When R. Albert Mohler Jr became president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1993, aged only 33, the institution had retreated from its original stand on the authority of Scripture. Dr Mohler’s first task as president was guiding this institution back toward its original commitment to the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture. Previously, any seminary’s slide down to liberalism was regarded as irreversible, but Dr Mohler insisted that lecturers must hold to the statement of faith they had agreed to when they took the job (otherwise they would be there under “false pretences”).

Today, Mohler continues to lead this seminary, one of the most important American evangelical institutions of higher education, where he also holds a professorship in theology. Mohler is a scholar, but he is not the stereotypical academic living quietly in scholastic cloisters. He has become widely known as a perceptive observer and commentator on culture and as one of the most articulate Christian spokesmen in America today. Dr Mohler recently talked with Lael Weinberger about reclaiming the importance of Genesis in the church.

Lael Weinberger: Why is it worthwhile for us to spend time on a contentious issue like the interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis?

Dr Albert Mohler: The church’s central message is the cross and resurrection of Christ. It is the message we call the gospel, the good news of salvation to sinful humanity through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. But that message comes to us in the midst of a larger truth, without which there is no context for either affirming or understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ. And that is the entire story of God’s dealing with humanity that includes the Genesis account of how God brought the world into being. Scripture never separates the knowledge of God the Redeemer from God the Creator; almost every Christian heresy can be traced in some form to an attempt to separate God the Creator from God the Redeemer.1 Christianity stands against that. The gospel of Jesus Christ makes no sense unless you put it in the context of the total story of God’s creative and redemptive work, from Genesis to Revelation.

LW: If evangelicals today are avoiding Genesis and deemphasizing its value, what does that say about their overall view of Scripture, God, and man?….

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