EMPOWER EVANGELISM CONFERENCE: Mohler: Stand on truth amid change

EULESS?Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. told those gathered at the annual SBTC Cooperative Program Luncheon Feb. 7 that amid rapid cultural decline and consequent challenges, Southern Baptists must stand on truth.

Mohler thanked the SBTC for its support of SBC missions causes and said when those in SBC entities think of friends, “we think of you.” He also thanked SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards for his support, stating that Richards “is one of the most forward-thinking and theologically minded leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Preaching from 1 Kings 18 and 19, which recounts Elijah’s confronting of Ahab and his subsequent flight from adversity, Mohler said standing on truth will eventually put you amid controversy.

“And if you’re going to stand there you are going to find yourself permanently fixed in some level of controversy.” Mohler said well-meaning Christians sometimes ask him: “How long are we going to be in this level of controversy? When are we going to get past it? Well, I think it is about the last chapter of the Book,” Mohler quipped.

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah found himself in a controversy worth having, opposite the prophets of Baal, over God’s true identity.

Mohler noted that in 1 Kings 18:17, King Ahab accuses Elijah: “‘Is this you, you troubler of Israel?’

“It’s a wicked king who considers God’s prophet the troublemaker.”

“That’s where we are,” Mohler said. “We’re living in the midst of a wicked society that thinks God’s prophet is the troublemaker. Some things never change.”

Mohler said the problem of hesitating between two opinions, which Elijah confronted the people about in verse 21, is a real temptation for today’s pastors?even those who believe the truth.

“A denomination which hesitates between two opinions on key issues of truth and crucial issues of doctrine,” Mohler stated, “is a denomination that has swallowed the poison pill of accommodation and compromise and it will reap what it has sown.”

A church cannot be unclear about what it is truth and what is and is not the gospel. Likening double-mindedness to mental illness, Mohler said such thinking “is the affliction of our age.”

“If the Lord is God, follow him,” Mohler said, citing the text. “But if Baal, follow him”

Elijah thought he alone was left as the prophet of God; he was mistaken, Mohler noted.

After God called down fire and brimstone in awesome power, Elijah became fearful of Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, finally hiding himself in a cave, thinking he alone was left as God’s man.

“This (fear) is the pastor’s dilemma,” Mohler said. “This is the Christian leader’s predicament. Even denominations find themselves in very similar challenges,” Mohler said.

When God confronts him, Elijah again mistakenly states that he alone is left among God’s prophets. Instead, God informs him of 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal.

“One of the reasons for us to gather together is to remember that we are not alone,” Mohler reminded.
“We are not alone. There are faithful churches all over this country. There are faithful churches all over this state. It’s not our doing, it’s God’s doing. God has his faithful all over the world. But sometimes, in some contexts we can stand alone, but even then we’re not really alone.”

After the successes of the conservative theological resurgence, “We arrive in the year 2006 ? in a year in which it would be very tempting to hide in a cave,” Mohler said.

Referring to a news article that claimed Southern Baptists were scared of modernity, Mohler stated, “I’m not scared of it. But I do fear it. I see the worldviews taking captive soul after soul after soul. I fear the theological accommodationism that has taken denomination after denomination, church after church, institution after institution.

“I’m not intimidated by modernity. I just intend to fight that aspect of it with every fiber of my being.” Souls hang in the balance, he added.

Mohler said Baptists don’t have to be thankful for the theological controversies of the past, but they must be thankful for what God did through them.

“Your state convention is proof positive that there are people who will take a stand for truth and do the right thing.”

TEXAN Correspondent
Jerry Pierce
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