Al Mohler reminds me so much of the early fundamentalists who were always into “doctrine”, and had their lists of “key doctrines” from which one dare not stray from the approved path. (In this quote he mentions the “doctrine of election”).
Conventional Thinking : But for the Conservative Resurgence . . .
In beginning my comments at the SBC Pastors Conference session with Dr. Patterson [see below] I mentioned that it was healthy that Southern Baptists were discussing a serious and worthy theological issue â€” the doctrine of election. This, I stated, was a remarkable development, and one for which we should be very thankful. After all, if the conservative resurgence in the SBC had not happened, we would surely be discussing the ordination of homosexuals or the recognition of same-sex unions.
(hat tip to Jesus Politics for this link)
After this “doctrine name dropping”, he goes on to crow about “if there hadn’t been a conservative resurgence”, we’d be talking about –insert your most disgusting liberal issue here—-. What hit me was that here Mohler again totally ignores what his doctinal purity group always ignores: the issue of war. We may well be talking about that small matter, but Mohler is completely silent on this issue, and his silence says more about the absolute irrelevance of what he has to say than anything. (Of course, that goes for “liberals” as well; who choose to “not choose sides” or at least not speak up on the matter)
What Mohler says next about Condaleeza Rice’s speech accentuates this all the more:
Messengers to the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention experienced moments of drama, boredom, controversy, inspiration, remembrance, and urgencyâ€”but the Convention also experienced a rare moment of grace. This came as U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared before the Convention and was received with rapturous applause and an enthusiastic welcome.Anyone with the slightest sense of historical perspectiveâ€”or a sense of ironyâ€”must have caught the profound meaning of that moment. There stood a descendant of slaves addressing the spiritual descendants of slaveholders. A denomination birthed in the context of racism and slavery found a moment of genuine pride and delight in welcoming the first African-American woman to hold the highest appointive office in the nationâ€™s government. Furthermore, the messengers rose to their feet when Secretary Rice spoke of the nationâ€™s resolve to oppose and eradicate slavery wherever it may be found.
For those moments in the Greensboro Coliseum, history tilted on its axis. There were interesting overlays to Secretary Riceâ€™s appearanceâ€”ranging from reflections on civil religion to the Secretary of Stateâ€™s ambiguous positions on matters of vital importance to the messengers.
Nevertheless, the meaning of the moment must have been felt by the messengers, even if it was unarticulated. This proud African-American woman, on whose capable shoulders is borne the prestige of the entire republic, must certainly have been the first African-American woman to deliver a major address to the Southern Baptist Convention. Her appearance is a reminder of the burden of history and of how much ground remains to be covered as the denomination struggles with the legacy of racism and the promise of the Gospel. Messengers will forget those moments in Greensboro to their shame.
I’m often a bit amused, and a little disgusted to hear fundamentalists talk about slavery and racism and sexism, since they show no present abilities to step outside the cultural trappings of their “conservative theology” than did their conservative forebears who opposed abolition, opposed integration, and opposed —and still oppose— reconsidering the role of women in a patriarchal society.
Of course, again, Mohler says nothing about the fact that the responses of cheering by the SBC delegates on each reference to “freedom” and “liberty” and “The United States of America” dwarfs their responses to anything else (as the one Baptist Blogger I cited last week DID notice). In fact, this is the the usual “reach” for SOMETHING to use to justify such a rleigious devotion to the Republican party representatives, especially the leaders of the Bush regime. Bush seems more like the SBC’s “Pope” than do any of its own leaders. Nobody gets a rise out of them like W. And that’s disturbing.
I suppose it provides a kind of “cover” as a “profundity” that can obscure the larger role of this administration in absolute destruction. NOt that it’s not a good thing that a black woman can address the SBC. It’s just that its’ not even skin color that’s key anymore. It’s culture. Rice is a Republican, and an apologist for the administration. A part of the machinery. For me, “history tilted on its axis” at the sheer idolatry to which a very large strand of American evangelicalism has descended. In the SBC , it is ensconced with a demonination. It is a nationwide absorption and utilization of nationalism as a social tool; a church of the rich, who enlist even the loyalty of those who are hurt by this administration’s draining of the resources up toward the very rich, and then convinced that the pious language of the leaders identifies them as “chosen by God”.
the meaning of the moment must have been felt by the messengers, even if it was unarticulated. This proud African-American woman, on whose capable shoulders is borne the prestige of the entire republic, must certainly have been the first African-American woman to deliver a major address to the Southern Baptist Convention. Her appearance is a reminder of the burden of history and of how much ground remains to be covered as the denomination struggles with the legacy of racism and the promise of the Gospel. Messengers will forget those moments in Greensboro to their shame.
Lost on Mohler is the possibility that just as generations of Southern Baptists grew up with a Jim Crow perspective and must “struggle” with that, and not “forget”, nationalism roars on undetected, as they celebrate the “limited” government that gives them “freedom” to worship, but the larger question is: is it allowing them to be the church? Is that worship which they are free to practice an act of a people who worship a God who is wholly and holy OTHER than nations? Even our “land of the free”?