Al Mohler, Jr. on Pragmatism

“The problem in evangelicalism as an “-ism” of which Southern Baptist are an example, sometimes an egregious example, is the threat of pragmatism. If it works we go for it. If it attracts people we throw ourselves into it. Often, if not always, genuinely for the cause of wanting to reach people with the gospel. The question is once we’ve reached them, is it with the gospel? I find myself in a place of wanting to be very careful and not take cheap shots because its very easy to say ‘I don’t have any pragmatic considerations.’ But of course we do. I mean we have to have pragmatic considerations. After all we are meeting in a building. It is well lit, good acoustics. There are certain pragmatic issues to which we appropriately give attention. The question is, is it a pragmatic issue or means that distorts the gospel, that compromises Biblical truth? Obviously having a building and a sound system and lighting does not. But there are some evangelistic techniques, some programs, some understandings of what the church is all about that just doesn’t have anything to do with the Scriptural understanding of the church or the Biblical gospel. I want to be real careful because I hear some people speak about how unpragmatic they are. When that really isn’t the issue. You know we print nice periodicals. And we want them to be graphically appealing. That’s a means. Even the periodical itself. We use the internet. There are pragmatic considerations. The question is, is it a matter of methodology that does not violate the gospel, but is consistent with the proclamation of the gospel? Or just something requires a compromise? And the pragmatism of which the brother speaks is often a pragmatism that just violates the gospel. It violates true worship. It violates authentic evangelism. It threatens to violate the gospel itself. Usually not by what it states, but what it fails to state or proclaim.”

Al Mohler during a question an answer time following his address “Courage in Christian Ministry” at the Desiring God National Conference

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