The Future of Evangelicalism and the SBC

Dr. Mohler’s convocation address this morning was outstanding, and it relates to the subject matter of my last post. The title of the address is “Which Way to the Future? Southern Baptists, Southern Seminary, and the Future of the Evangelical Movement in America” (download audio here).

In essence, Dr. Mohler argues that the evangelical movement provided the theological resources that the SBC needed to mount its conservative resurgence in the 80’s and 90’s. Now, Southern Baptists find themselves in the position of returning the favor. As the theological identity of evangelicalism becomes increasingly amorphous (and in some cases theologically liberal), Southern Baptists—with Southern Seminary included—need to lead the way in the defense of the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

In particular, Dr. Mohler notes that the doctrine of inerrancy is now up for grabs again. So is Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement, the exclusivity of Christ’s saving work, and a host of other moral and doctrinal concerns. In this context, he calls Southern Baptists to three ideals:

1. Theological Integrity – Southern Baptists must be both a “centered” and a “bounded” movement.

2. Gospel Clarity – Southern Baptists must be clear about the gospel and the necessity of conversion.

3. Biblical Authority – Southern Baptists must not abandon inerrancy, even though many in broader evangelicalism are. In this point, Mohler takes on Peter Enns, Kenton Sparks, and others at the Biologos site. [His full response to Karl Giberson should be published on his website very soon.]

This is an important, programmatic address given by a leading statesman for the cause of the gospel. Give it a close listen.


  • Mike Bird

    Denny, that sounds okay. But I think it worth mentioning that “inerrancy” (as defined by CSBE) and “errancy” are not the only two games in town. The concept of inerrancy is older than the word itself. And the concept has been nuanced quite differently over church history.

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