Mohler: Preach the entire Bible; expect trouble
Noted theologian exhorts Missouri pastors to teach the whole counsel of God
By Bob Baysinger
December 2, 2003
ST. LOUIS – If you’re going to preach and teach the entire Bible, expect trouble!
This was the warning issued by Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., to Missouri Baptist pastors and laymen attending the 2003 Missouri Baptist Convention’s annual meeting at St. Louis.
“Preaching God’s Word is the shortest route to get into trouble," Mohler said. “We’re living in a time when preaching truth will get you into lots of trouble."
Efforts to halt the preaching of God’s Word will come from various sources, some from inner circles, he said.
“You’ll hear comments like, ‘Why don’t you take it a little easier,’ or ‘just let sleeping dogs lie.’ Others will say ‘the preacher seems to be talking about everything these days’ or ‘you could have let that go.’"
Mohler said he has heard others ask: “‘Why does the church have to have an opinion on everything? Somebody is going to be offended.’"
It’s easier, Mohler admitted, to choose the milder topics.
“God is love. Jesus saves, but not in any particular way. Children are nice. Pray for good weather. Be happy, be rich. Just get along and go along," Mohler said. “But we’re told to preach the whole counsel of God.
“Marketers come along and tell us what will sell, but the Bible doesn’t have a 14th amendment. The Bible gets right in and tells us how to organize our families, how to deal with money, to raise children and understand sex. There are no zones of personal privacy. There is no letting sleeping dogs lie. If you preach this Book, you can’t preach a zone of privacy."
Mohler served as editor of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s news journal before being selected to lead the seminary out of its liberal abyss.
He said a lot of churches are not in any danger of getting into trouble. If you preach the Bible, you use a vocabulary many do not want to hear.
“Words in the Bible tend to be short like ‘s-i-n’," Moeller explained. “In some places, use of that word is enough to create an allergic reaction. Instead, you will hear such terms as ‘lack of self esteem,’ ‘personality disorders,’ ‘anti-social disorder.’ They just don’t believe in sin.
“We can’t offend each other with that word, but there is no concern about offending the one and holy God.
“You’ll hear about the ten principles of happy families, but nothing about the ‘thou shalts.’ It’s hard to get around those ‘shalts.’ Preaching the Book will get you in trouble," Mohler said, holding the Bible over his head.
The church must stand firm in sounding a clear voice of truth, he continued.
“But you wouldn’t know it in some places. Some (churches) are looking for ways not to offend. They don’t say anything. They don’t offer anything that is angular. They don’t offer anything that is in the Bible.
“Some people seriously think they are Christian because they say they are seriously Christian. The have little angels on their wall because little angels don’t look too threatening," Mohler said, adding that there was usually something volatile that occurred when angels showed up in the Bible.
“People had heart attacks," Mohler said.
We need to be reminded that we are not the first generation to get in trouble for standing for truth, he noted.
“Paul speaking to the elders at Ephesus in Acts 20 told them that he had held nothing back … and we have to make certain at the end of the day that we have held nothing back. We’re living in a time when people in our denomination say such things as, ‘You just don’t have to say everything about everything.’ Paul didn’t see his ministry as holding back but, don’t forget, this kind of preaching will get you in trouble."
When Southern Baptists took a stand against homosexuality in 1998, stating that God does not respect a zone of personal privacy in the home, “the world thought we made it up," Mohler said. “Once they found out it was in the Bible, they still didn’t believe it."
Some Baptists, he said, still want to tone down the preaching against homosexuality because there is no statement against sodomy in the 1963 Baptist Faith & Message authored by Herschel Hobbs.
“Can you imagine Southern Baptists addressing homosexuality in 1963?" There was no reason for them to address this issue in 1963, but for Southern Baptists to fail to address it today would be unbelief, cowardice and compromise.
“We don’t make this up as we go along. Our imperative is not to change the Gospel. Our methodology may change and challenges may change, but we preach Christ the same yesterday, today and forever."
In other instances, Mohler said, people think we are right, but we talk too much.
“It’s not that I disagree with you, but let’s just keep this between ourselves," Mohler said he has heard.
On such issues as sexuality, homosexuality, marriage and evangelization of all persons, Southern Baptists will hear some suggest that we did not have to adopt a resolution and that we could kind of whisper it to one another, Mohler said.
“But that what the apostles didn’t do. They kept getting in trouble, and woe be unto us if we are scared of getting into trouble."
Mohler reminded Missouri pastors that they have a responsibility to be a watchman on the wall.
Quoting from Ezekiel 33, Mohler said the watchman’s responsibility was to sound the trumpet if he saw the sword coming. If the watchman failed to blow the trumpet and people were not warned, he said the blood of the people was on the watchman’s hands.
“Be very careful, brother preacher, that there is no blood on our hands," he said.
“And remember, telling the truth is the test. The test is not success, it is faithfulness. We will not give an answer for those who heard us, but for what they heard."