Can evangelical Christians and Mormons become co-belligerents against a common enemy? Can Southern Baptists and Mormons work together to combat a secular worldview?
These are the questions addressed by Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in an address given yesterday at Brigham Young University. His address is entitled, “Strengthen the things that remain: Human dignity, human rights, and human flourishing in a dangerous age.” At the heart of his address is the central truth, “Men have forgotten God.” As a result, we have developed a secular worldview that relativizes morality and “actually undermines the very values that the prophets of the secular age claim to cherish and preserve — human dignity, human rights, and human flourishing.”
In his conclusion, Dr. Mohler makes the following statement.
In the Book of Revelation [3:2] we find the letter from the Lord Jesus Christ to the Church at Sardis. He commands that church to “strengthen the things that remain,” and those words certainly fit the challenges of our own culture and our own times. Without hesitation, we do our best to strengthen the things that allow and provide for human flourishing, that bear witness to human dignity, and that undergird human rights. We bear witness to the truth that these good things are not our own achievement or the result of our social experimentation, but are instead gifts of a sovereign and loving God, who brings himself glory and blesses his human creatures with these good gifts.
The task of those now living is to defend these truths in a time of danger — and defend them we must and we will. But we are not called merely to defend them, but to fulfill them and to receive them and to find our joy in them. This means that our task is not only to defend marriage, but to live that commitment before the watching world. Our task is not only to point to the dignity due every member of the human family at every stage of development, but to defend the defenseless and to work for the affirmation of this dignity in everyone — from the elderly to the infirm to the child with Down syndrome. We are not only called to defend human rights but to contend for them, and to insist that these rights are non-negotiable only because our Creator endowed us with these rights, and allows no negotiation.
When I was with you last October, I said something that got picked up by media around the world. I said that I believe that we will not go to heaven together, but we might well go to jail together. That was last October. That was four months and a few days ago. Since then, federal courts in your own state have ruled that your legal prohibitions of both same-sex marriage and polygamy are unconstitutional. Since that time, the President of your church has been summoned to appear in a secular court in London. Since that time, just over one hundred days ago, so much has changed.
Civil and criminal penalties have recently been leveled against bakers, photographers, and florists who could not in good conscience participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony. Erotic liberty is in the ascent and religious liberty is in peril.
We may go to jail sooner even than we thought.
This is why our conversation is really important, and why we need to stand together on so many urgent concerns. Most importantly, we are now called to defend religious liberty for each other, so that when they come for you, we are there, and so that when they come for us, you are there. We are learning anew what the affirmation of religious liberty will demand of us in this dangerous age.
Whether or not you agree with his conclusions, Dr. Mohler will make you think.