Part of what I hope this blog will be is a resource to help the people in our congregations know where they can find good, biblical content to read, listen to, etc…. I realize that my Friday column, Conversations, essentially serves this purpose, but I wanted to spend a bit more time on Al Mohler’s The Briefing than I would likely have space on a random Friday. Thus far, I have resisted posting his podcast episodes in that format, partially because they tend to be very rooted in the public event of the moment, and partially because I could quite honestly post episodes from The Briefing every week if I were not to restrain myself. With five episodes being released every week, and with the episodes maintaining a staggeringly high level of quality despite that volume, there is virtually always an episode of The Briefing which could (and should) be pointed to as encapsulating a biblically robust, evangelical approach to the issues of the day.
So, to spoil my eventual evaluation here, you should absolutely be listening to The Briefing. Al Mohler is one of the strongest, most credible, most thoughtful voices in our community, and listening in is a healthy antidote to both the liberal outlets which dominate our media landscape at the moment, as well as the angry, ranting, reactionary pundits which drive so much of the conservative media agenda.
The podcast itself is a relatively short affair, usually coming in short of half-an-hour, which discusses various news items and current events from a distinctly Christian perspective. Mohler continually uses the word “worldview” to encapsulate this focus on a Christian perspective, and that worldview is asserted forcefully and unapologetically throughout all of the analysis which he undertakes. Many who claim to speak from a “Christian” perspective do not actually mean that their perspective is legitimately Christian. They mean that it is politically and socially conservative. While Mohler is absolutely politically and socially conservative, he makes it absolutely clear that the hopes of the church do not rest upon political or social agendas, but upon the advance of the gospel.
The short length of the podcast really does make it perfect to simply pick up on a trip into work in the morning. In all sincerity, if listening to podcasts isn’t part of your regular schedule, inserting The Briefing doesn’t require a huge committment. On top of that, the regularity with which it comes out give you a chance to fall into a nice rhythm. If you take the time to listen to the news, you really need to take the time to get a distinctively Christian perspective on that news to anchor your thoughts.
As far as Al Mohler himself, you’ve likely heard of his name if you spend much time knocking around the internet at all, but he is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a very prominent figure within the same denomination. On a personal note, I increasingly find myself looking to figures within the SBC, such as Al Mohler, Russell Moore, and others, for compelling social commentary. In a sense, I think that the socially-facing attitude of the SBC has much kinship with the same issues in the BPC, while many of our closer denominational brethren (such as the OPC, or PCA) tend to be much more inward-facing. If you are a staunch presbyterian, who might view the orthodoxy of baptists with a degree of suspicion, I would encourage you to engage very seriously with much of the strong Reformed thought flowing out of the SBC and other conservative, Reformed baptist denominations. At the very least, they are co-belligerents in the modern social upheaval which we all deal with, but I firmly believe they are more. Increasingly, they are the thought-leaders of an outward-facing, biblically robust, socially concerned brand of evangelicalism which is, in many ways, the proper heir to the fundamentalist movement which birthed the BPC. We should be listening.
If you want to hop into the conversation, I strongly recommend this Monday’s episode as a perfect example of Mohler’s compelling analysis as applied to the recent presidential debates.