Southern Baptists and Latter-day Saints may differ in theology but are both interested in defending traditional marriage.
R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, presented a speech entitled, “A Clear and Present Danger: Religious Liberty, Marriage and Family in the Late Modern Age” on Monday. This was the third lecture in the Faith, Family and Society series put on by the Department of Religion.
“To many people, shaped in their world view by the modern age and its constant mandate to accommodate, it will seem odd
that a Baptist theologian and seminary president would be invited to speak at the central institution of intellectual life among the Latter-day Saints,” Mohler said. “But here I am, and I am thankful for the invitation.”
Mohler spoke of the changing culture and morals of current societies and even took time to answer some questions from the audience. He addressed the need for people of faith to defend the doctrines taught in the gospel of Jesus Christ in spite of the ever-present moral ambiguity that permeates modern society.
Each of the lecture speakers in this series are accompanied by a general authority. Richard G. Hinckley, an emeritus seventy, sat on the stage during Mohler’s address.
“You know who I am and what I believe. I know who you are and what you believe,” Mohler said. “We do not enjoy such friendship and constructive conversation in spite of our theological differences, but in light of them.”
Mohler suggested that while modernity brings with it many positives, it has also brought with it many obstacles to faith. He said modernity has caused society to now think it impossible to believe, when only a few decades ago it was seen as impossible not to believe.
“We must recognize that it is far more pervasive than we might want to believe, but this intellectual revolution has changed the world views of even those who believe themselves to be opposed to it,” Mohler said. “If nothing else, many religious believers in modern societies now operate as theological and ideological consumers; constantly shopping for new intellectual clothing even though they believe themselves to be traditional believers.”
At the conclusion of his speech, Mohler spoke frankly about some of the fundamental differences between LDS doctrine and Southern Baptist doctrine. He said they should not get in the way of defending the commonalities between them.
“I’m not here because I believe we’re going to heaven together. I do not believe that, and yet I am here and gladly so,” Mohler said. “Your faith has held high the importance of marriage and family. Your theology requires such an affirmation, and it is lovingly lived out by millions of Mormon families. That is why I and my Evangelical brothers and sisters are so glad to have Mormon neighbors. We stand together for the natural family, for the natural marriage.”