26
Mar
05

Save Larry Summers – Censure Albert Mohler

Many are familiar with the controversy that surrounds Harvard president Larry Summers. I refer, of course, to his comments about innate differences between women and men, an explanation he has offered for the current shortage of women in science and technology-related fields. Several in the Harvard community and at large have asked for Summers’ head on a plate.

Many are also familiar with the controversy that surrounds Ward Churchill, a faculty member at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has compared 9/11 victims to “little Eichmanns.” Needless to say, many people are incensed at his views, but especially cultural conservatives. In this case, the call for having someone’s head on a plate has also gone forth.

For now, I will suspend judgment pro or con regarding these men. You see, for all the news coverage these two men have garnered for their controversial views, there is one academic who I think should get as much censure, if not more, than these men: Albert Mohler.

You may asking yourself just who is Albert Mohler. He is none other than the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Why, as a religious man, am I annoyed with him? Simple. Last year, the man gave a speech entitled “The Mystery of Marriage” in which he insisted single people putting off marriage were sinning. He especially targeted men with his comments.

I wish I could say that Albert Mohler was alone in his attack against single people, but anti-single bigotry has long been an unfortunate part of the Evangelical community. None other than James Dobson has for some time insinuated that single men are unfocused and selfish:

“Of equal concern is the impact of lifelong singleness on men. Social commentator George Gilder made it clear in his classic book, Men and Marriage, that men who accept the responsibility for a family are often motivated in ways that benefit the entire society. They typically channel their sexual energies to produce growth, creativity, frugality, sacrifice and protection for those who depend on them. In the absence of exclusive and committed marriage, however, their masculine aggressiveness and sexual appetites are inclined toward short-term pleasure-seeking, anti-social behavior, and selfishness. This is particularly true when faith in Jesus Christ is missing.” (Source: “Can Marriage Survive in the New Millennium?”)

And sad to say, Albert Mohler’s fanatical extremism has been picked up by other influential religious pundits.

I shared a related essay by Albert Mohler with some fellow Men’s Right Activists. At the time I was unaware that it was essentially a recap of Mohler’s speech; just the same, the response of my fellow MRAs was interesting. One fellow pointed out the irony of how church leaders have demonized sex for centuries, only to now change the message because they’ve found themselves too successful. Another man coined the term “Estrogelicals” as an amusing, but apropos, description of conservative religionists who have taken up the popular sport of male-bashing and pandering to women.

Yet, Mohler’s thoughts have also caused quite a stir among the Evangelical community at large. Mohler, like any public figure caught with his pants down, has predictably tried to clarify what he meant in a followup essay. He states:

“Singleness is not a sin, but deliberate singleness on the part of those who know they have not been given the gift of celibacy is, at best, a neglect of a Christian responsibility. The problem may be simple sloth, personal immaturity, a fear of commitment, or an unbalanced priority given to work and profession. On the part of men, it may also take the shape of a refusal to grow up and take the lead in courtship. There are countless Christian women who are prayerfully waiting for Christian men to grow up and take the lead. What are these guys waiting for?”

“Given this commitment and hope as articulated by these thoughtful young women, it should be clear that when I spoke of a pattern of sin in the delay of marriage, I was certainly not attributing that sin to them. To the contrary, as one who believes wholeheartedly in the biblical pattern of complementarity and in the male responsibility to lead, I charge young men with far greater responsibility for this failure. The extension of a ‘boy culture’ into the twenties and thirties, along with a sense of uncertainty about the true nature of male leadership has led many young men to focus on career, friends, sports, and any number of other satisfactions when they should be preparing themselves for marriage and taking responsibility to grow up, be the man, and show God’s glory as husband and father.”

“I stand by my argument–renewed in this conviction even by the controversy that has followed. At the same time, I’m going to be a good bit more careful to make clear that young men must accept most of the blame for this situation. I will also remind these young men that, armed with a biblical mandate and fueled by Christian passion, they can also be the vanguard for recovery.”

It is apparent that even in Mohler’s clarification, he has decided to stick to his bazookas. I am glad some have still called him on the carpet, however. As a case point, I invite all to read Michael Spencer’s response to Mohler’s diatribe.

Dear readers, I am not going to mince words here:

1. Mohler’ doctrine plainly contradicts the Apostle Paul. Paul said : “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I” (1 Corinthians 7:8, KJV). He further said: “He this is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:32-33, KJV) .

Paul didn’t say, “Ok, guys, you might have the gift to be single, but don’t enjoy it too much, or else you are selfish and don’t really have the gift! You know only a few people have this gift, so be very careful about singleness. Really, what I’m saying is this … that you shouldn’t be allowed to choose singleness just because you like being single. God doesn’t leave it up to you, doncha’ know. God will decide this matter, and you will just happen to know about His decision through .. yep, you guessed it … the wise, extra-Biblical counsel of your religious leaders! Hey … you, buddy … over there! You don’t look the single type. Get married or you’ll go to hell!!!”

Seriously, I could say much more on how Mohler’s doctrine is perversion of what the Word of God teaches, but I’ll let it go at that.

2. Self-respecting Bible-believing single men should denounce Mohler’s irresponsible remarks with every degree of righteous indignation. Religious pundits like him are always telling us that God expects men “to lead.” In what? Making the first moves in dating, courtship, and/or engagement? Where is that nonsense taught in the New Testament, the spiritual law under which Christians live (Hebrews 8:1-13)?

Mohler dutifully trudges down the same path that so many other political and social pundits have taken. Whenever there is some problem that concerns the sexes in particular, men are automatically blamed for something they did or failed to do. Mohler blames men for the plight of so many single Christian women not being able to find a husband. He never bothers to consider how Christian women may themselves need to share in the blame. Do many Christian women in today’s society really reflect the model of womanhood in Proverbs 31 that so many religious leaders talk about? Everywhere I look, I see religious women who are materialistic, demanding, irrational, unable to compromise, critical, Pharisaical, and spiritually shallow.

Moreover, while many so-called “traditional” women may not be bra-burning feminists, their attitudes often betray the larger culture’s insistence that women are perpetual victims who are entitled to every advantage in life, even at the expense of men. Many of them want to have their cake and eat, too. They want to having fulfilling careers and compete with men. Yet they also insist that their future husbands have a higher income than them, and be able to support their choice to stay at home if they are so inclined. It never occurs to these women that between their choosiness and a tough job market, that they are pricing their potential mates right out of the picture. So, who wants marry any of these women, no matter how many Scriptures she can quote? Alas, as a man once sagely observed: “Women have choices, men have responsibilities.”

But I hazard getting off-topic here. My main point is that Mohler committed a grave faux pas and he needs to have his feet held to the fire over it. I think a few incensed religious men need to write some letters or make a few phone calls to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Perhaps the Trustees and any existing alumni association should be brought into the action. Mohler needs to apologize unconditionally to single men everywhere. And he if doesn’t do this, then he needs to step down from his position. Period. Let all Israel hear of it and be afraid.

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60 Responses to “Save Larry Summers – Censure Albert Mohler”


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    June 29, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    First off – I like your blog!

    Just wanted to comment on what you said about single women pricing themselves out of the market. This is something that some girlfriends of mine and I have discussed together of late. Um, a lot of us don’t even really want careers. We don’t really have the choice to sit at home as you say and let our daddies take care of us. So we hit the job market in order to take care of our own selves, and quickly realize that many men won’t even ask us out because we make more…even if we don’t care about how much they make!

    The sins of women are many. I think that we have done you men a real disservice, but not all of us are gold-diggers looking for Jesus re-incarnate for a husband. Not every nicely-dressed girl in church is shallow and only out to snag herself a mate with a good life insurance policy.

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