In defense of Al Mohler, Mike Stone, Rod Martin, Todd Starnes & the Conservative Baptist Network
The National Review article, ‘Our Lord Isn’t Woke’ by Kevin D. Williamson is trash.
No. That’s too kind a word for it. The article is a perfect combination of ignorance, condescension, and smugness.
It is the kind of article one expects to find in the mainstream press—it is devoid of any understanding of Christian moral philosophy, and it lacks fairness. While Williamson was only at the Atlantic for a brief time, it was not short enough. It looks like their methods rubbed off on him.
Williamson either through ignorance of what is going on in the Southern Baptist Convention or intentional deceit gets almost everything wrong about the SBC. The calumnies are directed at everyone from Mike Stone, the Conservative Baptist Network, Albert Mohler, Rod Martin and even Talk Radio host Todd Starnes.
Let’s set the record straight.
Mike Stone and the Conservative Baptist Network were right to fight Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality.
“Stone put three political considerations at the center of his campaign: critical race theory, intersectionality, and Donald Trump. Trump may have been only rarely acknowledged as an issue, but he was never far away from the conversation,” Williamson writes.
Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality were issues because they were issues since 2019 when SBC Elites forced a resolution approving the use of CRT and Intersectionality.
And Williamson mocks conservative concerns over CRT and Intersectionality.
He even mocks, though he does not mention him by name, Dr. Voddie Baucham.
There was probably a reason Williamson did not mention Dr. Baucham—Dr. Baucham is black.
It would interrupt and mess up the smear of Southern Baptists conservatives as unconcerned about race. Conservatives do care about race. However, conservatives understand the inherent dangers of worldviews arising out of Critical Theory. Critical Theory and CRT are demonic and dangerous.
National Review smears Dr. Al Mohler over voting for Donald Trump
In this Williamson diatribe, he insults rather than deal with the complicated issues of political theology.
Williamson opines, “The Reverend Mohler, the publicity-hog president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.”
This is a cheap shot against Dr. Mohler and typical of the rest of this Williamson piece. What does Dr. Mohler’s ability to get in front of a camera have to do with anything? It is a trick to poison the well against a man who voted for Donald Trump.
According to Williamson, Mohler had “a conversion experience on the road to some low-rent Damascus, he declared himself a born-again Trumpist.”
This is hardly accurate.
As a regular critic (and sometimes rather an unkind one), when I defend Al Mohler you can count on the fact that the truth requires it.
Mohler was wrong in 2016 to oppose Trump. Mohler was right in 2020.
This is a case where Mohler shifted and admitted he would change his position based on the facts. (Let’s hope this is something that happens on other issues too.) It was courageous. It was right. It cost him the friendship of the secular elites. He is still paying for it—as this Williamson attack shows.
The arguments against Trump were never good. The political arguments were better than the moral and theological ones. There is a reason that in 2016 the great systematic theologians and philosophers like Wayne Grudem and Norm Geisler sided with Trump.
Simply, the Christian has a moral duty to do the greatest good. There was no good moral argument for allowing the election of a pro-abortion fanatic candidate when a pro-life option existed.
Of course, some critics said they did not trust that Trump was Pro-Life. However, that was irrelevant. Since the choice was between a pro-abortion fanatic (Hillary Clinton) and a possible Pro-Life candidate in Trump, the right choice was to side with the potential good.
If Trump were lying, then that would be his sin. The Christian voter if they were fooled in 2016 would have had a clean conscience.
The reverse is true for any Christian who voted for Hillary Clinton or a Third-Party candidate.
In fact, as Dr. William Lane Craig recently pointed out, voting for unelectable candidates is actually a “dereliction of duty.” It is an attempt at moral buck passing. It does not work.
Character matters but it matters less than sinful public policy—especially, public policy that attempts to make Christians pay for abortions. Therefore, I’ve argued we adopt Dr. Norman Geisler’s Graded Absolutism in our Christian voting model. This allows us to hold to deontological ethics and not fall victim to consequentialism. Simply, we do the greatest good.
Williamson rants, “He is probably the only public intellectual on earth to use the words ‘hermeneutics’ and ‘disequilibrium’ in explaining why he was supporting Trump. But his political works were not sufficient to save him: In the four-way race for SBC president, he didn’t even make the runoff. He simply was not quick enough on his theological feet to get out in front of the Baptist parade.”
Yes, everyone should mock a theologian for using theological terms when he talks.
But the best part was how he mocked Mohler for failing to make the runoff. As noted, Mohler’s friends in the conservative elite are abandoning him. Mohler needs new friends. He should pursue rapprochement with conservatives—they can be true friends.
Mohler failed to make the runoff because conservatives were worried (rightly) that the seminary president was not sufficiently alert to the dangers of Critical Race Theory and has a few professors who are promoting the dangerous ideology. Mohler issued a statement against CRT (a good move) but still has several problematic professors (bad).
What David French, Kevin Williamson and the secular elites prove is that Mohler, you or anyone can never wash away the sin of voting for Donald Trump.
That is what they really care about and they will sneer and smear to get back at anyone who deviates.
Committed conservatives are “carnies”
Williamson’s calumnies do not end with SBC Presidential candidates Mike Stone and Al Mohler. No, he makes sure to smear any conservative with a serious platform be that Todd Starnes or Jenna Ellis.
“CBN’s efforts are amplified by low-level talk-radio carnies such as Todd Starnes,” Williamson writes. Williamson then implies Starnes was let go by Fox News after pointing out Democrats are worshippers of Moloch (an allusion to Democrats commitment to baby murder.)
This seems like an odd thing to mention given that Williamson himself was undone by anti-abortion comments. Williamson bombastically said on Twitter that women who murder their babies by abortion should be hanged.
The only difference between Todd Starnes and Kevin Williamson is that people care what Todd Starnes says—and do so daily.
Williamson also attacks Rod Martin for treating “Stone’s electoral loss as illegitimate.”
What is basis of Williamson’s claim?
That Rod Martin points out that the North American Mission Board spent significant dollars of tithes and offerings to turn out voters for Ed Litton.
Somehow, pointing out the truth about what SBC Elites are doing is delegitimizing the election.
Oh well. That only makes truth telling the more important.
Kevin Williamson does not know what he is saying
If you want one final proof that Williamson has no clue what he is talking about, then his summary of the SBC as a dying organization is it. Not the dying part. That’s probably correct. However, the part where he talks about the sources of dynamic Christian leadership in the modern era.
“The congregation has long since lost any real position of religious or moral leadership in the United States, in which intellectually rigorous Christianity is at the moment mainly the domain of Catholics and Calvinists,” according to Williamson.
It shows that Williamson has no idea that the SBC is composed of many Calvinists.
In fact, some of the most vigorous voices of the Young, Restless, Reformed revival were Southern Baptists.
Some of the leading Calvinist and Reformed scholars—Al Mohler being one—are Calvinists and Southern Baptists. Many of the leading theologians and pastors fighting Critical Race Theory are Calvinists—Dr. Voddie Baucham, Dr. Tom Ascol immediately come to mind.
Of course, accurately describing the Southern Baptist Convention was not Williamson’s or National Review’s goal. The goal was to spread calumnies.
They wanted to poison the well against conservative Christians who dare to stand against the tide of modernity and have the temerity to yell “Stop.”