There are certain people in the evangelical community for whom I have profound respect. I feel more a student of their knowledge and expertise than a peer. Such is the way I regard Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Mohler, in my estimation, is a spiritual and intellectual giant in our time. I don’t see myself as someone worthy to even unlace his sandals.
But recently (Tuesday, April 29) on his daily broadcast called “The Briefing,” Mohler erroneously maligned North Carolina’s Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA). The great preacher and theologian seemed to be taking his cues from a New York Times article that was egregiously misleading about a novel approach by the United Church of Christ (UCC) to knock down the state’s MPA on the basis of the First Amendment.
My father was a Sales Manager for three different Fortune 500 companies during his career in business. While certain aspects of sales are clearly important—developing rapport with the client, selling the benefits and closing the deal—one must also be absolutely clear about the offer one is making. The product and the offer are not necessarily synonymous.
The product may be razor blades, as when my father worked for the Gillette Company. But the offer might be a signed contract, with satisfaction guaranteed, for a six month supply of blades to be distributed and stocked in certain stores at a certain price—all backed by the good name of his reputable company, a leader in its field. Clearly, the product you are getting matters, but the nature and identity of the one with whom you are entering into a relationship also matters. In fact, it matters even more.
Last Mother’s Day, I made it a point not to take the whole “Mother’s Day” phenom in the church too far. I talked about how insensitive we can be on Mother’s Day. I talked about barrenness, horrible moms, etc. After the service, a young woman that recently started attending came and spoke with me. She thanked me. She said for years Mother’s Day had been so awkward for her. She felt guilty. She felt less than other women because she was barren. She said that she had never been to a church that made her feel comfortable on Mother’s Day. That really humbled me. It inspired me to be careful on Mother’s day.
A limited number of seats remain available for the Connect 316 Breakfast @ the SBC to be held on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 in the Hilton Baltimore Peale Room at 6:30 AM. However, these seats won’t last very long now that the $25 breakfast fee offers participants over $200 in value—a $50 breakfast buffet and over $150 in free books and resources.
The breakfast buffet will include scrambled eggs, Virginia ham, pork sausage links, roasted potatoes and onions, orange and cranberry juices, assorted croissants, danish and home style muffins, butter and fruit preserves, assorted power bars, seasonal fresh fruit, freshly brewed regular and decaffeinated coffee with flavored syrups and a selection of flavored teas.
It is with grateful appreciation to Dr. Michael Haykin for his interaction on the issue at hand that I offer this response to his most recent surrejoinder of my article posted at SBCToday on April 24, 2014. My comments and critique should be read in the light of my deep admiration for him and his wonderful work at the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. Nevertheless, in the interest of historical accuracy, I am compelled to offer this response.
In reference to three mentions of Fuller in my chapter on the extent of the atonement in Whosoever Will: a Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism, Dr. Haykin stated: “This background to Allen’s remarks may well explain elements of his reply to me: he perceives there to be theological and biblical issues at stake and he is eager to recruit Fuller to defend his position on those theological and biblical issues. I, on the other hand, am approaching Fuller as an historian . . . .”
My interest in Fuller is also historical. Like Haykin, I want to understand what Fuller is saying about the specific issue of the extent of the atonement. Fuller’s theological and practical impact on late 18th and 19th century Baptist life is immense. I agree that the question of whether Fuller is right or wrong on the extent of the atonement is not the issue. What he himself believed is the issue. Biblical and theological scholars, even homileticians, can do objective historiography too.