Full Name: Richard Albert Mohler, Jr.
Born: October 19, 1959
From: Lakeland, Florida
Undergraduate: Samford University
Master of Divinity: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Former Vice Chairman of the board of Focus on the Family
Member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Advisory Council Member of the 2001 English Standard Version (ESV) Bible
Former Coordinator of Foundation Support at SBTS, 1983
Former Director of Capital Funding, 1987-1989
Assistant to former President Roy Honeycutt, 1983-1989
President of SBTS, February 1993 – Present
Richard Albert Mohler, Jr., more commonly known as Al Mohler, is the sitting President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship institution of the Southern Baptist Convention, since 1993. He has immense influence not only within the SBC, but also within evangelical churches more broadly. To many, he has appeared as a bastion of conservative Christianity, but in recent years it has become evident that Mohler’s actions do not align with many of his previously stated positions, and he has also begun to recant some of his former conservative viewpoints. When questioned by faculty such as Dr. Russell Fuller, Mohler refused to give direct answers or to own up to his betrayal of his former conservative, Biblical values and principles. Mohler has promoted and hired personnel who do not uphold Biblical ethics or worldviews, like Matt Hall, Jarvis Williams, and Curtis Woods, all three of whom have explicitly aligned themselves with talking points of Critical Race Theory. Under Al Mohler’s leadership, Southern Seminary has also required students to sign a statement of allegiance to the government, and to agree to “obey all rules, policies, advisories, and practices required by government authorities,” given the onset of COVID-19 mandates in 2020. Mohler has been identified as a “double agent” for the evangelical Left, a man whose influence and conservative background gives him an advantage in pushing the SBC in a Leftward, Woke direction. He has promoted talking points of CRT, including the notion that the Southern Baptist Convention bears the “stain of racism.”
Hiring and Defending Woke Faculty:
Al Mohler has hired and defended professors and provosts whose worldviews are at odds with the historic, orthodox Christian worldview and philosophy. Some of the most prominent of them are Curtis Woods, Jarvis Williams, and Matthew Hall.
Curtis Woods has supported the concept of Black Lives Matter, the Critical Race Theorist mantra and organization based on the patently false notion that there is a widespread attempt by the “system” (i.e., law enforcement) to kill black people, and widespread ignoring of “police brutality” against black people, and that the systems of law (and other social orders) in the United States were designed that way from the very beginning. He has claimed that race is a “proscription,” an attempt to “prohibit other perceived races from being able to achieve in society,” and yet he has also admonished white people for being “colorblind,” saying that “When I hear people say, ‘I don’t see you as black,’– well, I need you to.” The rational conclusion to draw from those statements is that Woods wants to use the fact that he is a black individual to guilt white people into treating him as superior to make up for the supposed “racial injustices” of the past and present, to prevent white people from being “able to achieve in society.” Likely, he would deny that this is his actual position, but it is the only way to make consistent sense of his statements.
As Pulpit And Pen published in a 2019 article, Jarvis Williams “has been a vocal voice for progressivism, liberal theology, racial disunity and ideas like White Privilege and White Guilt, which are all staples of belief within Critical Race Theory.” His teachings, then, are similar to those of other CRT-proponents at Southern Seminary, like the aforementioned Curtis Woods. In 14 pages of class notes leaked by a concerned Southern Seminary student, Williams argued that race is about “otherness” rather than biological distinctions and that it includes the category of gender and social standing, and that the Gospel should be defined as obedience as well as deliverance from God’s wrath with the express purpose of supporting his idea that “racial reconciliation” is a “gospel issue.”
Matt Hall made a number of statements based on the assumptions of Critical Race Theory in several panels and discussions. When confronted by Russell Fuller, former Hebrew scholar at Southern, about the idea of hiring Hall, Fuller has stated that Mohler was visibly angry, and when Fuller had completed his speech, Mohler yelled these words which should never be uttered by someone against a believer who is speaking the truth: “Russell, you are an idiot!” In 2019, in The Federalist, Al Mohler wrote that “No one is going to be teaching at Southern Seminary from ‘the other side’ of post-modern, critical theory.” He also said “If I thought Matt Hall was a danger to the church of Jesus Christ, he would not be the provost of Southern Seminary.” Meanwhile, his provost Matt Hall made claims that race is not about biology, but about “ideology,” “currency,” “power,” and “status,” which is a reiteration of the Critical Race Theory position that race is a social construct, which enables CRT-ists to say extremely racist things about white people (and even about non-white people who do not buy into the doctrines of CRT) while avoiding direct confrontation about their racism. Consistent with that CRT principle, Hall also made the statement “I am a racist… I am going to struggle with racism and white supremacy until the day I die and get my glorified body…” He has argued that “racism is actually the whole system built upon allocating privileges, power, opportunities in equitable ways on the basis of race.” This is equivalent to the classic CRT assertion that the entire enterprise of Western civilization is a system built explicitly to advantage white people over non-white people, which is contrary to the obvious and plain historical truth (what sort of “white supremacist” civilization would ever do away with the institution of race-based slavery?) about the history of Western Civilization and about world history generally. According to Russell Fuller, Al Mohler was fully aware of Matt Hall’s ideological leanings, and therefore he had no excuse to hire him to the position of provost. Al Mohler’s defense of Hall, including his posting a photo of Matt Hall signing the statement of faith not even a few weeks after Hall made the statement “I am a racist,” reveals a deliberate allowance of CRT doctrines at Southern Seminary. More than that, Mohler fired the three professors (Mark Coppenger, Jim Orrick, and Russell Fuller) who opposed Matt Hall. He then offered them extra pay and benefits for a few months if they signed a nondisclosure agreement, which Dr. Fuller refused to do.
In other words, Al Mohler has knowingly and intentionally provided cover for people who explicitly and unrepentantly teach CRT. This is all in spite of the fact that he promised donors that this is exactly what he would not do.
Soft-Peddling the Sin of Sodomy:
Al Mohler expressed a Biblical position on the question of homosexuality– namely, that homosexuality is a sin, and not a valid “sexual orientation”– at many points in the past, but in recent years he has shifted his position. Per Mohler, “We have said to people that homosexuality is just a choice. It’s clear that it’s more than a choice. That doesn’t mean it’s any less sinful, but it does mean it’s not something people can just turn on and turn off.” Mohler’s position shifted from the Biblical position that sexual sin is, in fact, a deliberate choice, to the position that a certain kind of sexual sin–sodomy– is not a choice, but something that is forced upon people who have homosexual temptations. He wrote: “… I had previously denied the existence of sexual orientation. I, along with many other evangelicals, did so because we did not want to accept the sexual identity structure that so often goes with sexual orientation. I still reject that notion of sexual identity. But I repented of denying the existence of sexual orientation…”