There has been somewhat of a controversy within the SBC concerning statements made by Al Mohler at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. Actually it’s probably not as much of a controversy as some bloggers would have us to believe. Truth is much that gets the blogosphere in an uproar is usually but a pebble in the ocean of real controversy. Nonetheless, there has been a good amount of discussion regarding Mohler’s comments.
You can read the full transcript here. Or watch the video below. But most of the controversy stems from these words:
But we as Evangelicals have a very sad history in dealing with this issue. We have told not the truth, but we’ve told about half the truth. We’ve told the biblical truth and that’s important, but we haven’t applied it in the biblical way.
Not to put words in Dr. Mohler’s mouth but I think in part what he is saying is that we have been very similar to Job’s friends. They are only beating on one side of the drum—you’ve sinned, you’ve sinned, you’ve sinned. To this Job finally responds in Job 19:
“Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me! Why do you, like God, pursue me? Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?”
Job’s point is that IF he has sinned as they claim why are they still chasing him down in judgment and not offering him mercy. There is nothing in their words that is pointing them to a redeemer. They are simply saying, Job ‘fess up and maybe things will get better for you.
Job 19:25-27 should not have been on the lips of Job--or at least only as a response. These words should have been on the lips of Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad. They should have been proclaiming to Job redemption and not only his sin:
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!
Unless the gospel goes deeply into our hearts we will be just like Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad. We will look at a lost, dying, sinful, hurting, rebellious, and broken people and only shine the flashlight on their wretched condition. Instead we should proclaim Jesus (I know that E, Z, and B didn’t have a full knowledge of Jesus) and allow the Spirit to turn on the floodlights to display the beauty, excellencies, and sufficiency of Jesus to conquer any sin no matter how heinous.
This I believe is what Dr. Mohler is saying, “In our response to homosexuality we have only called it sin but we have not done as great of a job of pointing to Jesus.” If that’s not describing you, then, great—thank the Lord that the Spirit has so worked in your heart that you apply the gospel rightly.
But I believe Dr. Mohler is correct. For far too long we have ministered to those guilty of practicing homosexuality and those with same sex attraction in an overly simplistic way that looks more like Job’s friends than it looks like Jesus Himself.
As Mohler says, “The gospel is what we stand for and the gospel is the only remedy for sin.” May we be gospel people and not Job’s friends.