Secularism vs. Protestant Integralism

"Mohler wrote an answer to Forster entitled ‘s answer entitled Secularism Cannot Sustain Liberty, a Response to Greg Forster.  Here he denies that he is an Integralist because he is a Baptist....His point, though, is that the very tenets of liberalism–such as freedom–cannot be sustained by secularism." - Veith

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TylerR's picture

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Mohler pushed back quite well. I like and respect him a lot. My friends at the Bible Presbyterian seminary here in the area call him the Baptist Pope (in a good way). I'm still not sure I'm going to read it. Does the book really say anything that isn't obvious? I'm specifically asking folks who have read it; were you enlightened at all?

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Aaron Blumer's picture

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I'd like to find out what he's got in mind. Not integralism, but not "secularism," so, what then? The case can be made that there is enough wisdom in the created order ("natural theology"?) to be a "foundation" for human rights and reasonably effective government. A problem with that idea is that humans aren't willing to learn all they could from natural law, etc. But you have the same problem with the various integralisms out there: they rely on coercion because people won't believe what they don't want to, much less do what they don't want to.

So a more coercive faith-based approach sounds great... until you remember that the coercers are also sinners, and we don't exactly have a great track record of governing from a religion-driven order. Relatively speaking, it's been better than our "secular" efforts, I guess, factoring in communism and facism.

But saying "let's use power religiously rather than secularly" doesn't fill me with optimism.

I hope Mohler intends a less secular culture. There's still all sorts of room to mitigate the decline of the west by persuasion rather than coercion. And, as they say, culture eats policy for breakfast (I guess it's 'strategy' that they say culture eats... but I think it eats just about everything.) As a hand at the rudder of human behavior, beliefs beat rules any day of the week.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Mohler is great at telling you the world sucks. But, at a certain point, you get depressed hearing about it every day. What Mohler is not so great at is giving you hope. I've read the book description, watched a video where Mohler speaks about it, and read a short excerpt from Amazon. I get the impression Mohler does what he's best at in this book, (1) explain how awful the world is, (2) explain how dangerous it is for the church, and (3) say the church must solider on. If that's all there is, then I'll pass on the book. I've found his books pretty disappointing.

I'd read something if it explains what's happening in this world. Trueman has a book coming out this Fall about the modern view of "self" as a way to understand what's happened to our world. I'll read that book. I already pre-ordered it. Trueman explains what's happening. Mohler often just catalogues what's happening. There's a difference.

I wish I were good at explaining. Right now, myself, I'm pretty much stuck at cataloguing. Beyond some nuanced version of "things are like this 'cuz people don't know God," I really have very little to say. I;;m trying to get better. I think that's where Mohler is at, too. That's fine, but it means I really don't gain insights from reading him. Trueman, however, is different.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

Thanks for the heads up on the Trueman book. My wife and I were just discussing that topic in our Bible time last night. Trueman is a great writer.