Al Mohler: Conservative Christians Want a 20% Theocracy!
Historian Bruce Gourley, Assoc. Director of the Center for Baptist Studies at Mercer University (Macon, GA), has an article on the Mainstream Baptists’ Group Blog that all those concerned with religious liberty and church-state separation should read. Gourley refers to a recent radio program by R. Albert Mohler, Jr., current president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and an increasingly influential figure of the U. S. Religious Right. (Full disclosure of my own bias: I have known Mohler since the mid-’80s and there has never been any love lost between us. That personal dislike became extreme after Mohler became SBTS president and preceded to destroy my alma mater and came close to ruining the lives of many of my favorite professors, whose reputations he did his best to destroy through incredible falsehoods. I have tried to get over this and time has helped, along with revival of most of my professors’ fortunes in other settings, but I am still likely to interpret anything Mohler says or does in the worst possible light. Readers should allow for that bias as they investigate for themselves.)
In this radio program, Mohler tries to redefine the term “theocracy,” claiming that the Puritan church establishments of New England were NOT theocracies, despite the long use of that term by historians to describe the way the Standing Order of New England Puritanism controlled virtually all the laws and persecuted all dissenters. Mohler went on to claim that contemporary conservative Christians like himself did not want a theocracy in the U.S., but only wanted control of “about 20%” of the U.S. government!!!!
Which 20%? The Dept. of Education? The IRS? The Dept. of Health & Human Services? The Supreme Court?
This rejection of church-state separation would shame early Baptists of all theological and political stripes. In any nation where they have not been a persecuted minority, Christians have tried to influence policies in a moral fashion, Baptists included, but not in any form of control. As Gourley reminds us, early Baptists did not just argue for their own religious freedom but protected the rights of others, including Jews, Turks (Muslims), pagans (Native Americans), Deists, atheist skeptics, and more. Now, when Baptists are a large minority within the U.S. and, in some states, a majority, they cannot forsake liberty loving values of their heritage for a mess of majoritarian pottage.
I’m sure that Roger Williams, John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes, John Leland and other early Baptists are horrified at these words from a spiritual descendant. If anything could dim the joy of Glory, surely it is this betrayal.
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