Editors Note. This entry has existed in a previous form for several months. I have chosen to edit it because even though I believe the thrust of my concerns are legitimate, I sinfully used hyperbole and personal invectives against the two owners of the blog, as well as their commenters, in order to get my point across. A friend told me that I needed to repent and change this and I heeded his call, so this is where I am. I could have been more gracious. I should have tried harder to “win a brother”, not provoke them to wrath. I have reached out to one of the owners and after some thought and consideration and feedback, I have decided to keep the post up, and yet edit out what I deemed sinful choice of words on my part. I’ll own my own words. I don’t believe in trying to cover any thing up, ever, and so if someone reads this and surmise I’m trying to hide what I previously have said- I’m not. If you contact me I will provide you with the original post, with this note at the top explaining the errors of my ways.
I like Al Mohler. I don’t know him personally, but I have read most of his books, have read many of his articles, have listened to him on The Briefing, and am aware of the high esteem that the vast majority of my Christian heroes regard him with, as well as the general evangelical populace. He is considered to be a smart, thoughtful, gracious man full of integrity, conviction and Godly character, even as he is a sinful man like the rest of us.
For this reason I thought he would make an excellent candidate to demonstrate my concerns with the comment box at the Wartburg Watch– an online discernment ministry whose emphasis is topics relating to the spiritual abuse of parishioners by Christian pastors, teachers, authors and bloggers. At the Wartburg Watch, my concern is that there isn’t enough discernment applied inwardly to themselves. Often times it can feel like anyone who does not adhere to their understanding of biblical authority as it plays out in the Church and home is quickly written off, or must necessarily hold to positions that they do not hold. This is most clearly seen in the combox, which is regulated and moderated by the its creators who allow it to go on.
Though there have been some exceptions where people are cautioned to not go too far on some of the more extreme comments, for the most part personal attacks and insults often go unchecked and are seemingly actively encouraged. The commenters will give long, rambling detailed psychoanalysis of anyone who they feel deserve it, often by excoriating their motives and speculating and ascribing intent heaped on with snarky and angry assertions. In many ways it strikes me as a toxic environment, and its a shame because they often bring up something worth talking about, and address real concerns with a lot of the leaders in Christian circles, [especially the issue of spiritual abuse, which I believe needs to be given a greater voice] but the combox just kills them. Often I can’t tell if the people commenting are even Christians, because their worldview is so skewed. Perhaps there are a lot of non-Christian commenting, but it just seems to me as so much of the rhetoric is excessive and often dips into the category of sinful.
To wit, here is a small sample I’ve taken from two or three threads about Dr Al Mohler within about 10 minutes of searching which show a varied collection of slander, insults and misrepresentation of his beliefs and character. It’s important to note that these are all relatively mild compared to some of the other Christian leaders they’ve attacked [Joshua Harris, CJ Mahaney, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Tim Challies, Anyone at TGC, Phil Johnson, RC Sproul, Any Complementarian, Any Calvinist, etc] But they serve the point that if these things are said about Al Mohler, how much worse will they say about people they really don’t like.:
[He and his friends are] “A confederacy of dunces”
[Mohler] is a despicable human being that blaspheme the name of God.”
“What a false gospel and world these men promote. They fit right in with Mormons and the Taliban”
“Mohler et al are abusers of the caliber of my father. I believe this because they are doing publicly what my father did privately: deliberately insistently demeaning people at the core of their beings—in their case, women”
“Mohler only wants to indoctrinate.”
“If Mohler and Patterson lived in the South in the mid-1800′s with this same hermeneutic, they would be slave owners.”
“He doesn’t possess the ability to communicate it in any meaningful way. Read his blog, and you will see a string of superlatives (his incessant use of the words “breathtaking” and “astonishing” are nauseating), with very little actual argument or critical thinking. And his books are not written to thinkers, or even those with a reading comprehension level above maybe 4th grade”
“Mohler pretty much depicts all single adult Christians as being ‘despicable’ in explaining why he thinks it’s okay to practice discrimination in churches not hiring singles, and in blaming singles for being single (he thinks everyone should marry by 21 or 22.)”
“AL MOHLER IS AN EVIL RULER”
“I do not think they are very bright. They have the same abilities as our infamous banksters: legalistically clever and savvy at turning situations to their favor. Certainly they have no wisdom, which is the best of intelligence.”
“They [Mohler et al] are false teachers”
[Mohler is the]archetype of antichrist
“I agree they are locked into teaching falsehoods and have shown no sign of openness to listening to what Christians are saying, or demonstrating any willingness to repent. Soft hearts? I’d say hardened hearts.”
“You would not know that from reading Mohler’s incredibly rude, condescending, insulting, unbiblical rhetoric against adult Christian singles.
“[Mohler et al] teach a reductionist, utilitarian view of women. They distill women (and men) down to objects that can only fill specific functions. They deny the fact that women (and men) are made in the image and likeness of God Himself. By denying this reality and truth (and yes, it’s Catholic but probably everybody here would agree to it’s truth), they deny or at least ignore Jesus’s own coming as flesh and blood which we just celebrating at Christmas (the Incarnation)”
“It just seems to me that Mohler continues to share a bed with Mahaney primarily because neither of them wants to share it with a woman.”
[Regarding Al Mohlers book] “All 25 chapters are titled with a non-biblical or twisted biblical belief Dr. Mohler has about leadership”
[Regarding Al Mohler] “That’s what I said. That’s what I call anyone who perverts the word of God to a gospel of oppression that justifies throwing people out of a job and into the street just because they lack a penis. They can twist the few verses there are out of context to try and put lipstick on their theological pig, but when Jesus says the two overriding commandments are to love God and love your neighbor and on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets, there is no way to justify such oppression of women because that is NOT love in any sense of the word.”
“Based on how thoroughly Mohler conducted his scorched earth purges of women and ‘liberals’, I’ll bet there’s a number of books on Stalin in that stack – and few, if any, on Christian love.”
“Mohler doesn’t want to be humble servants as Jesus taught them to be they want to be powerful dictators in the guise of servant leaders.”
Again, just a small sampling of comments that get liked, applauded, laughed at, encouraged, agreed with, promoted by the other commenters and even the two blog leaders themselves. [And these are some of the waaaaay more benign ones] For this small reason, as well as many more numerous ones which relate to public behavior and harassments, I find that they are hurting and damaging in a lot of ways the reputation they seek to cultivate, and the Christ-likeness they would seek to be known as. I would encourage them to examine this more closely and see if they can’t do better, and be more loving, more gracious, more willing to assume the best of people even when they do act badly and even whom they disagree with.