Albert Mohler is a Social Justice Warrior, make no mistake about it. His snapping at Phil Johnson at the ill-advised ShepCon Q&A included the caveat that who he “platforms” speaks for his positions. If that’s the case, then Albert Mohler is one of the most radical Social Justice Warriors in evangelicalism, doing a 180-degree turn from his 2014 debate with Jim Wallis on the subject.
However, after a disastrous Q&A at a Ligonier event in which Ligon Duncan endorsed the work of a gay Anglican priest, reports are circulating that Ligonier has done some soul-searching regarding how much they want to be affiliated with the biggest social justice advocates out there, with Duncan and Mohler included. According to reports today, this soul-searching has led to a severing of the official relationship between Albert Mohler and Ligonier.
Ligonier, founded by the late R.C. Sproul and headquartered in Orlando, Florida, has been torn on the issue of Social Justice. The traditionally conservative and Gospel-centered organization is called Ligonier because it was founded in Ligonier Valley, Pennsylvania in 1971 and it publishes the popular Table Talk Magazine, which is edited by Burk Parsons. Its primary teaching fellows include Sinclair Ferguson, Steve Lawson, Steven Nichols, Albert Mohler and Burk Parsons.
Jon Harris, a former SEBTS student who opposes social justice and maintains a social media presence resisting the movement, posted on Twitter that Mohler and Duncan have been removed as teaching fellows by Ligonier due to their position on Social Justice.
Harris writes, “Lines are being drawn. Both Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan were just dismissed as teaching fellows at Ligonier for perceived compromise on SJ.”
P&P sought confirmation of Harris’ claim and determined that although Ligonier has used Duncan for lectures in the past, he was not a teaching fellow as alleged. In fact, there had been ‘bad blood’ between the Sproul family and the Duncan family up and until the time of Sproul’s passing.
P&P spoke to two sources familiar with the matter, including one associated closely with Ligonier. They did confirm that Mohler had been dismissed as a teaching fellow, but that he would continue to speak at (at least) two forthcoming events for which he was already scheduled to speak. They also confirmed that they would not be looking at Duncan for speaking engagements in the future.
Our sources indicate that Mohler’s social justice position was indeed a part of that decision, but not the only reason for the decision. There were also Ligonier donors who felt that the Baptist theologian was trying to take over Ligonier, which – like Sproul – is Presbyterian, or at the very least, that it was unhealthy for Mohler to play such a prominent role in the organization which only seemed to be growing since Sproul’s death.
So, in other words, the decision to dismiss Mohler was multi-faceted but did include his position on Social Justice which was at odds with many at Ligonier and with the widow of R.C., Vesta Sproul, who signed The Dallas Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel.
This may be the first time that an evangelical organization drew a line at Social Justice and a pro-SJW suffered a consequence for their position (Shepherds’ Conference sources indicate that Mohler and Duncan will not be back, but said that it would not be publicly stated that it was due to their Social Justice position).
Our Ligonier sources warned that it may take time to see Mohler’s name removed from the website, and probably won’t happen until his scheduled speaking engagements are over. They also continued to stress that it was Mohler’s influence in the institution, as well as his position on Social Justice, that led to the decision and that the final call was ‘multi-faceted.’