeopardy. Mohler argued that biblical, evangelical Christianity is not uniquely American, but exists as a movement throughout the world, so that Christian witnessing is not, in his view, to be interpreted as a move on the part of any single nation against the religion of another. At the same time, however, Mohler acknowledged the need for "sensitivity," and distanced himself from the idea that religion coerced. When pressed, Mohler expressed support for the idea of religious freedom as a theoretical matter of law.
On December 18, 2004, Mohler debated retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong on Faith Under Fire, a program hosted by Lee Strobel and appearing on PAX, a Christian television network. The subject was the historicity and truthfulness of the Bible.
On November 8–9, 2004, Mohler spoke at the annual meeting of the Florida Baptist State Convention.
On May 21, 2005, Mohler gave the commencement address at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Mohler told graduates they could display the glory of God by telling and defending the truth, sharing the gospel, engaging the culture, changing the world, loving the church and showing the glory of God in their own lives.
Mohler is on the board of directors of Focus on the Family. In this role he was one of the principal organizers of Justice Sunday, a nationally televised event broadcast from Highview Baptist Church, Mohler's home church, in Louisville on April 24, 2005. Mohler shared the stage with Charles Colson and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. U. S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist appeared at the event via videotape. Another host of the program was Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.
The purpose of the broadcast was to mobilize the conservative base in lobbying the United States Senate to curtail debate on the nominations to the federal judiciary made by George W. Bush.
We want to communicate to all that we are not calling for persons merely to be moral. We want them to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, because we don’t just need instruction, we need salvation. Now, because of that, something has to explain why we would take this time on a Sunday night to talk about something like the federal judiciary. I want to make clear why there is such a sense of urgency that we would do this. It’s because so much that is precious to us, so much that is essential to this civilization, this culture, this great democratic republic is in the hands of the courts. And we know that means that much is at risk. Because we have been watching. And we have been learning. For far too long, Christians have been concerned to elect the right people to office, and then go back home. We have learned the importance of the electoral process, and yet we're also discovering that that third branch of government, the judiciary, is so very, very important. We have been watching court cases come down the line. In 1973, Roe v. Wade [declared] a woman's right to an abortion. We now know in the aftermath of that decision, that Justice Harry Blackmun, who was the author of the majority opinion, even has admitted that they were determined to legalize abortion, and they just went to the Constitution to try to find an argument that would get them where they wanted to go. And they did. Now, that was a wake-up call for Americans to say, now wait a minute, there’s nothing in the Constitution about abortion. By no stretch of the imagination did the founders of this nation and the framers of that document intend for anyone to be able to read those words and find a right to kill unborn children.—Albert Mohler, April 24, 2005
||This section contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (May 2011)|
Mohler spoke in June 2004, about married adults who choose not to have children.
- The Scripture does not even envision married couples who choose not to have children. The shocking reality is that some Christians have bought into this lifestyle and claim childlessness as a legitimate option. The rise of modern contraceptives has made this technologically possible. But the fact remains that though childlessness may be made possible by the contraceptive revolution, it remains a form of rebellion against God's design and order.
Mohler has also been critical of birth control methods that prevent implantation of the fertilized egg, which he believes "involve nothing less than an early abortion." He has attempted to bring about a new reflection on the topic within Evangelical opinion.
Mohler asserted that he was one of the original signatories of the Manhattan Declaration because it is a limited ecumenical statement of Christian conviction on the topics of abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage, and not a wide-ranging theological document that subverts confessional integrity. He emphasized that he signed the document in spite of the fact that he has deep theological disagreements with the Catholic Church.
Abstinence from alcohol
In 2005, Mohler spoke at a forum at the Southern Baptist Seminary on the subject of "Alcohol and Ministry." While he agreed that the Bible does not explicitly condemn alcohol, he gave the following practical admonition to his audience, most of whom were seminary students:
- I can assure you of this: if you are associated with the use of beverage alcohol, I think I dare exaggerate not to say that 99% of all doors of ministry in the Southern Baptist Convention will be closed to you. And I do not believe that is an exaggeration. And let me tell you why...you may think, 'That just shows high-bound [sic for "how hidebound"] and unthinking the Southern Baptist Convention is.' Why should the Southern Baptist Convention or a local church take a risk? Why should it be in the position of deciding whether this is a problem or not. I mean, you have to understand, why would the church take that on?
If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.—R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Mohler was frustrated by the public response to his statement.
Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Marxism
According to Mohler, yoga practice is not consistent with Christianity.
- When Christians practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga. The contradictions are not few, nor are they peripheral. The bare fact is that yoga is a spiritual discipline by which the adherent is trained to use the body as a vehicle for achieving consciousness of the divine... The embrace of yoga is a symptom of our postmodern spiritual confusion... 
Mohler was surprised by feedback from Christian proponents of yoga.
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- "When a denomination begins to consider doctrine divisive, theology troublesome, and convictions inconvenient, consider that denomination on its way to a well-deserved death." (Southern Baptist Convention meeting, July 1995)
- "Don't Just Do Something: Stand There. Don't Just Stand There: Do Something."
- "I want to assist churches and to assist pastors in training pastors. But, after fourteen years of service in this capacity, I am absolutely certain that the finest theological seminary on earth is absolutely incompetent at replicating the actual life of a Gospel congregation. I want to train a generation of pastors who will train pastors, and I want to help them in that task." Interview with Albert Mohler.
- "I can only hope that every minister could come to know friends as true, as faithful, and as genuine as I have come to know in C. J., Mark, and Lig. We are exhilarated in being together, and we take tremendous delight in each other. One of the problems we face in today’s church is that men are not often sustained by authentic friendships. This is especially deadly for pastors." Interview with Albert Mohler
- "Mr. Osteen can be assured that his weak and evasive non-answer to this reporter's question will put him at very little risk for arrest. But then, pandering prophets are rarely at much of a risk from the public anyway. There was no conviction in his answer; no clear declaration of biblical truth; no Gospel, no judgment, and no promise. Just a non-answer with a smile. Pathetic . . . simply pathetic." (regarding Osteen's failure to declare homosexuality as sin)
- "Modeling Modesty" by Mary Mohler
- "Transforming Culture: Christian Truth Confronts Post-Christian America"
- "Ministry is Stranger Than it Used to Be: The Challenge of Postmodernism"
- "The Urgency of Preaching"
- "Biblical Pattern of Male Leadership Limits Pastorate to Men"
- "Does God Give Bad Advice? The 'Open' View of God Stakes its Ground"
- "Keeping The Faith In a Faithless Age: The Church As The Moral Minority"
- "The Compassion of Truth: Homosexuality in Biblical Perspective"
- "The Scandal of the Empty Tomb: The Glory of the Resurrection"
- "Consider Your Calling: The Call to the Ministry"
- "The Nature of True Beauty" (MP3).
- "The Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage" PDF and MP3.
- Address on "Justice Sunday" in MP3
- Links to Mohler's favorite bloggers
- Russell D. Moore, Senior Vice President of Academic Administration, and Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary, presented an article at ETS entitled "After Patriarchy, What? Why Egalitarians Are Winning the Evangelical Gender Debate"
- Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists ISBN 978-1-4335-0497-6
- Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth (Today's Critical Concerns) ISBN 978-1-59052-974-4
- He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World ISBN 978-0-8024-5489-8 (Release Date: September 1, 2008)
- Desire and Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance ISBN 978-1-60142-080-0 (Release Date: September 16, 2008)
- The Conviction to Lead: The 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters, expresses the view that leadership stems from conviction and moral character (2012).
Books edited by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
- Gods of This Age or God of the Ages? Essays by Carl F. H. Henry (Editor) ISBN 0-8054-1548-3
- Theological Education in the Evangelical Tradition (Editor, with D. G. Hart) ISBN 0-8010-2061-1
Books to which R. Albert Mohler, Jr., has contributed
- Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching ISBN 1-57358-144-5
- The Coming Evangelical Crisis: Current Challenges to the Authority of Scripture and the Gospel by R. Kent Hughes (Editor), John MacArthur, Jr. (Editor), R. C. Sproul (Editor), Michael S. Horton (Editor), Albert, Jr. Mohler (Editor), John H. Armstrong (Editor) (Moody, 1996) ISBN 0-8024-7738-0
- The Compromised Church John H. Armstrong (Editor) (Crossway Books, 1998) ISBN 1-58134-006-0
- Why I Am a Baptist Tom J. Nettles and Russell D. Moore Eds. Chapter 6 (p. 58), entitled "Being Baptist Means Conviction" (Broadman & Holman, 2001) ISBN 0-8054-2426-1
- A Theology For The church Daniel L. Akin (Editor). Conclusion (p. 927) entitled "The Pastor as Theologian" (Broadman & Holman, 2007) ISBN 978-0-8054-2640-3
- "Speakers say heart of Gospel is to show God’s glory". Florida Baptist Witness. 2004. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- "The Albert Mohler Radio Program". Archived from the original on 19 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- "Board of Directors". Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
- Liston, Broward (2003-04-15). "Interview: Missionary Work in Iraq". Time. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
- "Jeff Robinson, Pressler: Conservative resurgence was grassroots movement, March 30, 2004". Baptist Press News. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
- "The Christian Index".
- "Preaching Magazine".
- "Albert Mohler's Blog on Crosswalk.com". Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
- http://www.albertmohler.com/?cat=Blog&cid=1147 Comments on An Evangelical Manifesto
- The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News Channel. March 17, 2006.
- "Mohler calls Catholicism 'false church'". Baptist Standard. 2000-03-03. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
- "Speak about Islam clearly & without fear, Mohler says". Baptist Press. 2001-10-19. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
- "Baptist Press - Christ the only way for both Jews, gentiles, Mohler says on 'Donahue' - News with a Christian Perspective". Bpnews.net. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- Liston, Broward (2003-04-15). "Interview: Missionary Work in Iraq". TIME. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- Debate Over Christian Aid to Iraq Nationally Aired in The Christian Post
- Speakers say heart of Gospel is to show God’s glory. Florida Baptist Witness. Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
- "Largest class graduates from Union University - News Release | Union University". Uu.edu. 2005-05-23. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- Democracy Now May 5, 2005
- R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (2004). "Deliberate Childlessness: Moral Rebellion With a New Face". gender-news.com. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- "Can Christians Use Birth Control?".
- "Why I Signed The Manhattan Declaration".
- Transcription from Steve McCoy (2005). "SBTS: Alcohol and Ministry Audio". Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- "A Statement from the Heart — Danny Akin on Alcohol". conventionalthinking.net. 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- "Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?". 2007-03-02. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (2007-03-16). "FIRST PERSON: 'Is your baby gay?' — setting the record straight". Baptist Press. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- "The Subtle Body — Should Christians Practice Yoga?". 2010-09-20. Archived from the original on 6 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- "Southern Baptist leader on yoga: Not Christianity". 2010-10-07. Archived from the original on 11 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- [dead link]
- "INTERVIEW – Dr. Albert Mohler, Radio Host and Theologian". Adrian.warnock.info. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "AlbertMohler.com". AlbertMohler.com. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- Author Mohler: Conviction Is Key to Leadership, December 2, 2012. Bethany House Publishers, ISBN 0764210041. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
- AlbertMohler.com Official website