Earlier this morning Dr. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, published a an article on his blog entitled The High Cost of Being (and Staying) Cool — Rick Warren in a Whirlwind. In this insightful article, Dr. Mohler discusses Barack Obama’s recent selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the upcoming presidential inauguration on January 20. He also addresses the backlash among members of the gay rights community, who have stridently opposed Obama’s decision.
Here are some of Dr. Mohler’s conclusions:
I am not throwing Rick Warren to the wolves over this. He now finds himself in a whirlwind, and he will not be the last. Pastor after pastor and church after church will face a similar challenge in short order. No matter how cool you think you are or think that others think you are, the hour is coming when the issue of homosexuality — taken alone — will be the defining issue in coolness. If you accept the full normalization of homosexuality, you will be cool. If you do not, you are profoundly uncool, no matter how much good work you do nor how much love and compassion you seek to express.
Liberal Protestantism came to this conclusion long ago, and those churches desperately want to be considered cool by the elites. Having abandoned biblical authority, there is nothing to prevent them moving fast into coolness. The only barriers are outposts of conservative opposition, but they will not last long.
Many in the “emerging” and “Emergent church” movements also state their intention to transcend the divisive issues like abortion and homosexuality. Some
of these represent the quintessence of cool in cultural identification. But for how long? Eventually, the issue of homosexuality will require a decision. At that point, those churches will find themselves facing a forced decision. Choose ye this day: Will it be the Bible or coolness?
Rick Warren has just found himself in the midst of a whirlwind. We must pray that God will give him wisdom as he decides what to do — and what to say — as he stands in this whirlwind. But every evangelical Christian should watch this carefully, for the controversy over Rick Warren will not stop with the pastor from Saddleback. This whirlwind is coming for you and for your church. At some point, the cost of being “cool” will be the abandonment of biblical Christianity. We had better decide well in advance that this is a cost far too high to pay.
Dr. Mohler also writes about whether or not he himself would ever have accepted such an invitation from Barack Obama in the first place:
Would I deliver the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States? Well, I have not been asked, but I can imagine that it would be difficult to turn down this invitation. After all, the inaugural ceremony is a national event, not a personal ceremony. Yet, in the end, the context of this inaugural ceremony would not allow me to accept. President-elect Obama has pledged to sign legislation including the Freedom of Choice Act, which would affect a pro-abortion revolution in this nation. He has also pledged to sign executive orders within hours of taking office that will lead directly to a vast increase in the destruction of human life. In particular, he has promised to reverse the Bush administration’s policy limiting
federal funding of human embryonic stem-cell research. Sources inside the transition office have advised activists to expect a flurry of executive orders in the new administration’s first hours and days.
Knowing the intentions of this President-elect, I could not in good conscience offer a formal prayer at his inauguration. Even in the short term, I could not live in good conscience with what will come within hours. I could not accept a public role in the event of his inauguration nor offer there a public prayer, but I will certainly be praying for this new President and for the nation under his leadership.
I agree with Dr. Mohler’s position and am encouraged by his typical desire to follow Scripture as his guide and to refuse to give even the appearance of approving of that which is evil. Let us all take note of his example. And let us all join him in praying for President-elect Obama and for the United States of America.
Let us also all pray for Rick Warren, that the Holy Spirit will lead him to repentance where it may be necessary, to a deeper awareness of the adverse effects of his actions on others, and to greater wisdom in following the Lord Jesus.