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Total Theological Disaster

Thomas Whitley

That's where Al Mohler thinks mainline Protestantism is headed. In his most recent piece, "Following Jesus While Rejecting the Bible? Yet Another Tragedy in Mainline Protestantism," Mohler bemoans the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s decision to cease discriminating against homosexuals in its ordination practices and requirements.

Clearly, this action could not have happened without this denomination having abandoned any required belief in the full authority, inspiration, and truthfulness of the Bible long ago. This most recent decision sets the stage for the total capitulation of this church to the normalization of homosexuality — an act of open defiance against the Scriptures.

Besides the fact that I do read the Bible as a rather inclusive text (especially when read with its original context in mind) and thus vehemently oppose Mohler's characterization of the text, I also find fault with Mohler's insistence on a "required belief in the full authority, inspiration, and truthfulness of the Bible." Mohler himself does not adhere to this belief, but rather uses this catch phrase as a litmus test of sorts to weed out those whom he believes are "right" and those whom he believes are "heretics." You see, Mohler does not support slavery, genocide, polygamy, infanticide, or witchcraft despite their clear acceptance and support by numerous texts within the Bible.

I do agree with Mohler on one point, though, that American Protestantism is headed for "total theological disaster." It is his leadership of so many that is pushing us in that direction. For this most recent move is merely symptomatic of the logical and theological problems with Mohler's fundamentalist version of Christianity. He preaches one minute about accepting the full authority and truthfulness of the Bible yet picks and chooses which texts he thinks are worthy of believing, conveniently leaving out the texts that seem distasteful to him (genocide, slavery, polygamy) and those that simply go against his power-hungry nature (the full acceptance of everyone, including women and Jews).

I fully support the PCUSA's decision to be more inclusive, a move which I believe correctly understands and lives out the truth that God is a God of love. I fully reject Mohler's attempt to assert that some people (homosexuals, women, Jews, Muslims, etc.) aren't fully human and don't deserve the same rights as everyone else or the love of God and God's people.