by Rod D. Martin
May 20, 2012

Speaking at this year’s Together for the Gospel (T4G), the ever brilliant Al Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, challenged his audience, saying, “we must be willing to die for words.”

Well said. Very well said.

And yet.

The most common persecutor of the church is not a mob but the state. And the state rarely prohibits the Gospel outright, but rather tries to shape it to its own service.

Three obvious areas in which this is true in North America:

1. The issue of same-sex marriage, which is not about civil rights but rather about intolerance of and bigotry against religion (and note: when even a comparative handful of churches preached on this in 2003, Americans reversed from 2-1 for to 2-1 against in just six months: pulpits are powerful when they are not asleep).

2. The ongoing issue of life, increasingly attacked by the left at both ends and in between.  And,

3. The so-called “contraception mandate”, which is no such thing, but rather a legal Trojan Horse: by the logic of the mandate, the state could also require pastors to redact Romans 1, or any other teaching against homosexuality (as is now largely the case in Canada), could further require them to marry a gay couple, and ten minutes later could require them to hire that couple to serve in their church’s pulpit. The “mandate” is an obliteration of the First Amendment by the pure fiat of the Executive, something about which no church can afford to be anything but hysterical, and about which in fact few non-Catholic churches have done more than yawn.

All of this leads us to the uncomfortable but inescapable fact that certain candidates and officeholders espouse these evils and worse quite openly, and our pulpits say nothing, leaving far too many in the Evangelical flock in the dark and voting for abject wickedness (not to mention their own destruction).

I note these things because, while I certainly have no wish to “politicize the pulpit” per se, I also agree with the Black-Robed Regiment of old that our pulpits are to speak to all of life, and not some narrow, truncated portion of it; and I would further contend that if “we have to be willing to die for words,” but we are not even willing to risk that oh-so-fatal threat of (gasp!) paying taxes on our churches’ incomes to stand against our being taken over and silenced, then we are kidding ourselves about what we actually believe, much less what we are willing to do for that belief.

This is not an accusation aimed at anyone in particular, least of all the great Al Mohler. It is just a call to rethink where we are, and how much we need to call our fellow leaders to rethink.


Rod D. Martin is a leading futurist, technology entrepreneur, author and activist from Destin, Florida. He was part of PayPal’s pre-IPO startup team, serving as special counsel to founder and CEO Peter Thiel, and also served as policy director to former Governor Mike Huckabee. He is Founder and CEO of The Martin Organization, whose portfolio of companies includes Galectin Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GALT), Advanced Search Laboratories, Proxomo Software, Agincourt Ventures and the 10 X Fund.  His charitable and church work is central to all he does, and he further engages our culture as President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA), as founder of The Vanguard Project, as a widely sought-after speaker and as author of such books as his forthcoming The Imperative of Excellence.