Published by Thomas Nelson on June 2, 2020
Genres: Non-Fiction, Theology
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The president of Southern Seminary reveals how secularism has infiltrated every aspect of society and how Christians, equipped with the gospel of Jesus Christ, can meet it head on with hope, confidence, and steadfast conviction.
A storm is coming. Western civilization and the Christian church stand at a moment of great danger. The storm is a battle of ideas that will determine the future of Western civilization and the soul of the Christian church. The forces we must fight are ideologies, policies, and worldviews that are deeply established among intellectual elites, the political class, and our schools. More menacingly, these ideas have also invaded the Christian church.
From threats to religious liberty and redefinitions of marriage and family to attacks on the sacredness and dignity of human life, the perils faced by the West and the church are unprecedented. How should Christians respond to this challenge? The Gathering Storm provides the answer, addressing each dimension of culture and showing Christians how to give an answer for the hope that is within them and how to contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints.
In The Gathering Storm, R. Albert Mohler Jr attempts to expose the “storms” raging between secularism and Western Christianity, ultimately though Mohler can’t help but end by telling you exactly who you should vote for so as to weather this storm in the upcoming election. As his closing appendix states we are in a position where we must either vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 election (for the Supreme Court seats of course) or face, what he refers to in his chapter dealing with the breakdown of the nuclear family, “the end of human civilization as we know it.” For Mohler secularism is working to destroy both The West and Christianity as we know it and it is only through a return to biblical Christianity (Christianity that holds to an inspired, inerrant, authoritative understanding of the Bible) that this storm can be kept at bay.
There are several problems with Mohler’s work, for one he never bothers defining any of the terms he uses and will often interchange them. The first storm deals entirely with the attack on The West and when he speaks about this he does so as though the West is an inseparable feature of Christianity, nevermind the entire presence of Eastern or Latin American expressions of Christianity; these, it seems are unimportant. Also strange is that Mohler can’t seem to help but combine liberal ideology with the ideology of The Left, something that comes across as both intellectually dishonest and academically unsound; which is strange and unbecoming as Mohler is the president of a seminary, and for someone described in the bio as the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement,” one might think he’d at least make an effort towards accuracy.
Another issue is that Mohler spends little time defining what exactly is so good about the ideologies he champions. If, for instance, heteronormative relationships, marriage, and sex is so good, as Mohler claims, then why does the mere possibility of same sex marriage threaten it so much? The same holds true for each of Mohler’s championed ideologies, if these worldviews are so good then why should the mere presence of other possibilities threaten them? Is it that these ideologies aren’t actually as materially beneficial as the alternatives and so they must be fought for lest people pursue something which might actually be better? Mohler, it seems, has little time to invest in these philosophical questions.
What is perhaps most problematic is tone. Mohler comes across as defensive and angry throughout the entire book, which is strange considering it was published in 2020. It feels more suited to Obama’s America than Trump’s and reading it one might never realize that the candidate Mohler ends up advocating for has been president for the last four years. What is evident is that this book was written for an election year. It is a book meant to champion a specific worldview while disparaging all others.
Unfortunately for Mohler we already have a name for that: Propaganda.
And propaganda is not theology.