Al Mohler’s “The Briefing” podcast is back, after taking the month of July off. The president of Southern Seminary has tackled some serious cultural issues in these early days of August. For this week’s DHD I’ll highlight some of Mohler’s commentary from The Briefing but also from a fascinating article he wrote, mentioning one of my favorite political commentators.
1. Mohler on Religious Liberty
I start with Mohler’s article “Is Religious Liberty Truly In Peril?” He addresses a published debate recently provided by the Wall Street Journal. The debate features law professor Marci Hamilton and David French, whom I greatly appreciate.
Both French and Hamilton discuss the status of religious iberty in our country. As Mohler describes, Hamilton depleting religious liberty as merely “your individual, private thoughts,” which cease to be protected “once those thoughts enter the public square.”
French points out that religious liberty has been in peril for years, and Christian leaders have known about legal activists at all levels of government who have been expanding “their regulatory and ideological attacks on religious liberty.”
The most fascinating take on the exchange between French and Hamilton involves the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, which was greatly supported by President Bill Clinton as well as other Democrat leaders in Congress. Now, Hamilton states RFRA is legislating an “extreme” new understanding of religious freedom.
Mohler’s commentary on this is excellent and should not be missed:
“What changed in the last 25 years? The culture changed. The culture that once honored religious liberty and respected it as a bedrock freedom for civil society—that culture is no more. Religious liberty now attracts the glare of the cultural left who see religious liberty as an obstacle in the path of their social transformation. They view this freedom as a socially-constructed institution of bigotry from which we must liberate ourselves. Moreover, the rise of the LGBTQ movement now pits religious liberty against the newly constructed sexual liberty—these are two, incompatible freedoms that necessarily collide. The sexual revolution believes it’s time for religious freedom to give way to its higher, newer, morally coercive ‘rights.’”
Mohler concluded his article giving warning about the current Democratic presidential candidates who if any of them would get elected will undoubtedly “dismantle religious liberty, with even greater hostility and ferocity.”
2. Mohler on California school curriculum
The next two topics baffle my mind. Check out Tuesday, Aug. 6 edition of The Briefing and hear Mohler report on the State of California’s new Ethnic Studies for high schools.
I’m actually impressed that Mohler was willing to read the entire curriculum. His conclusion was this new Ethnic Studies that will be taught in the highest populated state in America is “an absolute agenda for transforming the United States of America into a very different country, a very different culture.”
I’m also impressed on how well Mohler pronounced a few of the original terms with rather unique spellings found in this curriculum.
Here’s my favorite takeaway from Mohler’s assessment of California’s Ethnic Studies:
“We’re living in a post-modern world in which people can come up with their own truth and demand that that truth be respected in almost any circumstance, now even including spelling. The State Board there in California is coming up with its new spellings requiring its new glossary. Why would students not be able to do the very same thing?”
By the way, even the Los Angeles Times found this new study to be ridiculous.
3. Mohler on personal pronouns
Last Friday, Aug. 2, Mohler addressed other recent unconventional approaches to the English language. I’m not going to mention all that he covers because the grammar enthusiast in me gets too aggravated when even thinking about it.
Mohler reports that a New York Times columnist wants to do away with gendered singular personal pronouns and only use “They” to modify both singular and plural nouns. I did enjoy reading the explanation, even though I found it totally ridiculous.
“Our responsibility, according to the Christian worldview, is to order our language so as most faithfully to correspond to the reality that God has created,” Mohler said. “This is a moral responsibility. It’s a theological responsibility. It’s also just a natural impulse because human beings, made in the image of God, given the gift of consciousness, given the gift of language, we desperately do want our language to make sense and to be communicable, one to the other, understandable to those to whom we speak or write or communicate. If our language, if our vocabulary becomes detached from reality, it becomes not only less linguistically useful, it becomes subversive of the very idea of communication.”
I will say this Briefing is one of Mohler’s all-time best.
4. Journalists and abortion
Peggy Wehmeyer gives an excellent commentary in the Dallas Morning News on journalists covering abortion issues with impartiality.
I enjoyed reading the whole article, but here’s my favorite part:
“If evangelicals heard their moral angst over abortion clearly articulated in the media, I’m convinced they’d be far less likely to consider journalists their enemies.”
Thanks Peggy! I hope your message doesn’t fall entirely on deaf ears.
5. Importance of asking questions
Another good, thought-provoking article I read this week is by Helena Sorenson, “The God Who Asks.”
I’m still mulling through some of the contents of Sorenson’s article, but for the most part, I like how she presents God wanting to be relational and His method of asking questions.
“Isn’t it fascinating that an omniscient God, the God who knows us inside and out, should be so determined to ask questions? Turn to any passage of Scripture, Old Testament or New, and there’s a good chance you’ll catch Him in the act. In the Gospels, for example, Jesus is always walking up to someone with an obvious malady, an obvious need, and asking, “What do you want?” He makes no assumptions. Whatever information He’s gained through observation or revelation, He never misses an opportunity to ask a good question. Jesus honors the suffering people He encounters by allowing them to voice their feelings and desires. In person. Face to face. He is relentless in His pursuit of genuine relationship.”
6. God and weather
As I was trying to come up with my final topic, I turned to what was a rather unexpected rain shower this morning, which came right in the middle of a stretch of hot 100-degree days.
It made me think of Jerry Bridges’ book “Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts” and his chapter “God’s Power Over Nature.”
Here’s a challenging quote from Bridges:
“Complaining about the weather seems to be a favorite American pastime. Sadly, we Christians often get caught up in this ungodly habit of our society. But when we complain about the weather, we are actually complaining against God who sent us our weather. We are, in fact, sinning against God (See Numbers 11:1). Not only do we sin against God when we complain about the weather, we also deprive ourselves of the peace that comes from recognizing our heavenly Father is in control of it.”