Emergent icon and well-known radical theologian, Brian McLaren, posted an encouraging note he wished someone to pass along to Dr. Mohler. Dr. McLaren desires to express his genuine thanks and appreciation to Mohler for his courage to "take a risk and say things that you believe need to be said" even when Mohler knew he would be "maligned for doing so">>>
Hence, we thought we'd assist Dr. McLaren and post his letter of encouragement here. Perhaps a reader of SBC Tomorrow will pass this link along to Dr. Mohler:
Dear Dr. Mohler,
I wanted to express my sadness at the way your recent comments about repenting of homophobia were attacked and ridiculed by one of your fellow conservative Christians. I was also saddened to see your critic attack the SBC's mildly-worded statement of concern for immigrants.
First, I wanted to express empathy. I know it took courage for you to say what you said, and of course I think your comments are a step in the right direction. I know what it's like to take a risk and say things that you believe need to be said - because you believe they're true and because justice, kindness, and humility require you to say them - only to be maligned for doing so. I'm sincerely sorry you are experiencing this.
Second, I wanted to share a spark of hope. I wonder if, as you deal with these dismissive criticisms now and in the future, you might get some insight into how some of your past comments have seemed to people like me. I wonder if, being put in the situation you sometimes put others in, you might gain some insight that will make a difference in how you respond to others less conservative than you in the future. I hope that will be the case. But even if it's not, please know that I'm still sincerely sorry you're being maligned.
Third, I wanted to share a word of encouragement. Please don't back down. You don't seem like the kind of person to be bullied, but I've noticed how people are more prone to be bullied by their fellows than by their opponents. The simplistic dismissals and ungracious manner of your critics should not be rewarded with concessions. So stand firm, and maintain the courage to graciously differ with them - just as you have done with me and others like me on some occasions.
Finally, I wanted to say thanks to you and your colleagues for making the kinds of statements that elicited this negative response. On behalf of my gay family members and friends who face real homophobia from far too many churches far too often, and on behalf of immigrants who face increasing xenophobia as well - often within Evangelical churches more than anywhere else, thank you for taking a risk and saying some things that needed to be said.
I know that many who read my blog will join me in praying for you and your colleagues in the days ahead. Don't be intimidated. Keep moving forward.
Warmly, in Christ,
Brian McLaren (//link)
We thank Dr. McLaren for demonstrating precisely what Dr. Mohler's words indicated to many of us who heard them--a confusing departure from both the sufficiency of Scripture and the historic Baptist position.
Perhaps now, Dr. Mohler will know the weight of his words and how they came across even to nuanced theologians like Brian McLaren; that is, suggesting a reversal of his stated position for the last decade and a half. If Southern Baptists have been intentionally deceiving people on the nature of homosexuality as Mohler indicates by owing Jonathan Merritt's quotations from him, and practiced what can only be called a "form of homophobia" when we have attempted to speak the truth in love about the sinfulness of sin, then we have a major divide among us.
We anticipate Dr. Mohler's public response to the undeniable confusion his words created. In addition, given Dr. McLaren's obvious elation that Mohler's words definitively indicate a "step in the right direction," we now anticipate Dr. Mohler's public response to the perceived shift toward left-wing evangelicalism's socio-ethical position on gender-sexual matters.