Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where I Differ From Albert Mohler

I have great respect for Dr. Albert Mohler. He has had a tremendous impact upon the Southern Baptist Convention in particular and upon evangelicalism in general. I've read a number of his books and heard him speak several times.

Despite the above, I differ from Dr. Mohler on many things regarding the church. The primary difference has to do with the clergy-laity divide. While Mohler endorses this, I reject it. While he appears to believe it is a good thing for the church, I believe it causes much damage.

Dr. Mohler's endorsement of a clergy-laity distinction is apparent in his latest blog post entitled The Challenges We Face: A New Generation of Gospel Ministers Looks to the Future. In the piece, Mohler writes the following, "When asked about my hope for the future of the church, I point immediately to the corps of young ministers now entering and preparing for ministry."

His hope for the future of the church lies with the clergy. He refers to them as ministers, but he is clearly not referring to all Christians. Rather, Mohler is talking about what our culture generally refers to as pastors.

My hope for the future of the church is far different from Mohler's. I point instead to the growing number of Christians who care little for the things of the world and instead desire to be the church as God describes it in scripture.

Of course, both Mohler and I would agree that our hope for the church ultimately lies with God. However, at a human level his hope lies with the clergy while mine lies with the entire church.

In his blog post Dr. Mohler hits upon several imprtant issues for the church as it moves forward. He's correct to say that truth, mission, gospel, biblical authority, etc. are keys for the church. We agree there.

The difference lies in how the church will deal with these issues. Will it be the select few who have been "set apart" as pastors? Or, will it be the entire church?

Peter makes it clear in his first epistle that God desires and expects his church to be a fully functioning priesthood. We are a body that needs all members functioning in order to be healthy. Our hope for the future of the church is a reformation of the entire body. All parts must embrace this.

This is one of the major disagreements within the church itself. Will the future depend mainly upon the few (the clergy) or everyone (the laity)? How the church in this country answers this question will have a huge impact upon its future.


Brian said...


I am with you on this one.

The thing that I feel breaks the church up is that I look at church "structure" (if there even is one), as a secondary order of reality. Al Mohler and myself should agree to disagree on this subject and put Christ as the first order of reality. I do not know who is right, and I agree to disagree here and love Al as a brother in Christ... I am to bet he does not feel the same about me (but I could be wrong).


Aussie John said...


Sixty-two years of active church life, almost half in preaching/teaching has taught me that what you say is very true, the clergy-laity divide is extremely damaging, and very debilitating of the witness of the local church.

Eric said...


I'm thankful for Al Mohler and what he has done at Southern. I just wish he would apply the same principles to church life that he does to cultural issues.

Eric said...


The irony is sad but true: the clergy in general desire a strong church and do many things to try to bring this about. However, their very existence stands in the way of this goal.

Brian said...


I am with you there. I live in Louisville and have heard him speak many times.

Yes, if he would apply principles
to the Body of Christ instead of trying to be a culture warrior who knows the effect he would have

Eric H said...

Yes, and brother John shows us there is still hope for them.

Tim A said...

Albert must be mis-reading

But you are many chosen brands of believers, a royal ceremony observer, a holy institution, a people for the pastors possesion, that you may hear only him proclaim the excellencies of God who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.