Mohler returns to BYU, says Mormons, evangelicals 'may go to jail together' sooner than he thought

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 25 2014 12:25 p.m. MST

Mohler said people of all faiths must act.

"The task of those now living is to defend these truths in a time of danger — and defend them we must and we will. But we are not called merely to defend them, but to fulfill them and to receive them and to find our joy in them. This means that our task is not only to defend marriage, but to live that commitment before the watching world. Our task is not only to point to the dignity due every member of the human family at every stage of development, but to defend the defenseless and to work for the affirmation of this dignity in everyone — from the elderly to the infirm to the child with Down syndrome. We are not only called to defend human rights but to contend for them, and to insist that these rights are non-negotiable only because our creator endowed us with these rights, and allows no negotiation."

As he did in October, Mohler clearly and vigorously expressed the doctrinal differences between evangelicals and Latter-day Saints. He ended with a lengthy witness or testimony of his beliefs.

Despite doing the same in October, Mohler has drawn criticism from some evangelicals who say engaging with Mormons at all is "crossing Biblical lines" or is "Al Mohler madness."

However, Mohler is one of five major evangelical and Christian leaders who have visited BYU and LDS Church leaders and spoken in Utah in the past five months. Each called for the need to work together, a call reciprocated by LDS leaders.

In September, Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, and George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, spoke at BYU as part of the "Faith, Family and Society" lecture series that Mohler joined in October.

Land told the Deseret News, "I think that evangelicals have got to accept the fact that the LDS Church is a tremendous ally ... When it comes to religious freedom, we all hang together or we all hang separately."

In November, Richard J. Mouw, president emeritus of the Fuller Theological Seminary, spoke at the LDS Institute of Religion at Utah Valley University and said, "We need to figure out how we can work together in the battle to maintain our religious rights."

In January, Ravi Zacharias, leader of an international evangelical ministry, spoke at the Mormon Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City and at BYU.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, another LDS apostle, said at the event that "there are doctrinal differences," but "We are witnessing a diminution of religious expression that is unprecedented in Western culture and certainly in American culture. ... The very least we can do is know and understand each other better than we do."

Mohler's speech was titled "Strengthen the Things that Remain: Human Dignity, Human Rights and Human Flourishing in a Dangerous Age." The full texts of both of his BYU speeches are posted on his website, AlbertMohler.com.

Email: twalch@deseretnews.com

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