A Short Dialogue on Ecumenism


Note: The text below was written in response to questions addressed to me over a year ago, by Rev. Dorin Druhora (now Rev. Dr. Druhora), from Los Angeles, US, while he was doing his doctoral research on Evangelical-Orthodox relations in the USA. In the mean time he has successfully defended his thesis and I will publish soon some details about it.

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  1. Please define the uniqueness of the ecumenical dialogue here on the North American continent, in contrast with the dialogue in Europe or elsewhere? Do you see a paradigm that is specific to western culture (particularly in US, in the context of a pluralist Christian tradition or in the light of the dialogical development)? If your expertise is focused more on Europe, please address the question based on your experience.

DM – Although I never lived in the US, I traveled extensively there and I follow constantly the religious landscape there. Ecumenism is well and alive in the US. Yet, it involved more the Catholics and the mainline Protestants. Many of the American evangelical leaders do not strike me as very open ecumenically. That is true especially with the neo-reformed movement (the likes of Piper and Mohler), which is the new form of fundamentalism. However, there is a lot to appreciate also. Continue reading “A Short Dialogue on Ecumenism”

In the Beginning, The Gospel: Al Mohler vs. Andy Stanley

Scot McKnight on Jesus and orthodox faith in the 21st century

Source: In the Beginning, The Gospel: Al Mohler vs. Andy Stanley

There is trouble, again, in Southern Baptist ‘paradise’. Fundamentalist bully Al Mohler chastises Andy Stanley for putting Jesus before Scripture, and thus, undermining Mohler’s obsession, the dubious and confusing concept of innerancy. Well done, Andy!

An Interview with Rachel Held Evans on What It Means for Her to Join Anglicanism

Rachel Held Evans
Rachel Held Evans

Those who read this blog from time to time know how much I like what Rachel Held Evans writes. Although I do not necessarily agree with her on everything, and I am sure she does not mind this, her pilgrimage of faith, from  (radical Reformation) Evangelicalism to (magisterial Reformation) Anglicanism is very similar with mine, and we share similar convictions and struggles.

This is also reflected in her latest interview in The Huffington Post, which is very relevant in the context of the recent polemic around Mohler’s frustrated comments about Baptists becoming Anglicans (or Catholics).

Here is the interview.

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Q: You say that the way to stop the exodus of millennials from churches isn’t cosmetic changes like better music, sleeker logos and more relevant programming. Why are these methods ineffective?

A: These aren’t inherently bad strategies, and some churches would be wise to employ them. But many church leaders make the mistake of thinking millennials are shallow consumers who are leaving church because they aren’t being entertained. I think our reasons for leaving church are more complicated, more related to social changes and deep questions of faith than worship style or image.

If you try to woo us back with skinny jeans and coffee shops, it may actually backfire. Millen Continue reading “An Interview with Rachel Held Evans on What It Means for Her to Join Anglicanism”

Again on Al Mohler’s Comments – History, Evangelicals, and Protestantism | Carl R. Trueman | First Things

History, Evangelicals, and Protestantism | Carl R. Trueman | First Things.

Here is another comment on Mohler’s pathetic discussion about the two Baptists who ‘left the fold’ to be one a Catholic priest and the other an Anglican bishop.

This time the comment comes from Carl Trueman, from Westminster Theological Seminary, a Reformed school.

Trueman argues that Mohler’s position on the Bible, which is implicit in his comments is unfaithful to Reformation teaching. he writes:

‘A Protestantism which fails to acknowledge those historical roots and indeed to teach them to its young people leaves itself vulnerable to Canterbury and Rome. There is an historical dimension to Christianity which is important and which needs to be an integral part of pedagogy and discipleship. McKnight is correct to point to the weakness of strands of evangelical Protestantism in this area and we do well to take his criticism to heart.’

Bob Allen – Al Mohler: Baptists, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Catholics (or Anglicans)

Brad & Chad Jones
Brad & Chad Jones in their family garden (WSJ)

A Southern Baptist seminary president says churches are to blame when young people leave the fold to follow another faith tradition.

A recent Wall Street Journal story profiling twin brothers who followed separate spiritual paths — one to become an Anglican bishop, the other a Catholic priest — represents failure by the Southern Baptist church in which they were raised, according to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler.

Mohler, who posts a daily podcast commenting on current events on his personal website, said March 6 he has no firsthand knowledge of First Baptist Church in Elkin, N.C., home church of the men now in their 40s featured in a March 3 article headlined “When We Leave One Religion for Another: How two brothers, raised Baptist, found their way to two different faiths.” But the story of young seeking answers outside their evangelical upbringing is all too common.

“We are losing far too many evangelical young people as they reach older ages because they are simply not adequately grounded theologically in the Christian faith,” Mohler said. “They may go to vacation Bible school, and they may go to Sunday school, but the question is, are they really grounded in the Christian faith? Are they well-grounded in the beauty of Scripture? Are they well-grounded in a knowledge of the deep theological convictions that define us as Christians?”

Continue reading “Bob Allen – Al Mohler: Baptists, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Catholics (or Anglicans)”

Al Mohler in Conversation with Stanley Hauerwas

Al Mohler  Stanley Hauerwas
–       Al Mohler                     Stanley Hauerwas

Scot McKnight published today on his blog a fragment from a very interesting recent dialogue between Al Mohler, President to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Theological Ethics at Duke University, a post-liberal theologian from the Methodist tradition.

Here is this fragment:

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Mohler:            The very next essay in this book you write about the end of Protestantism and that leads me to ask a very personal question: as an American evangelical Christian, do you think that Evangelicalism is in many ways the quintessential representation of the American faith and do you think that even as you write about the church in general – I actually don’t want to put a message in your mouth, I’d rather here it from you, but I get the impression that when you look at American Christianity in general, and American Evangelicalism in particular, you appear to see a church that is looking less and less like the church. Continue reading “Al Mohler in Conversation with Stanley Hauerwas”

Roger Olson vs Al Mohler – Should Christians Support Capital Punishment?

roger-olson      Al Mohler
–          Roger Olson               vs             Al Mohler        –

The CNN religion blog published on 1 May an article of Al Mohler in which he argues that ‘Christians should support the death penalty’.

On 2 May, Roger Olson responded to what he describes as Mohler’s ‘ambiguous defence of the death penalty’.

This discussion was occasioned by the recent failed execution by lethal injection of a person condemned to the death penalty in Oklahoma.

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Mohler believes that ‘the Bible clearly calls for capital punishment in the case of intentional murder’. His arguments? The direct ones are all from the Old Testament, while the New Testament texts he quotes are very general, and they are, at best, inferrances on the topic under discussion. He also tries to qualify the implications of his conclusions by stating that ‘society is to take every reasonable precaution to ensure that no one is punished unjustly’; which, we know already, from innumerable cases, is an impossible task. There simply cannot exist absolute assurance as to someones’s guilt, which makes mistakes – meaning, state sactioned murder of wrongly accused innocent victims – unavoidable. Continue reading “Roger Olson vs Al Mohler – Should Christians Support Capital Punishment?”

NT Wright Scolds RC Sproul and Al Mohler on Evolution

Rachel Held Evans – The Real ‘Evangelical Disaster’

Rev. Rachel Held Evans

I have just realised that I did not commend to you this post by Rev. Rachel Held Evans, which was prompted by another uninspired statement of Al Mohler, this vocal prophet of American (neo)fundamentalism, who argued that the failure in the election bid of the Mormon candidate Mitt Romney was a ‘great evangelical disaster’.

Rachel begs to differ, as I do. Let us listen to her arguments.

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Concerned also by state measures legalizing gay marriage, Mohler said that, aside from the 79 percent of white evangelicals who voted as they should, the “[evangelical] message was rejected by millions of Americans who went to the polls and voted according to a contrary worldview.”

“If we do not become the movement of younger Americans and Hispanic Americans and any number of other Americans, then we will just become a retirement community,” he told NPR. “And that cannot, that cannot, serve the cause of Christ.”

The fact that I can affirm the Nicene and Apostle’s creeds, that I am an imperfect but devoted follower of Jesus Christ, that I am passionate about spreading the gospel, and I believe the Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God, and still my evangelical credentials are constantly being questioned and debated reveals just how narrow evangelicalism has become. Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans – The Real ‘Evangelical Disaster’”

Mullins în patul epistemologic procustian al lui R. Albert Mohler Jr. « Chibzuieli

Mullins în patul epistemologic procustian al lui R. Albert Mohler Jr. « Chibzuieli.

Cu aceasta ocazie vreau sa va recomand blogul prietenului meu Eugen Matei, care preda teologie sistematica la Fuller in California.

In acest post el analizeaza diferenta intre neofundamentalismul practical de Al Mohler si pozitia evanghelica mult mai echilibrata si nuantata a lui Mullins, in urma cu vreun secol si ceva.

And Now for a Little Controversy… « Prof. John Stackhouse’s Weblog

And Now for a Little Controversy… « Prof. John Stackhouse’s Weblog.

John Stackhouse is one of the authors of this book. Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, to be published later this month.

Here is a spicy quote, to wet you appetite and make sure you read the blog post:

Brother Mohler, however, was someone I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting but whose considerable shadow I have judged to both bless and blight the landscape of American evangelicalism, as it has his own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention. Since Al seems to imply at every turn that his position is the one all right-thinking Southern Baptists, evangelicals, Christians, and human beings ought to hold–since he thinks it is simply the gospel truth–and since I am pretty sure it isn’t that, and also since I try to engage  in public controversy only with people who are in some sense public figures who have invited such controversy by asserting their views as normative in public…well, then how could I turn down the opportunity to interact with Brother Al? I couldn’t, so I didn’t.

A Letter from Adam and Eve – to Al Mohler

Dear Albert Mohler,

We hope this finds you well. First, we offer our congratulations for making it on the Colbert Show. That’s a fantastic show, and we tune in often. Second, we offer gratitude for fighting for people to believe in us. It’s an incredibly sweet act — our thank-you note is in the mail.

While we appreciate your remarkable interest in us, we think you’ve gotten us wrong. For example, you said, “When Adam sinned, he sinned for us, and it’s that very sinfulness that sets up our understanding of our need for a savior…. Without Adam, the work of Christ makes no sense whatsoever.”

While we understand your evangelical piety and unequivocal love for Jesus, we didn’t sin for you. We also didn’t sin to in order make relevant the work of someone born thousands of years after us. Continue reading “A Letter from Adam and Eve – to Al Mohler”

Associated Baptist Press – Debate over Adam and Eve continues

Associated Baptist Press – Debate over Adam and Eve continues.

Brian McLaren:
“I firmly agree (in an ironic sort of way) with the good Dr. Mohler,” McLaren commented. “I think the conventional Constantinian ‘understanding of the gospel meta-narrative and the Bible’s storyline’ is wrong, misguided, and dangerous. We do in fact need ‘an entirely new understanding’ — new, that is, compared to the status quo, but actually more ancient and primary than the conventional approach. In the process we’d better learn what a meta-narrative actually is and realize that it’s not actually a great label to apply to the gospel. ‘The Bible’s storyline’ is much better. That’s what I’ve been writing and speaking about for the last decade, and hope to keep advocating for and contributing to for the next.”

Al Mohler vs Scot McKnight over Adam and Eve

Scot McKnight responds on his blog to the overtly fundamentalist assertions of Southern Baptist theologian Al Mohler over Adam and Eve being the ‘beginning of the story of the Gospel’, based on the genealogy of Christ in Luke.

Dr. Mohler headlines his post with a picture of a bible open to Genesis and the synopsis:

The denial of an historical Adam and Eve as the first parents of all humanity and the solitary first human pair severs the link between Adam and Christ which is so crucial to the Gospel Continue reading “Al Mohler vs Scot McKnight over Adam and Eve”

The Evangelical Divide – A View from the Other Side

My previous post on the Evangelical divide was based on a text written by Arminian theologian Roger Olson.

In case some people doubt such a divide really exists, I add here part of an article on this topic published in First Things by the Reformed theologian Gerald McDermott, the Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion at Roanoke College and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion,  editor of The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology and coauthor of The Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford).

I add here, as a teaser, the first part of this longer text (bold emphases are mine).

* * * Continue reading “The Evangelical Divide – A View from the Other Side”

Chris Robertson – Heaven, Hell and Rob Bell

Rev. Rob Bell, Mars Hill Bible Church

Rob Bell, pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church, is known by many for his NOOMA videos and progressive perspective, but recently some consider him a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

His new book, Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, is due for release March 29. It’s hard to say exactly what book is about, because it hasn’t been published yet, but according to a promotional video, Bell is daring enough to question the existence of hell. This has led several people to suggest his voice should be muffled and his perspective discounted.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what Justin Taylor, associate publisher for Crossway, has done. He posted a blog about Bell’s upcoming book that has reached every corner of Facebook. Continue reading “Chris Robertson – Heaven, Hell and Rob Bell”

Mohler on Baptist Biblical Illiteracy

Al Mohler, a Southern Baptist seminary president, told a recent pastors gathering that it is a preacher’s responsibility to “save his people from ignorance” about the Bible. Here are few significant quotes (emphasis mine):

“How many of your people know much of anything about what we have been talking about in the first 11 chapters of Romans?” he asked. “How many people are there who have been sitting in pews for decades who know next to nothing about this, because they’ve never been taught?” Continue reading “Mohler on Baptist Biblical Illiteracy”

Quarks and Creation: John Polkinghorne on the Complementary Nature of Science and Religion

Rev Dr. John Polkinghorne

There is a fierce debate these days between those more of less inclined towards fundamentalism among Evangelicals, and those advocating a more nuanced and less literalistic understanding, especially as it reflects on the relationship between science and religion, with the creation vs. evolution debate (sometimes via Intelligent Design Theory) as its main focus.

Everybody, from bridge engineers (like Henry Morris) to theologians (like Al Mohler, see the winter 2011 issue of his seminary magazine), feel they are competent to deal, the more dogmatically the better, with the complicated matters involved in this debate. Continue reading “Quarks and Creation: John Polkinghorne on the Complementary Nature of Science and Religion”

Christianity vs. Al Mohler

Here is a hilarious and fully deserved charge at Al Mohler’s fundamentalist views of the way in which God created the world (I mean, in six days of 24 hours, etc. etc.)

Before reading the text, here is, also, a meaningful quote for this topic, and others like it, from Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

He who begins by loving Christianity more than Truth will proceed by loving his sect or church better than Christianity, and end in loving himself better than all. Continue reading “Christianity vs. Al Mohler”

On the Theological Cost of Fundamentalism

Scot McKnight published on his blog a series of three posts on the evolution debate. The first one, that introduces the problem, can be found HERE. I have written HERE about the second one, which presents the statements made recently by Al Mohler in favour of the young earth theory.

The third article in this series is the most consistent and I suggest it is really worth reading by those interested in this debate.

McKnight begins by quoting Mohler, who said:

In other words, the exegetical cost–the cost of the integrity and interpretation of scripture–to rendering the text in any other way, is just too high. But I want to suggest to you that the theological cost is actually far higher.

Al Mohler – the new fundamentalist apostle of the ‘young earth’ myth

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

Recently, he has spoken at the annual Ligonier Ministry Conference on the topic ‘Why Does the Earth Look So Old?’, where he argued for the so-called ‘young earth theory’ and the creation of the world in sever 24 hour days (!!!), based on a literalist, fundamentalist, reading of Genesis 1-2. (You may watch HERE to his presentation. You may also read HERE a transcription of this speech.)

Continue reading “Al Mohler – the new fundamentalist apostle of the ‘young earth’ myth”

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