An address delivered at Brigham Young University by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on Monday, October 21, 2013.
I deeply appreciate your invitation to speak at Brigham Young University and to address the faculty at this greatly respected center of learning. I am so glad to be on this campus, filled with so many gracious people, such admirable students, and so many committed scholars on the faculty. To many people, shaped in their worldview by the modern age and its constant mandate to accommodate, it will seem very odd that a Baptist theologian and seminary president would be invited to speak at the central institution of intellectual life among the Latter-Day Saints.
But here I am, and I am thankful for the invitation. The wonderfully prophetic Catholic novelist Flannery O’Connor rightly warned that we must “push back against the age as hard as it is pressing you.” I have come to Brigham Young University because I intend with you to push back against the modernist notion that only the accommodated can converse. There are those who sincerely believe that meaningful and respectful conversation can take place only among those who believe the least—that only those who believe the least and thus may disagree the least can engage one another in the kind of conversation that matters. I reject that notion, and I reject it forcefully. To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, that is the kind of idea that must not be cast aside lightly, but thrown with full force.