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Author: Casey Shutt

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  • Brent

    Casey,

    I was watching this the other day and was visually amazed by his library. I have heard that Dr. Mohler reads around a book a day. Spurgeon was said to have read around 6 books a week, which would explain their large libraries. Here are some questions I had as a result of this video and having read about Spurgeon. First, is everyone else just lazy or are these guys, and other like them, just gifted by God in a very unique way – to be able to sleep little and read a lot? Second, is Mohler’s library excessive? I know you asked a similar question about Dallas First. I have my own ideas about both questions, but just wondered.

  • I think w/o a doubt these guys (Mohler, Spurgeon, and I would add Piper and J. Edwards into the same “no middle gears” category) are uniquely gifted. And we’d do well to realize that so that each of us can “play our game” (as a seminary prof of mine regularly said). Personally, if I tried to sleep 4 hours a day, I’d probably die in a week. I am not made that way. Second question: Is Mohler’s library excessive? It could be. Think of it this way: if we went to a neighbor’s back yard shed and found an immaculate and extensive set of yard equipment (multiple mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, rakes, shovels, etc. and all of the best quality and brand), we would probably think that was excessive, especially for .25 of an acre. Yet, if we learned that the neighbor was using this equipment to care for the entire neighborhood’s yards and property our attitude would change. We would see that man as excessive in his service to neighbor (not a bad thing at all). In a similar way, Mohler is not stingy with this library but is using it as a tool for the service of the denomination and, more broadly, evangelicalism. Through books, speaking, radio, blogs, Mohler is sharing these tools with the Church. Certainly the potential is there for that library to become a god or idol (see Keller, Counterfeit Gods; also recall Mohler saying these books have a right place). I know I would be tempted to treat that kind of library as such. Also, the potential is there for us on-lookers to covet that library. Frankly, when I see a library like that I fear the responsibility that it would require (a responsibility that Mohler is doing an admirable job fulfilling in my estimation). I don’t want that library. I love books but that is too much for me. So I guess my answer is to the second question is related to the first question: Because of Mohler’s gifting and uniqueness to devour books and his excessiveness in serving neighbor with those books that library for Mohler is not excessive. For me it would be.

  • Relating it back to FBC Dallas. We are talking apples and oranges again. FBC Dallas’s excess is that they are spending much on little. Fancy buildings can draw a crowd but they do little to transform. Much of the impetus for the building seems to be outreach. But, as my youth pastor used to say, “what you win ‘em with is what you win ‘em to.” The power of learnedness to transform and edify is far greater than the power of fancy glass and a stunning building. Think of the New Testament prescription for ministry. Great weight is given to sound doctrine (see the Timothys; and the occasion for nearly every epistle—they were usually written in order to combat bad teaching or doctrine or its offshoot, bad behavior). Think of how much importance the New Testament gives to stunning architecture. I am not opposed to nice buildings that are even large. But in the FBC Dallas case, it seems that it is a bit much. And the potential for that 130 million dollar project to have the impact of Mohler’s library upon the broader evangelical fold seems little. What say you?

  • Brent

    I think that you are right as far as I can tell. God simply gives certain giftedness to some in greater measure. Each of us should be thankful for what God has wisely and perfectly distributed among the body for the praise of His glory. I was not suggesting that Dallas FBC and Mohler’s library were both apples. I was just wondering what you thought or if you had given it thought. I think sometimes we give guys we like a pass without at least asking the same questions we would of others. Whether it is about books, building, money, etc. It seems to me it is easy to say, “Well of course it isn’t excessive to have several thousand volumes in a library.” For whatever reason we might come up with and especially since pastors and PHD students like books and don’t have a lot of money. As I was thinking through it, I came to similar conclusion as you. I wasn’t disagreeing, just looking for some discussion. What we can say for sure is that it is a God-centered biblical theology that leaves the lasting legacy, not buildings or even methodologies. That is why I believe Piper, Mohler and others will in the end be the most influential pastors/theologians of our time.

  • I had not made the connection between the potential excessiveness of Mohler’s library and FBC Dallas. I am glad that you asked the question–it forced me to think. It was a great discussion starter. We’ll see if it can lure any other conversation partners.

  • You can see from Mohler’s library he is not in touch with your average American. Mohler is a rich fellow enjoying the good life of a wealthy book lover.

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