al mohler

Donald Trump and Hillarry Clinton at the Oct. 9 presidential debate in St. Louis. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

But even after a weekend spent huddling in Manhattan plotting strategy, a crucial question for the Republican nominee was whether this latest outrage would finally repel conservative Christians who are key to the GOP’s hopes for recapturing the White House.

So far the verdict appears mixed.

06-10-2015
Al Mohler expressed sadness but not surprise at Tony Campolo’s announcement June 8 that he supports full inclusion of gays and lesbians into the life of the church.

Al Mohler speaks to conference attendees. Photo courtesy of Rocket Republic, via ERLC National Conference/RNS.

When Southern Baptists convened a national conference in Nashville, Tenn., this week to discuss issues of human sexuality, bringing conservative evangelicals and LGBT Christian activists into the same ballroom was a recipe ripe for potential fireworks.

Perhaps the most shocking thing was how few fireworks there were.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission was clear: Sex is reserved between a man and a woman within the bonds in marriage. And openly gay evangelicals in attendance were equally clear: Homosexuality is not incompatible with Christianity.

No concessions were made, but leaders on both sides expressed surprise at how the two agreed to coexist. Put another way: The old emphasis on “Love the sinner, hate the sin” has become more a version of simply “Love all sinners. Ask questions later.”

“I do want to apologize to the gay and lesbian community on behalf of my community and me for not standing up against abuse and discrimination directed towards you. That was wrong and we need your forgiveness,” said North Carolina megachurch pastor J.D. Greear, drawing applause.

“We have to love our gay neighbor more than our position on sexual morality.”

Shane Claiborne 05-12-2014
enterlinedesign / Shutterstock.com

enterlinedesign / Shutterstock.com

Southern Baptist leader Albert Mohler wrote a piece last week defending the death penalty. In his 1,200-word argument for why Christians should support the death penalty, he does not mention Jesus a single time.

Digging deeper, as you read the official pro-death penalty statement of the Southern Baptists, there is not a single reference to Jesus or the Gospels.

There are plenty of other problems with the scriptural maneuvering used to justify the contemporary practice of the death penalty with a few verses from the Bible, in the same way that a few verses were misused to justify slavery. For starters the biblical death penalty was required not just for murderers, but also for folks that committed adultery, disrespected their parents, collected too much interest, had premarital sex, and disobeyed the Sabbath. But I want to stick with the nagging problem of Jesus, the greatest obstacle for pro-death penalty Christians.

In a recent Barna Poll, fewer than 5 percent of Americans think Jesus would support capital punishment, and fewer than a quarter of young Christians support it. Nonetheless some Christians find ways to sidestep Jesus, the lens through which all of us who claim to be Christians should interpret the Bible and the world around us.

Book of Genesis, Janaka Dharmasena / Shutterstock.com

Book of Genesis, Janaka Dharmasena / Shutterstock.com

After this week’s botched execution in Oklahoma, Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, argued why Christians should support the death penalty at CNN.com. Grounding his argument in Genesis 9:6, where Noah is told that anyone guilty of intentional murder should be put to death, Mohler says, “The one who intentionally takes life by murder forfeits the right to his own life.”

In my experience, most Christian pro-death penalty advocates make similar arguments, rooting themselves in Old Testament teaching. On occasion, they bolster their thinking with a somewhat cryptic reference to the government’s ability to “bear the sword” to “bring punishment on the wrongdoer” by the Apostle Paul. Rarely, will anyone cite Jesus’ teachings.

Mohler is a capable theologian and a thinker I respect. And I have many intelligent friends who support the death penalty. Yet, I think it is problematic for Christians to root their support of capital punishment in the Jewish Scriptures.

Cross, out of focus. Photo courtesy Pyty/shutterstock.com

Several leading evangelical pastors and authors have come to the defense of a pastor accused in a lawsuit for covering up sexual abuse of children.

C. J. Mahaney was named as a defendant in a lawsuit, which charged that he and other leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries permitted the abuse of children to occur in churches that formed part of the group. Sovereign Grace, an association of 80 Reformed evangelical churches, is based in Louisville, Ky.

Maryland Judge Sharon V. Burrell dismissed the lawsuit ruling that nine of 11 plaintiffs waited too long to sue under the statute of limitations. Their attorney plans to appeal the judge’s decision.

Daniel Burke 02-12-2013

Not all Catholics appreciated Pope Benedict XVI’s staunch defense of Christian orthodoxy, traditional marriage, and life from conception to natural death. But American evangelicals sure did.

As word spread on Monday of Benedict’s resignation, many evangelicals lamented the impending loss of a powerful spokesman for their conservative causes.

“Pope Benedict XVI has exemplified moral courage and an unwavering commitment to the Gospel message,” said Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, a conservative Christian political group.

“We honor him for his lifelong service to the Lord and his inestimable intellectual contribution to Christian orthodoxy.”

The high praise — “evangelical Benedictions,” you might say — extended beyond U.S. borders as well.

Ryan Beiler 04-19-2010

Last week, The Washington Post's On Faith site devoted their weekly Q&A to the debate over social justice which they titled, "Wallis vs.

Ryan Beiler 03-19-2010
When a Fox News pundit who has helped force the resignation of White House advisers is promising he'll be http://blog.sojo.net/2010/03/15/in-spite-of-glenn-becks-new-threats-my-i...
Ryan Beiler 10-16-2009

I had invited one of our regular bloggers to comment on the "desert cross" controversy--a Supreme Court case deciding the appropriateness of a cross erected on Mojave National Preserve to honor World War I dead.

Soong-Chan Rah 05-22-2009
Last month, in an issue of Newsweek, Jon Meacham describes what he perceives to be "The End of Christian America." Meacham asserts that "Ch

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