R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (born 1960) is a conservative Baptist evangelical. He presently serves as the ninth President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been a member of the board of James Dobson's Focus on the Family since August, 2004. He is married to the former Mary Kahler and they have two children.
Early Life and EducationEdit
Mohler is a native of Lakeland in central Florida. As a child he attended Lake Yale, a Florida Baptist campground. During his Lakeland years he attended Southside Baptist Church.
Mohler attended college at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida as a Faculty Scholar. He then received a B. A. from Samford University, a private, coeducational Baptist-affiliated college in Birmingham, Alabama. His graduate degrees, a Master of Divinity and Ph.D. in "Systematic and Historical Theology," were conferred by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, also known as Southern Seminary.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Southern Seminary)Edit
Mohler joined the staff of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky in 1983 as Coordinator of Foundation Support. In 1987 he became Director of Capital Funding, a post he held until 1989. While still a student he served as assistant to then-President Roy Honeycutt.
In February 1993, Mohler was appointed President of the Seminary by conservatives on that institution's board of trustees, succeeding Roy Honeycutt. The seminary soon saw a wholesale shift towards conservative theology (characterised by Mohler as a move toward "confessional fidelity") and a rapid exodus (both voluntary and compulsory) of more than 60 percent of the faculty.
Other conservative Baptist leaders were elated at the movement: Paige Patterson, another Southern Baptist seminary president, said Mohler's leadership will mean that they recover their evangelical emphasis there and that Mohler's Presidency meant that the worst of the problems were over: Al Mohler," he said, "has the brains of Erasmus and the courage of Luther.
The "Conservative Resurgence"Edit
Mohler was also instrumental in the mid-1990's restructuring of the Southern Baptist Convention, which saw the Convention shift from a mixture of moderate and conservative voices to a solidly conservative base.
He was involved in the drafting of the controversial 2000 revision of the Baptist Faith and Message, which added an exhortation to wives to "submit graciously" to their husbands, and removed a clause referring to Jesus Christ as the standard by which the Bible is to be interpreted.
A deadline was set for foreign missionaries to confirm their allegiance to the Baptist Faith and Message in written form. Those who did not were dismissed or resigned. Although adherance to and respect for the creed had been a matter of course historically, this marked the first time that a signed written statement of fealty was mandated in the form of an ultimatum.