Paul's Passing Thoughts

What’s in a Video? Part Three: Al Mohler’s Mystic Contemplationism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 25, 2012

The next snippet of profound unction in the 2012 Resolved Conference promotion video ( is that of Al Mohler, president of Southern Theological Seminary. Along with CJ Mahaney, he is one of the “core four” of the Together For The Gospel conferences. Again, a close examination of words used in this video speak to the false doctrine they teach, and Mohler’s excerpt is no exception.

Mohler refers to us being continually “rescued” by the Scriptures. Per the usual, the verbiage is deliberately ambiguous, and could apply to initial salvation or our life as Christians, or both. There is a sense in which the Scriptures continually save Christians from the consequences of sin and instruct us on how to please the Lord. But Mohler is speaking of using the Scriptures to contemplate on the gospel with the result being, as stated by others, a “mere natural flow” of obedience. This is because it is not really us obeying, it is a manifestation of the active obedience of Christ. John Piper would say that we experience the manifestation of Christ’s active obedience in our lives when the obedience is accompanied by a willing spirit and joy. If we are confronted with the necessity to obey, and have not the joy, Piper’s counsel is to go ahead and obey, but ask for forgiveness:

I am often asked what a Christian should do if the cheerfulness of obedience is not there. It’s a good question. My answer is not to simply get on with your duty because feelings don’t matter. They do! [Especially since he makes joy synonymous with true salvation in When I Don’t Desire God]. My answer has three steps. First, confess the sin of joylessness. ( John Piper: Treating Delight as Duty is Controversial ebooklet; ch3, Desiring )

This is simply the Bibliology of their doctrine: the Bible has one primary purpose; it is for contemplating the gospel and the works of Christ. Biblical imperatives are a fruit catalog of things we can’t do, and are in the Bible to evoke thankfulness to Christ for obeying the imperatives for us. The result of this Gospel Contemplationism is what they call, “new obedience,” or what Piper calls, “Beholding as a way of becoming.” If you read the Forward to Uneclipsing The Son by Rick Holland, you will also find out that John MacArthur Jr. has bought into this nonsense. The secondary use of the Scriptures is for controlling the totally depraved zombie sheep and church polity.

Of course, they are not going to say it plainly, but this all boils down to the idea that we are resaved every day. Their motto is, “The same gospel that saved us also sanctifies us.” It’s a progressive justification. They call it “progressive sanctification,” but that’s deception. Likewise, New Calvinist Paul David Tripp teaches that Romans 7:24 refers to a “daily rescue” (Paul David Tripp: Playing With The Box; Southeastern Theological Seminary chapel service, Spring 2007). Couple that with the New Calvinist maxim, “We need the gospel just as much today as when we got saved,” and the kind of “rescue” they are talking about is apparent.

And this is also exactly what Mohler means in the promo clip when he said we are “rescued by the Scriptures.”


3 Responses

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  1. Lin said, on May 27, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    “Mohler refers to us being continually “rescued” by the Scriptures”

    There are a few reasons for this theme. First, they get to “interpret” the scriptures for us because they have special understanding of them. And Secondly, they get to be the Holy Spirit for people when they do that. Therefore, you need them.

    Makes you wonder what people did back when it was a crime to read the scriptures unless you were one of the chosen priests by the state church who were allowed to tell you what the scriptures said.


    • pauldohse said, on May 27, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      Lin, What you say here has merit because when justification and sanctification are fused together, making our way through sanctification becomes a minefield because everything we do in sanctification relates back to justification. Hence, “Don’t try sanctification at home.” We need the enlightened ones to guide us in not making “sanctification the ground of our justification.” Piper as much states it outright, saying that we must participate in the “links” of the “golden chain of salvation” correctly.

      > —–Original Message—– >


  2. JeffB said, on May 30, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    While I do think that reminding ourselves of what God has done for us is probably the strongest motivating factor for good works, and shouldn’t be taken for granted anyway, this systematizing of it by Piper et al. can only lead to bondage, it seems to me. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    It reminds me of the “Exchanged Life” program of Grace Ministries. It takes Biblical doctrine and makes it a system whereby one constantly has to check oneself to see if one is “in the Spirit” before attempting any godly action. This new one requires a “joy” self-check, which pretty much is the same thing. It leads to a technique, which results in self-contemplation, not gospel contemplation.


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