R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (born 1960) is an Southern Baptist, evangelical Calvinist. He presently serves as the ninth President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been a member of the board of James Dobson's Focus on the Family since August 31, 2004. He is married to the former Mary Kahler. They have two children named Katie and Christopher.
Early Life and Education
Mohler is a native of Lakeland in central Florida. As a child he attended Lake Yale, a Florida Baptist campground. During his Lakeland years he attended Southside Baptist Church.
Mohler attended college at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Florida as a Faculty Scholar. He then received a B. A. from Samford University, a private, coeducational Baptist-affiliated college in Birmingham, Alabama. His graduate degrees, a Master of Divinity and Ph.D. in "Systematic and Historical Theology," were conferred by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, also known as Southern Seminary.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Southern Seminary)
Mohler joined the staff of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky in 1983 as Coordinator of Foundation Support. In 1987 he became Director of Capital Funding, a post he held until 1989. While still a student he served as assistant to then-President Roy Honeycutt.
In February 1993, Mohler was appointed President of the Seminary by conservatives on that institution's board of trustees, succeeding Roy Honeycutt. The seminary soon saw a wholesale shift towards conservative theology (characterised by Mohler as a move toward "confessional fidelity") and a rapid exodus (both voluntary and compulsory) of more than 60 percent of the faculty. Diana Garland the dean of a unit of the Seminary, the Carver School of Church Social Work, was fired over a conflict with Mohler. The Carver School was eventually dissolved as the new administration judged social work to be out of keeping with biblical doctrine. In 1999, nearly a million dollars of its endowment were returned to the Women's Missionary Union in accordance with the terms of an undisclosed settlement.
One departing faculty member, G. Wade Rowatt, referred to the new regime as "a Baptist version of the Taliban." (Mohler shakes up Southern Baptists)
Other, more conservative Baptist leaders were elated: Paige Patterson, another Southern Baptist Convention seminary president, said Mohler's leadership “will mean that they recover their evangelical emphasis there” and that Mohler's Presidency meant that “the worst of the problems” were over: “Al Mohler has the brains of Erasmus and the courage of Luther.”
The move to conservativism also proved much more appealing to those in the Southern Baptist Convention as enrollment has multiplied several times over since Mohler took office. The seminary is now one of the most endowed and largest seminaries world-wide.
The "Conservative Resurgence"
Mohler was also instrumental in the mid-1990's restructuring of the Southern Baptist Convention, which saw the Convention shift from a mixture of moderate and conservative voices to a solidly conservative base.
He was involved in the drafting of the controversial 2000 revision of the Baptist Faith and Message, which added an exhortation to wives to "submit graciously" to their husbands, and removed a clause referring to Jesus Christ as the standard by which the Bible is to be interpreted.
A deadline was set for foreign missionaries to confirm their allegiance to the Baptist Faith and Message in written form. Those who did not were dismissed or resigned. Although adherance to and respect for the creed had been a matter of course historically, this marked the first time that a signed written statement of fealty was mandated in the form of an ultimatum.
Media and Editorial Work
Mohler served as editor of The Christian Index the biweekly newsletter of the Georgia Baptist Convention. From 1985 to 1993 he was Associate Editor of the bi-monthly Preaching Magazine.
Mohler served on the Advisory Council for the 2001 English Standard Version of the Bible (ESV.)
Starting July 29, 2003 and continuing to the present (November 2005), Mohler blogged on CrossWalk.com, a web site maintained by Salem Web Network of Chesterfield, VA.
He presently is heard on a nationally syndicated radio talk show, The Albert Mohler Program, and also maintains a web site, www.albertmohler.com.
Some references state that Mohler was initially liberal in his theology, particularly during his years as a seminarian, prior to the rise of the conservative movement within the Southern Baptist denomination. One source states that Mohler experienced a conservative epiphany growing from conversations with Carl F. H. Henry, whose essays Mohler later edited. (Realms of Faith: Christian Authors Database at propadeutic.com)
Shortly after his term as President began, Mohler drafted a policy (which was ratified by the trustees) that the Seminary would only hire professors who believed that the Bible prohibits the ordination of women as preachers. Some women already in teaching positions at the Seminary, or who served outside the Seminary in a missionary capacity, were stripped of their posts.
Theologically, Mohler respresents conservative fundamentalist Christianity. He opposes the role of women in preaching roles, opposes abortion, and believes that homosexual acts are sinful.
Mohler's Views on Other Religions
Mohler is on record as rejecting the notion that any other means of salvation exists besides conversion to Christianity, and his soteriology, or theory of salvation, is Calvinistic in the sense that Mohler states that he believes that human salvation is a gift from God, and cannot be earned by human action. He has publicly advanced this position with respect to Judaism, Islam, and Catholicism.
In the months after the events of September 11, 2001, when broad sectors of the religious community were organizing interfaith prayer services in an effort to improve Christian-Islamic relations, Mohler derided Islam in a sermon delivered to seminary students on October 17, 2001, using phrases such as "kills the soul," "lies about God," and "presents a false gospel."
I'm no specialist in Islamic theology. I'll let those who are debate whether or not there is that kind of militancy and warrior culture within Islamic theology. But I want to say as a Christian theologian, the biggest problem with Islamic theology is that it kills the soul.
The bigger problem with Islam is not that there are those who will kill the body in its name, but that it lies about God [and] presents a false gospel, an un-gospel...These are difficult things to say. This is not polite.
"I believe that the Roman church is a false church and it teaches a false gospel...and indeed, I believe that the pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office."-- (R. Albert Mohler, Jr., on Larry King Live, March 2000)
Mohler has made strongly anti-Catholic statements, but at the same time maintains that much of Catholic doctrine is compatible with his views. In spite of his public criticism of the Catholic Church, Mohler claims in his official biography to have studied at St. Meinrad School of Theology  (a few hours drive from the Seminary of which he is President.)
Mohler appeared on MSNBC's Donahue on August 20, 2002. The subject was Christian evangelization of Jews. The show's host along with members of both Catholic and Jewish clergy squared off against Mohler's insistance that salvation lies exclusively in the acceptance of Christ.
On April 15, 2003, Mohler granted an interview published in Time Magazine. The subject was the issue of evangelization of Iraqi Muslims in the form of proselytizing Christian aid groups.
On May 5, 2003, Mohler appeared on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, also discussing the issue of evangelization of Iraqis. At issue was whether the coupling of evangelization with basic human aid relief might be perceived as aggressive or coercive by the Iraqi people, and whether such a perception, if widespread, might place other relief workers in jeapordy. Mohler argued that evangelical Christianity is not uniquely American, but exists as a movement throughout the world, so that Christian proselytizing is not, in his view, to be interpreted as a move on the part of any single nation against the religion of another. At the same time however, Mohler ackowledged the need for "sensitivity," and distanced himself from the idea that religion should be spread in a coercive manner, whether through mode of evangelization or legislation. When pressed, Mohler expressed support for the idea of religious plurality as a theoretical matter of law, but denied the validity of any other belief system but the one he professes. (Debate Over Christian Aid to Iraq Nationally Aired in The Christian Post)
On December 18, 2004, Mohler debated retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong on Faith Under Fire, a program hosted by Lee Strobel and appearing on PAX, a Christian television network. The subject was the historicity and truthfulness of the Bible.
Speaking Engagements at Other Churches
On June 17, 1999, Mohler preached to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in Louisville, Kentucky. He prefaced his remarks, in part, by saying "As a citizen of Louisville, I'm so glad to have a Presbyterian group here that doesn't have a gay and lesbian caucus."
On January 23, 2003, Mohler spoke to attendees at a Campus Crusade for Christ meeting held at Downing University Center Theater at Western Kentucky University.
On October 31, 2004, Mohler spoke at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia on the subject "Deciphering the Da Vinci Code."
On November 5-6, 2004, Mohler spoke at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, giving presentations entitled "Being Men and Raising Men," and "Embracing God's Design for Marriage." The first of these events was open only to men: the church's web site described it as a "more than relevant topic in a culture marked increasingly by unbiblical views of male and female roles." The second event was open only to engaged and married couples.
On November 8-9, 2004, Mohler spoke at the annual meeting of the Florida Baptist State Convention.
Mohler is on the board of directors of Focus on the Family. In this role he was one of the principal organizers of Justice Sunday, a nationally televised event broadcast from Highview Baptist Church (Louisville, Kentucky), Mohler's home church, in Louisville, Kentucky on April 24, 2005. Mohler shared the stage with Charles Colson, and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. U. S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist appeared at the event via videotape. Another host of the program was Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.
The purpose of the broadcast was to mobilize the conservative base in lobbying the United States Senate to curtail debate on controversial right-wing nominations to the Federal Judiciary made by George W. Bush.
We want to communicate to all that we are not calling for persons merely to be moral. We want them to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, because we don’t just need instruction, we need salvation. Now, because of that, something has to explain why we would take this time on a Sunday night to talk about something like the federal judiciary. I want to make clear why there is such a sense of urgency that we would do this. It’s because so much that is precious to us, so much that is essential to this civilization, this culture, this great democratic republic is in the hands of the courts. And we know that means that much is at risk. Because we have been watching. And we have been learning. For far too long, Christians have been concerned to elect the right people to office, and then go back home. We have learned the importance of the electoral process, and yet we’re also discovering that that third branch of government, the judiciary, is so very, very important. We have been watching court cases come down the line. In 1973, Roe v. Wade, just declaring a woman’s right to an abortion. We now know in the aftermath of that decision, that Justice Blackman, who was the author of the majority opinion, even has admitted that they were determined to legalize abortion, and they just went to the Constitution to try to find an argument that would get them where they wanted to go. And they did. Now, that was a wake-up call for Americans to say, now wait a minute, there’s nothing in the Constitution about abortion. By no stretch of the imagination did the founders of this nation and the framers of that document intend for anyone to be able to read those words and find a right to kill unborn children. -- R. Albert Mohler, speaking at "Justice Sunday" (an event organized to protest perceived liberal bias in the U. S. Federal Judiciary) in Louisville, Kentucky, April 24, 2005
Criticism of Pat Robertson
Responding to Pat Robertson's remarks advocating the assassination of Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela, Mohler said:
With unmistakable clarity and an apparent lack of self-consciousness, [Mr.] Robertson simply called for an assassination, presumably to be undertaken by U.S. military forces in violation of U.S. law," the reverend doctor said. "In so doing he gave the Venezuelan leader a propaganda gold mine, embarrassed the Bush administration, and left millions of viewers perplexed and troubled. More importantly, he brought shame to the cause of Christ. This is the kind of outrageous statement that makes evangelism all the more difficult. Missing from the entire context is the Christian understanding that violence can never be blessed as a good, but may only be employed under circumstances that would justify the limited use of lethal force in order to prevent even greater violence.
"An institution has to decide, and it’s not just an option, it’s a responsibility, how much diversity can be tolerated."
"When a denomination begins to consider doctrine divisive, theology troublesome, and convictions inconvenient, consider that denomination on its way to a well-deserved death." (Southern Baptist Convention meeting, July 1995)
Books by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Books edited by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Gods of This Age or God of the Ages? Essays by Carl F. H. Henry (Editor) ISBN: 0805415483
Theological Education in the Evangelical Tradition (Editor, with D. G. Hart) ISBN: 0801020611
Books to which R. Albert Mohler, Jr. has Contributed
Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching ISBN: 1573581445
The Coming Evangelical Crisis: Current Challenges to the Authority of Scripture and the Gospel by R. Kent Hughes (Editor), John MacArthur, Jr. (Editor), R. C. Sproul (Editor), Michael S. Horton (Editor), Albert, Jr. Mohler (Editor), John H. Armstrong (Editor) (Moody, 1996) ISBN: 0802477380
The Compromised Church John H. Armstrong (Editor) (Crossway Books, 1998) ISBN: 1581340060
Why I Am a Baptist Tom J. Nettles and Russell Moore Eds. Chapter 6 (p. 58), entitled "Being Baptist Means Conviction" (Broadman & Holman , 200
Author Related Links
Personal Blog of Al Mohler
Know Your Evangelicals: Al Mohler Profile at "the evangelical outpost."
AlbertMohler.com Official web site of Mohler's radio program.
Mohler shakes up Southern Baptists September 2003 article by Bruce Schreiner
Christ the only way for both Jews, gentiles, Mohler says on 'Donahue' (BP News) Describes MSNBC Donahue appearance of August 20, 2002.
Mohler criticizes Mullins' influence and doctrine of soul competency