Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Southern Baptist Convention Must Change or Die

Yesterday Dr. Al Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave an address to students on the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Mohler's analysis is very instructive. He compares the SBC to General Motors, which had its heyday in the mid-20th century and, because of a failure to adapt to a changing world, saw its fortunes decline to the point of bankruptcy.

I encourage every Southern Baptist to listen to (or watch) this address. For some, his words will resonate as a welcome addition to what has been voiced from various sectors of the SBC for years. For others, what he has to say may be eye-opening or even alarming. Though I could wish it were otherwise, there will no doubt be a few who try to dismiss his warnings as extremist and somehow disloyal to all things conservative in the SBC.

The winds of change are blowing across the SBC. Those who recognize the need for change must stand with and encourage those denominational leaders who are trying to point the way forward with a renewed commitment to the centrality of the gospel. In his address to SBTS students, Dr. Mohler is doing just that.

I have tried to explain these issues for a broader audience of readers in a different forum. At the suggestion of Marty Duren (who has also written on this issue), I have recently agreed to write for examiner.com, a new online news outlet that features local writers for most of its news. My assigned area is "Christian Spirituality Examiner" for the Tampa Bay area. Most of my articles there will be broader than the SBC world and will seek to address issues from a gospel-centered, Christian perspective. If you are interested in knowing more about this new venture, email me.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pray for Al Mohler as he anticipates surgery

A press release from Southern Seminary announces Dr. Mohler will be scheduled for surgery to remove a pre-cancerous tumor from his colon. This has necessitated his withdrawing his name from being nominated for the SBC presidency in June.

Pray for Dr. Mohler and his family as they face this medical trial.

Full text of the announcement:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, will require additional surgery after a scheduled colonoscopy on February 11 revealed a tumor in his colon. An initial biopsy indicated that the tumor is pre-cancerous and further tests are to be scheduled, along with surgical options.

Mohler, 48, underwent major abdominal surgery in late December 2006, complicated by the development of bilateral blood clots in his lungs. Doctors will take special precautions to prevent a recurrence of the blood clots with this new surgery. Specialists are consulting on the case, and a decision on the date and location for the surgery is to be made in the very near future. The procedure is likely to require an extensive period for recuperation and recovery.

Mohler expressed gratitude to God that medical personnel found the tumor this early. "Sometimes we take it for granted that we live in an age like this one, in which God has given us the blessing of medical technology," Mohler said. "For most of human history, a tumor such as this one would have gone unnoticed until it was too late. I am thankful for modern medicine, but I am even more thankful that we live in a world in which our God hears us when we pray, a Father who listens to his children."

Mohler said that Southern Seminary "would not skip a beat" during his recuperation.
"I have absolute confidence in the seminary leadership team. We will move forward with momentum," Mohler said. "God has blessed and is blessing Southern Seminary. We do not take that for granted, and we pledge to be good stewards of that blessing, even through this time."

Mohler said that his time of recuperation would necessarily alter some of his plans as he gives first priority to his health and his family.

"Some have asked how this new development affects my nomination to be president of the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis this June," Mohler said. "I have decided to give my greatest attention right now to addressing this new challenge and to ministering to my wife and children. This is clearly not the right time for me to accept this nomination. I have asked my good friend Robert Jeffress not to proceed with nominating me for president of our Southern Baptist Convention this year.

"Frankly that decision is made much easier by my knowledge that there is at least one strongly conservative, committed pastor who intends to be nominated in Indianapolis," Mohler said.

Southern Seminary will release additional information as it becomes available. The Mohler family has expressed appreciation for all concern, prayer and encouragement.

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