LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–The Bible is a book for all people because it alone contains the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, R. Albert Mohler Jr. told viewers of the PBS television program “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” Dec. 26.
The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary appeared on the show to discuss the relevance of the Bible in the modern age. Interviewer Ray Suarez also asked Mohler several questions related to Mohler’s upcoming book “Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues With Timeless Truth.” Mohler’s first full-length book, published by Multnomah, is due for release Jan. 15.
“I believe the Bible is the Word that leads us to the Gospel that saves, and I believe it is the only Gospel that saves,” Mohler told Suarez.
“I believe that the word that all human beings need to hear is that they are sinners and that they are desperately in need of a savior and that savior is Jesus Christ. I believe that the Bible is the only book, the only revelation that is going to get persons to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“The apostle Paul said that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. We find that in the Bible and that is why the Bible is so central to the lives of Christians and so central to our communication and witness of the Gospel to other peoples as well.”
In “Culture Shift,” Mohler critiques relativism and contends for the existence of absolute truth. Relativism denies the existence of objective truth. Suarez asked Mohler why Jesus often seemed to teach in a way that was ambiguous and somewhat relativistic.
Mohler said a proper understanding of the Bible reveals that Jesus, even when He taught in parables and aphorisms, was not speaking ambiguously, but was proclaiming objective truths about human sinfulness, His own deity and salvation through His death and resurrection.
“Jesus often did speak in terms of aphorisms and parables, and it certainly takes a great deal of responsible and intellectual work to try sometimes to know exactly how to apply the teachings of Jesus to a concrete situation,” Mohler said.
“But in the most important thing Jesus spoke very clearly, very straight-forwardly concerning Himself, His identity, His purpose, concerning human sin and the fact that He had come to save sinners and of His death on the cross. So in all those things He spoke very, very specifically, very straight-forwardly.”
Though much of the Bible is clear, Mohler said that the proper application of its truths requires careful thought and rigorous study. For example, Christians are called to engage the marketplace of ideas and the political world with biblical truth, but must do so with utmost thought and care, Mohler said.
“I will acknowledge when it comes to many issues of public policy, taking the words of Jesus on economics or justice [for example], these require a great deal of thought,” Mohler said.
“Nonetheless, I don’t think Jesus was intending to be ambiguous; I think He was intending for His disciples to have to wrestle with some of these issues in a responsible way.”
Through his new book, Mohler said he is hoping to encourage Christians faithfully to apply God’s Word to every area of their lives.
“I am speaking to Christians who feel an obligation to the Bible as the Word of God, who understand that this is how God has spoken to us, that the one true and living God has informed us concerning Himself and all things needful for our lives in the Bible,” he said.
“I assume first of all that Bible is, as it declares itself to be, living and active — it is not a dead word. I believe the preacher’s responsibility first of all is to give the church this Word, to inform Christians of this Word, to teach and to preach this Word.
“I think we do have a public responsibility. That’s why I write and speak in public; that’s why I speak in the media and elsewhere — in order to say that this is a Word not only for Christians, but it is also a message for all people.”
Jeff Robinson is a writer for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The complete NewsHour interview with Mohler is available in audio format at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/religion/july-dec07/bible_12-26.html