Home > Media > Albert Mohler Jr. and “post-Christian America”

Albert Mohler Jr. and “post-Christian America”

I recently started listening to Albert Mohler Jr.’s weekday podcast The Briefing [link]. I picked it up because James White recommended it, and he recommends so little that anyone else does I thought I’d give it a listen just on his recommendation.

I’m kind of luke on Mohler generally; I’m already on the record for saying that I agree that the modern American evangelical church is sick but disagree that Calvinism (or Lutheranism, or Reformed Theology generally) is the solution, and I have kind of a wait and see attitude regarding the leadership of any of the new Calvinists within Evangelicalism. By the same token I’m so sick and tired of Richard Land that I’m glad to hear anybody within the Southern Baptist Convention talking about cultural and political issues from a Southern Baptist perspective. It should be a time of great disenchantment, and I’ve been waiting for someone to start doing the heavy lifting of disenchanting.

Mohler works from a fairly narrow palate of themes and a broad spectrum of sources. I’m glad to hear someone cite more than just a handful of mainstream media outlets who doesn’t behave as if Fox News, OneNewsNow and WND.com constitute a well-balanced news diet.

Mohler talks a lot about “worldviews,” a word that only conservative Christians use heavily, and after a few dozen episodes I’m still not sure what he means when he says it. I’m accustomed to it meaning “things we/they believe instead of thinking” or “things we believe because they fit other things we believe, not because we’ve evaluated their truth claims specifically.” It is usually taken as shorthand for the great gulf fixed between us and “them:” unbelievers, liberals, Socialists, etc. and which cannot be crossed but can only be identified. I hope he means more than this, but I’m not sure.

Mohler talks a lot about a “Genesis 3” perspective, by which I think he means a world that is already Fallen and cannot be fixed.

And finally he talks a lot about “America as a post-Christian nation,” which after listening to him for a while I have to believe he means as a term of nostalgia, suggesting that America was once a Christian nation and can only be understood as such. And here’s where I have to part company with Mohler. So far as I can tell America was never a Christian nation; it was always a post-Christian nation. So far as I can tell the Christian phase, if there was one, was long over by 1776, and it left no trace in any of the country’s founding documents. And it troubles me greatly to hear revisionists like David Barton taken seriously in various Christian media outlets (I’m thinking of Janet Parshall here, but I’m confident there are others).

I want to come back to this later, but I want to stake out a position first. Let’s not kid ourselves: America was never a Christian nation. I love being a Christian and I’m grateful to be an American, but I always want to remind folks that those aren’t the same thing.

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  1. Daniel
    May 9, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Glad to see you blogging again!

    On post-Christian nation: I heartily agree with you; Barton’s revisionism is one of the biggest sources of self-deception in the American church today. But it is not at all surprising to me; we love to have our ears tickled by false teachers and don’t want to double-check the facts to destroy the myths we created. Ironically, conservatives usually only see liberals in 2 Timothy 4:3, when in fact we often do exactly the same.

    I think rather than truly admiring the founders, we have idolized a Norman Rockwell-esque vision of the 1950’s (a very brief sliver of American history) as “normative” and feel that any deviation from that norm is questionable at best and political heresy at the worst.

  1. May 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm

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