In October we looked at Al Mohler’s speech at BYU and said:
What’s the lede there? Certainly not the shared political concerns, rather it is the theological divide. Before he can talk about joining Mormons in common political cause he is seemingly compelled to not merely acknowledge the theological differences, but to carefully delineate and explain them. What could have been glossed over with a few words, consumes an entire paragraph of the pullquote, and several paragraphs in the entire transcript of the speech. This is the schismatic impulse. No bridge can be build too permanently – it cannot be shored up – it must be built in a fashion that it can be destroyed in an instant.
In January Mohler wrote of Roman Catholics and we said:
When the Republican party is working hard to pull itself together Mohler seems to want to make sure it is poorly stitched.
Well, ‘ol buddy Al was back at BYU yesterday 2/25/14. This time we are looking at Tad Walch’s coverage in the Deseret News. Tad goes on at great length describing how Mohler seems to genuinely be trying to build a political alliance, but then this paragraph appears towards the end of the story:
As he did in October, Mohler clearly and vigorously expressed the doctrinal differences between evangelicals and Latter-day Saints. He ended with a lengthy witness or testimony of his beliefs.
There is a gracelessness to that I find deeply troubling. In October we discussed the lack of permanence in a bridge built in such a fashion – It’s a rope bridge and can be cut with a single swing of the machete. Aside from the ease with which a rope bridge can be severed, it suffers from a serious drawback; you cannot move very much across it at any given time. Mohler discusses the urgency we are jointly faced with on the social front, and yet he insists on a bridge across which it will take decades to move the needed material to effectively fight the war. Rope bridges may be fun on a vacation adventure, but they are useless when it comes to serious commerce and community building.
Much of this stems from Mohler’s own theology. He has stated that salvation rests on holding precisely correct theological formulations. With that view it is natural that he would feel compelled to make a jerk of himself in this fashion every time he steps out this way. That also means he is not likely to change.
But these episodes also demonstrate – repeatedly now – the futility in that theological viewpoint. While Mohler is free to hold that viewpoint, it grows increasingly disappointing that his insistence on it harms the entire social conservative movement.
I am grateful that my Mormon friends exhibit the grace towards Mohler that he seems to lack towards them.