Dianne and I watched this great video honoring Al Mohler’s 20th year as president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
So, what does this have to do with disability?
In one sense, nothing. He doesn’t mention disability at all (to my recollection).
But if you watch the video you’ll see that after just a few decades, the God-centered purpose and principles of the founders of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary were already being challenged. By the 1980’s many faculty were openly defying those principles.
The video explores a little of what happened after Al Mohler became president. Through his principled leadership and with God’s help, he turned the institution back to its foundation on God and his Word. It is an amazing story!
So in that sense, it has everything to do with disability ministry.
We need our institutions who are preparing the next generation of leaders in the church to guide them on the right course! If our leaders are taught to be ‘clever’ or ‘insightful’ or ‘relevant’ over giving us the truth of God’s Word, we have nothing in which to hope except our own feeble capacities – and that is no hope at all.
This is not merely a hypothetical possibility. Just a couple of weeks ago I was reading a journal article by a so-called scholar on disability and theology who denied the necessity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ – not unlike what was happening amongst the faculty at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary before Al Mohler became president.
She had succumbed to the temptation to view God and his Word through the lens of her own experience and education rather than trust that God’s promises and his Word are so much greater, deeper, and wiser than her limited perception of reality. I’ve seen it more times than I can count. And her article ended up being very sad and small, with nothing ultimately to offer in terms of hope except in our own intellect.
There are certainly hard things in the Bible, things that take a great deal of study and thought and prayer for help from the Holy Spirit for understanding. And that’s exactly what I want from my pastors and leaders – careful, prayerful, dependent, hopeful study for the sake of helping God’s church understand more about who God is and what his Word has to say.
I don’t need clever. I don’t need people apologizing for or rewriting God’s Word to make it more palatable to narrow audiences. I don’t need God’s Word ‘reimagined’ to become acceptable to a particular political or cultural movement.
I need God.
Thank you, Al Mohler, for stewarding a whole generation of leaders and future leaders into the truth and strength and beauty and careful study of God’s Word, for the good of God’s church, and for the joy of all those who are called to live this different life of disability.