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51 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    Al Mohler needs to make a big apology to both unmarried adult singles and childless couples. How insensitive can you get? I know singles that would love to be married and couples that would love to have children. If it wasn’t for this idolatry in the church to be married with kids, the church would be much better off.

  2. Josh says:

    I would like to say this is sloppy wording from Mohler, but he has been fairly consistent with this message since the early 2000’s.

  3. Josh says:

    I like the “9 words” article.

  4. Michael says:

    That was the end of me taking Mohler seriously as someone who should be listened to…he’s simply another fundamentalist crank as far as I’m concerned.

  5. Josh says:

    Totally disagree with Michael on that point, bu Mohler is wrong on this.

  6. Steve says:

    I thought I liked Mohler at one time but I’m with you Michael. This is pathetic.

  7. Michael says:

    My problem wasn’t just the nonsensical position he took, but more so, the way he blew people off that called him on it. I’m so sick of that kind of “leadership”….

  8. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    As usual, this kind of statement from Mohler comes from a deficient Christology. It basically denies that Jesus was fully human as he was not married and had no kids.

    We hear the same from evangelicals all the time who say that sin comes out of our human nature. This too denies the full humanity of Jesus as he did not sin.

    Obviously we need to see greater attendance in Sunday morning Bible study classes.

  9. Steve from Canada says:

    Okay, Mohler didn’t say it very well, but do you all not think it’s societally problematic that younger generations increasingly do not even WANT to have kids because kids are expensive, time-consuming and really take away from their pursuit of happiness?

  10. Jean says:

    “Obviously we need to see greater attendance in Sunday morning Bible study classes.”

    Not just any Bible classes.

  11. Michael says:

    I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want kids having them. Period.

  12. Jean says:

    Steve from Canada,

    It’s a mixed bag. Many young kids in debt and dissolutioned by the current generation running things. What is the hopeful message our leaders are sending? Where are the policies? Where is the encouragement?

  13. Steve says:

    And regarding marriage, I’m not eager to see anyone get married if there is strong likely hood it will end in divorce. Maybe kids are much smarter and wise to wait on God. Mohler should be ashamed of himself. The great commission has nothing to do with worrying about genetic population growth.

  14. Jean says:

    A few comments on the Mohler article:

    1) There is nothing “evangelical” in it or from the SBC leader.
    2) It’s all law from Mohler; where is the Gospel?
    3) Was Paul fully human; does Paul track with Mohler?
    4) There is an unhelpful and confusing mixture of church and civil society here. For example, is the church concerned about patriotism?
    5) and most important, I thought the humanity of a Christian is IN CHRIST, “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” Mohler seems to think that we can make ourselves more human. Of course, as MLD pointed out, in the process Mohler makes Christ less human.

  15. Steve says:

    Well said Jean!

  16. Josh says:

    Jean – This wasn’t a sermon. Does every comment one makes have to have law and gospel? Has that been true of all your comments on this blog?
    Secondly, this talk wasn’t about the church, it was about civil society. In general, a society must have a certain birthrate to be able to continue. That is obvious.
    Lastly, you and MLD jump so quick to attack someone’s “Christology” it’s almost comical. If anyone has spoken or written on Christology for the last forty years, Mohler has. Perhaps interact with some of his actual work, rather than a side comment from a bad podcast take before pointing out his deficiency.

  17. Jean says:

    LOL, Josh, LOL.

    Sermon = a talk on a religious or moral topic.
    Mohler’s The Briefing: “a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.”
    Mohler: “Americans are basically, by the millions, giving up on the fact that to be human is to be a parent, eventually to take on that responsibility to get married and have children, to take on the responsibility of passing on civilization itself.” His words. I interacted with his public sermon, given in the name of a blog copyrighted by a Baptist Seminary.

    His Christology was BS in that article. His theology was BS as well.

    I don’t expect you to understand the distinction of law and gospel, or why it is the gospel that gives life and not the law. Mohler wants to convert gifts and blessings given by God into laws and commands, to create guilt, shame and bully Christians who Christ has set free. Shame on him.

  18. Jean says:

    Josh,

    There’s a simple principle at work. The larger one’s platform, the greater his authority, the more his words will be subject to scrutiny and at the same time be influential as they reach many. Therefore, it behooves one in a position like Mohler to choose his words with care.

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, you are the one making the leap about the podcast. You say it was sloppy wording or a bad podcast.
    Have you considered that Mohler may have said exactly what he wanted to say, that he chose his words wisely and used great precision so there would be no mistake about what he meant?

  20. Em says:

    Jean @5:05, “I don’t expect you to understand the distinction of law and gospel, or why it is the gospel that gives life and not the law.”
    i have to call you on this as it is demeaning – insulting – surely you can’t think that evangelicals do not know the distinction between law and gospel !

    I’ll overlook your condescending LOLs 🙂

  21. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Mohler’s explanation of the Jeremiah 16 exception would be intriguing to read, since in explicitly ordering the prophet Jeremiah to neither marry nor have sons or daughters in “this place” could sure seem like God commanding Jeremiah to never be “truly human”. I suppose someone like Mohler could say, “But, you see, that God commanded the prophet to never marry nor have sons or daughters meant that the prophet WANTED to be a parent, so his heart was of the right disposition in connection to marriage and parenthood … . “

  22. bob1 says:

    Perhaps interact with some of his actual work, rather than a side comment from a bad podcast take before pointing out his deficiency.

    Come on, Josh. You know they won’t. Why should they when they can
    spout off glib BS?

  23. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    if Mohler has done some commentary on Jesus’ slightly cryptic aside about eunuchs I would be curious to read that.

  24. Josh says:

    “Mohler wants to convert gifts and blessings given by God into laws and commands, to create guilt, shame and bully Christians who Christ has set free. Shame on him.”
    Well said. Agreed.

    “The larger one’s platform, the greater his authority, the more his words will be subject to scrutiny and at the same time be influential as they reach many. ”

    Also agreed.

  25. Josh says:

    MLD – See my very first comment on this thread. I said it was NOT sloppy wording, and that this has been his consistent take since the early 2000’s.

  26. Steve says:

    Just think if all those childless singles that Mohler trashed as inhuman started coming to church. Mohler wouldn’t know how to accept them or love them and that probably goes for a large chunk of the evangelical church as well. Maybe this should be the churches mission field today? I personally think this field is ripe for harvest but folks like Mohler are like Jonah and are running from God.

  27. Josh says:

    All that being said, while I agree that Mohler is wrong, this is not a sermon. A blog is not a church. It is just a bad opinion by a president of a Southern Baptist Seminary.

  28. Steve says:

    Josh,. To me Mohler is just a symptom of a bigger problem. Unfortunately, he perpetuates the problem with his status.

  29. Jean says:

    There is an inconsistency among many conservatives which might be brought up. While they lament the declining birth rates in the US, which in fact is a real problem, they do nothing to alleviate the significant impediments to having and raising children in this country.

  30. Josh says:

    Steve, you are probably right. I’ve been married since I was 23, so I don’t know the plight of the single adult in the church. I’ve heard from enough to let me know that we a re not doing well, and words like these from a “respected” leader are surely hurtful.

  31. Josh says:

    Jean – What impediments do you see to having and raising children in this country?

  32. Jean says:

    Surveys indicate that high health care/insurance costs, childcare costs and parental leave policies are among the most significant impediments.

    Mohler rightly noted that our society benefits from a higher birthrate. Moreover, social systems, such as social security and medicare require young workers paying in to the system to help finance the cost of retires.

    If we look at the societal benefits from a high birthrate, then we should also look at societal solutions.

  33. Josh says:

    I don’t disagree, just asking for clarity.

    Anecdotally, all of my friends came from broken families. Many of them have chosen to not have children because they don’t want to put a child through the pain they felt.
    I know of others who claim they don’t think it is fair to bring children into the world we have so messed up.

  34. Jean says:

    Josh,

    “I know of others who claim they don’t think it is fair to bring children into the world we have so messed up.”

    We’re not even close to being finished. The pace of national self-harm has accelerated at an alarming rate over the past couple of years.

  35. Josh says:

    So maybe this is the winding down of the great American Empire? It atrophies because young parents don’t deem it a worthy place for raising children.

  36. Jean says:

    I don’t see it that way. I see the birthrate as a symptom or effect of underlying causes.

  37. Steve says:

    When birth rates go down the country needs more immigrants coming in to the country to keep things going. It’s an interesting dynamic. Curious how much of Mohlers opinions are coming from his political ideas?

  38. Josh says:

    Steve – in this case, these are political opinions.

    Also interesting – the immigrants have a much higher birthrate, and those coming from the south are largely Catholic. They could be our salvation.

  39. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Yes we do have self harming policies. Our birthrate is not as much the issue as is our kill rate. Our population would be greater by 60 million if we had not been killing our future population (abortion).

  40. MM says:

    I went back and read the article about Mohler and children. While he points out some interesting ideas I believe he misses the biggest fault in it all, the culture in general.

    It seems very few ask the question why. Why are human beings choosing to be childless (of course these days choice is a viable option which wasn’t there for just a couple of earlier generations) and a bigger question, why are some young men using violence to the innocent as a means of attention grabbing?

    The organized church needs to address the “why’s” and stop arguing in the vein Mohler seems to have chosen.

    My personal opinion is this; church puts more value in seeing “souls saved,” numbers and holding fast to their particular form of theology, doctrine and dogmas than teaching human beings about living life.

    Finding Jesus, God’s grace and mercy is just the beginning an imagery given by Jesus as He taught about being born again. Children have to grow up and live with their father’s guidance.

    Hey maybe this generation under Mohler is more like the prodigal than ever before? But, maybe not.

    OK I’ll go away.

  41. “I know of others who claim they don’t think it is fair to bring children into the world we have so messed up.”

    I’ve been hearing this since I was a kid in the 70s. I think these attitudes (in general, i can’t speak to your friends, Josh) come from those who don’t know history and/or don’t talk to people much older than they are to here history first hand. I feel that the more comfortable we become, humans tend to search for problems when the real problem is spiritual atrophy and emptiness. Looking out is easier than looking within.

  42. Josh says:

    This is funny, and mostly to Michael:

    Michael dismisses Mohler as a fundamentalist, but as we speak, there is a group trying to get him run out for being a liberal SJW.

  43. Michael says:

    I know he’s got problems with the Pulpit and Pen crowd.
    I dismiss him because that’s what he did to many decent people hurt by his heretical statement.

  44. Josh says:

    I think its the Founder guys this time around 🙂

    Heretical may be a stretch, but at least you are willing to mark someone.

  45. Michael says:

    I think it’s heretical to classify as subhuman anyone unmarried without children.

    Please note I’m not saying he is a heretic…but that statement was.
    Not dealing with the backlash was shameful.

  46. Josh says:

    Yeah, terrible statement. No follow-up. Definitely not handled well.

  47. Xenia says:

    There is a phrase I often encounter in certain philosophical/ theological venues and it’s this: “To be fully human, you must __________.” (Fill in the blank with whatever the speaker thinks is essential.) I encountered it in the Orthodox school I attended. I ran into it in a literary criticism class last year. I never liked this phrase, even when it came from the pen/lips of my beloved Vladyka. I think they are talking about reaching one’s potential as a human but it’s still a lousy phrase. The phrase “achieving personhood” also bothers me.

    I think Vladyka meant that when a person is united with Christ, such a person has reached the acme of humanness. But I always counter these statements with “All humans are human, period. If your parents are humans, you are a human. You are as human as you are ever going to be.”

    People always say things like “this is what it means to be human” when they see something they either like or dislike. No, a human is a human, period. You can add whatever adjective you like if you have a point you want to make. I am not familiar with Mr. Mohler and did not read his statement but he should have added a modifier to “human.” People can agree or disagree with his adjective but at least he’s not casting humans into the non-human category, which is ridiculous anyway.

    (This reminds me of an article we had to read in an English class, written by a radical feminist. She gave a list of probably 20 things a woman needed to have in order to have “a life worth living.” Most of the items were good: clean water, access to healthcare, a chance for some kind of education, etc. But to suggest that a poor African woman’s life is not worth living if she doesn’t have these things is just horrible and the prof and I got into an argument about it. I told her that the poor uneducated African woman’s life certainly WAS worth living. She loves her family, her village, her religion just as much as the educated hipster with her degree in Feminist Studies and her cup of chai but the prof would not back down. This is the same as saying the poor African woman is not “fully human” because her life is “not worth living.” Anathema!, says Xenia! )

    People are people. Humans are humans. Add adjectives and go from there but to claim anyone is less than human is wrong. Even wicked humans, like Hitler, Stalin and Manson are just a human as you and I.

  48. Josh says:

    Amen, Xenia.

  49. EricL says:

    Funny, how that little snippet from Mohler has generated so many comments on Linkathon this week and yet some articles that were even more controversial went unnoticed. 🙂

    I would have thought the one of congregational autonomy overriding any pastoral discipline or the one on women in ministry or the one on the demonization of Democrats would have raised more heat. It’s always fascinating to see what catches the crowd’s attention. I guess that’s why Michael likes to provide such a diverse mix of links every week.

  50. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Having recently finished Jacques Ellul’s The New Demons where he talks about politics as religion, the demonization partisans in the party systems subject each other two isn’t even news. On the whole I’ve been seeing red and blue state partisans demonizing each other for generations.

  51. Xenia, I read some pop philosophy book when I was a teen (I wish I could remember the author’s name, he was actually a Philosopher), who quoted Socrates and asked, “who was Socrates to decide who’s lives are worth living or not?”

    I agree with Michael, those who desire not to have children should not have them. There are too many who have them who shouldn’t.

    I never wanted children, not for emotional reasons (even growing up in a very dysfunctional home with my mom hitting many Dxes in the DSM), but for genetic reasons not to pass down my disability which I guess was emotional. So I had 2 kids finally around 40. I love my Lambs to pieces. They are gifts from God. I tell them that.

    If my daughter has a son, he will have my disability (she is only lightly affected). So many children who become people suffer more. It’s about perspective.

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