Friday, November 14, 2008

Short Radio Encounter with Albert Mohler

I had heard earlier in the week that Albert Mohler was going to be discussing is view that delay of marriage is a sin on his program today, so figured I would try to get a call in on the program. I couldn't get through the first time, but I did the second time.

Here is the link to the program. My call comes at about 17:45. I have to say, I am impressed with the way I was treated. I was treated very fairly. I had originally figured that calling in would give people a chance to hear the other side, but time was so limited, that it seemed like all we could do is make assertions. I figured on using the same argument I used against Candice Watters here, with regards to Genesis 2-3. The call screener told me to be quick, so I had to get a lot of information out in a very short period of time. Hence the misunderstanding at the beginning. However, I think that when I answered Dr. Mohler's question about why I believed marriage was a bad thing if I wanted to get married, he got my argument. All he could say about my interpretation is that it was "warped." I just wanted to say, "Prove it!" He threw out 1 Corinthians 7, and the reason why I found out that this is not the best arena for dialoguing about these things is because I had no time to respond to his presentation on that passage.

Now, some of the things Dr. Mohler said were really interesting. For instance, he tried to say he wasn't connecting marriage and salvation from sexual sin. Yet, as I have documented time and time again, Dr. Mohler has connected marriage and sanctification. One has to wonder if Dr. Mohler believes that sanctification is part of salvation. The only logical conclusion I can come to from hearing him speak is that salvation and sanctification are able to be separated, which has outragious implications for understanding the importance of sanctification within salvation itself.

Also, he said that I was going of topic by bringing up Genesis 2-3, because the topic was delay of marriage. Of course, what I found odd is, at the New Attitude Conference, where his sermon first popularized this idea that delay of marriage is a sin, he spent nearly the whole first half of the sermon on the topic! The reason why I chose this is obvious. If it can be shown that marriage and singleness are parallel in the text of Genesis 2-3, and, because of sin, it is not good for the man to be married just as it is not good for the man to be alone, then there is no reason to say that delay of marriage is bad because there is nothing inherently necessary about getting married. I really have no idea if Dr. Mohler really got that. Again, if I had more time, I could have pressed this.

Finally, this pushing of the idea that manhood=marriage was also bothersome. I figured that one was easy to challange, even though I felt I had very little time. However, I don't know how well it was heard. We were coming up on a station break, and the music was playing in the background. Dr. Mohler said that the Bible said that manhood=marriage, and I just said loudly and firmly, "where?". If it was heard, he never bothered to answer that question.

Also, he was very broad in his statements. He said things like "All of scripture teaches x." If there would have been more time I would have told him that, if all scripture teaches it, then it should not be hard to find a particular text that teaches it! These broad strokes were just all over Dr. Mohler's statements. The only specific he gave was 1 Corinthians 7, which I have dealt with before. The problem is it would have taken me more time to develop these things than the few brief minutes we talked.

Also, one of the things I have been increasingly very concerned about is the attempt to paint anyone who holds this position as a liberal. As I went through and listened to the first half of the program before my call, that came out very clearly. The interesting thing is that, before 1995, if you had stated this position to someone, they would have thought you were strange. Also with me is that I just let my track record speak for itself. I have defended inerrancy, argued against feminism, atheism, and written against abortion and homosexuality. I have the track record of being a committed, conservative, evangelical Christian. We need to keep doing this, and it will prove them wrong by our very actions.

I figured that this was the only way to get through to him to at least talk with him on this topic, and let his listeners know that there are other positions that conservative, evangelical Christians can hold besides his. That is why I made it clear at the beginning that I do agree with him on 95% of everything he says. I do respect the man. However, I pray that God would change his heart so that he repents of these ideas, and does not bind to the contience of God's people things that are not found in God's word. I would also be open to dialoguing with him more on this topic. However, his interest in dialoguing with a master's student in Hebrew and Semitic Studies is not probably going to be that high.


I have written the following suggestion to the editors of Boundless:

Hey Ted and Co!

I have a suggestion. Since you guys have the Boundless show webcast, why don't you invite some of the teachers you guys promote who believe that delay of marriage is a sin, and have Anakin Niceguy, myself, Andreas Kostenberger, or others who disagree with them on the Boundless Show to discuss our disagreements with them? Shows like this usually do really well in terms of downloads. It is a hot button issue anyway, and putting both sides next to each other will allow people understand the issues much more clearly. The only other times I see this issue discussed is in a thread like on the Line or on a call in talk program, and you either have a mammoth amount of material through which to sort [on the thread], or an extremely short time, at most minute and a half, to make your point [on a call in talk program]. A program with even a section like this would allow both sides to lay out their position, and discuss areas of disagreement, and thus, I think would be more edifying in terms of helping people understand the issues involved.

God Bless,

I figure that this would be a much better idea for allowing both sides to lay out the issues. We will see what they say!


LadyElaine said...

It is nice to know that there are some of us out here who disagree with the marriage mandate movement....

Kuya Kevin said...

I think if you had more time it would have been a better discussion.

I still don't get his "unless you have the gift of celibacy . . ." argument.

I'm not convinced there is a gift of celibacy as I hear so many (such as Mohler) describe it. I just don't see it in the Scriptures.

PuritanCalvinist said...

Hey Kuya Kevin, and Lady Elaine!

I still don't get his "unless you have the gift of celibacy . . ." argument.

I'm not convinced there is a gift of celibacy as I hear so many (such as Mohler) describe it. I just don't see it in the Scriptures

I know, and I would have pushed that very hard if I had more time. I would have asked him specifically where celebacy and gospel service were in 1 Corinthians 7:7-9. He keeps repeating that over and over again, and no one has ever challanged him on that. I figured, given the limited time that I had, I had to go to the foundation of his argument, and that is that marriage is something that is needed by individuals. That meant dealing with Genesis 2-3. I guess I will have to hope that rational people will see that Dr. Mohler had to leap out of the context of Genesis 2-3, and run off to 1 Corinthians 7. That is not how you do exegesis.

I have also seen Matthew 19 discussed as a possible gift of celebacy, and, indeed, it speaks of celebates [this another passage upon which I have changed my view]. However, it speaks of celebacy, not of singleness. The passage refers to those who are *voluntarily* celebate for the sake of the kingdom of God. However, there is nothing in the text to state that these are the only kinds of *single* people there are, but, rather, the only kinds of *celebate* people there are. In fact, I find it ironic that Debbie Maken wanted to make a distinction between celebacy and singleness, and then she uses a text that is only about celebacy to speak of singleness!

That is really all they have, Kuya Kevin. The frustrating thing is that myself and others do not have near the outlet of popularity that Albert Mohler, Mark Driscoll, Candice Watters, Debbie Maken, Tim Challies. That is why I think it would be good if we could get everyone together, and have a dialogue about this topic so that the issues can be heard side by side.

However, we can only hope that rational people will be able to see through all of the rhetoric, and that is the reason why I keep responding to this stuff. My hope is that single guys who are being told that they are sinning by delaying marriage by those who are using the arguments of Albert Mohler, Debbie Maken, and Candice Watters will find this blog, and it will give them Biblical responses to the arguments that they put foward. I figure if one guy in this situation remains single for as long as he wants because he has found my blog, I will have done my job. It is for that that I keep writing and posting.

God Bless,

Kuya Kevin said...

I'm looking into starting a single issues blog pretty soon. I certainly will encourage people to take steps to find a spouse--but none of this guilt mongering.

I agree with you about Matthew 19. How does one "forsake" marriage if he/she has no desire for it? Seems Matthew 19 makes a clear distinction between "eunuchs" who cannot marry and those who choose not to marry.

By the way, I can't get a good feed with your blog on my google page. Not sure why.