At BYU, Baptist says Mormons and evangelicals 'may go to jail together'

10 years later, Ravi Zacharias to speak at Mormon Tabernacle again

Published: Monday, Oct. 21 2013 8:20 p.m. MDT

Mohler will return to BYU on Feb. 25 to deliver a nationally televised, campuswide forum address.

Interfaith efforts like these aren't without critics. Land and Wood have faced some objections over their visits last month, as Zacharias and Mouw did in 2004. Wood issued a response to complaints that his BYU visit validated Mormonism.

"These guys are going to take hits," Johnson said, "but they are gaining help for this cause."

Mohler clearly stated his doctrinal differences with Mormons, perhaps as an effort to blunt criticism for a man Time.com called "the reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S."

"The conflict of liberties we're now experiencing is unprecedented and it's ominous," he said. "Forced to choose between erotic liberty and religious liberty, 'many' Americans would clearly sacrifice freedom of religion. How long before the 'many' becomes 'most?'

"This is what brings me to Brigham Young University today. I'm not here because I believe we're going to heaven together. I do not believe that. I believe that salvation comes only to those who believe and trust only in Christ and in his substitutionary atonement for salvation. I believe in justification by faith alone and Christ alone. I love and respect you as friends and as friends we would speak only what we believe to be true, especially on matters of eternal significance. We inhabit separate and irreconcilable theological worlds, made clear with the doctrine of the Trinity, and yet I am here, and gladly so. We will speak to one another of what we most sincerely believe to be true, precisely because we love and respect one another.

"I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together. I do not mean to exaggerate, though we're living in the shadow of a great moral revolution that we commonly believe will have great and devastating human consequences. 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. We stand together for the natural family, for natural marriage, for the integrity of sexuality within marriage alone, and for the hope of human flourishing.

"I come in the hope of much further conversation, conversations about urgencies both temporal and eternal. I am unashamed to stand with you in the defense of marriage and family and the defense of human sexual integrity. I am urgently ready to speak and act in your defense, against threats to your religious liberty, even as you have shown equal willingness to speak and act in defense of mine."

The text of Mohler's lecture, "A Clear and Present Danger: Religious Liberty, Marriage and Family in the Late Modern Age," is available on his website, www.albertmohler.com.

Mohler also met Monday with faculty from BYU's department of religious education.

"I was impressed with his ability to talk with our university community in such a focused way (without) being distracted by obvious theological differences that exist between our separate faith traditions," BYU church history professor Richard Neitzel Holzapfel said. "Our students and faculty benefited from his review of current and future challenges to religious freedoms in the United States taken for granted only a generation ago."

Russ Robinson, pastor of Provo's First Baptist Church, said he was excited by Mohler's message. "I think we'd better be able to work together for common ground if we honestly and openly talked about our differences, too. That honesty and respect would help us to engage more on issues we have in common, like marriage and family."

Email: twalch@deseretnews.com

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