Monday, September 21, 2015

Al Mohler on the Pope on CNN

I just heard Mohler on CNN make some pretty harsh criticisms of Pope Francis and his visit to the United States this week..  (I am searching for a transcript, but it is not available yet.  Here is the closest thing I have been able to find.  If I find a transcript I will add a link).

Mohler ,the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, criticized the Pope for being too political.  And he basically said the Pope contradicts himself because he defends traditional views on marriage while at the same time criticizing capitalism and supporting climate change.

I understand that Mohler has theological disagreements with the Pope and needs to emphasize those disagreements as a spokesperson for conservative evangelical Protestantism.

I also imagine that Mohler believes that evangelical Christians should have a fully-formed "world view" that helps them make sense of all kinds of political issues such as abortion, marriage, the family, the economy, etc.  I commend him and his Southern Baptists for wanting to engage the public square from a Christian point of view.

But why does Mohler criticize Francis for having his own fully-formed Christian world view? When conservative evangelicals discuss so-called "political" issues they claim that it is a natural extension of their Christian view of the world.  Yet when Francis discusses climate change or capitalism from the perspective of his own Catholic "world view," Mohler says he is getting too "political."

It seems to me that Francis is consistently applying his Christian faith--his world view-- to a host of social and economic issues.  In this sense, he is no different than Mohler.  Francis just has different views from Mohler on capitalism and climate change (I am sure there others too) and according to Mohler, this makes him a walking contradiction.  Francis is not flip-flopping--he is consistently applying Catholic social teaching to the major issues of the day.

It is actually Mohler who is being "political" here by interpreting Francis's views through the grid of his own convictions and the saying the Pope contradicts himself if he does not conform to those views.

Mohler had a wonderful opportunity to seek the common good and try to find common ground with the Pope's moral vision.  He did not take it.