Mohler, on ‘O’Reilly Factor,’ discusses Islam, demonic power

Communications Staff — March 20, 2006

Defending recent statements by evangelists Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson regarding Islam, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said on FOX News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” that ideologies which keep people from coming to faith in Christ are manifestations of demonic power.

“In the case of the two statements … from Dr. Graham and Pat Robertson, they were speaking a deeply held Christian truth there that Christians have believed for 2,000 years,” Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said March 17. “[A]ny belief system that keeps persons from coming to Christ we would see as a manifestation of a demonic power.”

Mohler was responding to comments made by Robertson on his “700 Club” television program March 13 and by Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, on ABC News’ “Nightline” March 15.

“These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now,” Robertson said of radical Muslims. “It is satanic, and it’s time we recognize what we’re dealing with.”

Graham said of Islam, “If people think Islam is such a wonderful religion, just go to Saudi Arabia and make it your home. Just live there. If you think Islam is such a wonderful religion, I mean, go and live under the Taliban somewhere.”

Mohler argued that both men spoke truth but noted that he has disagreed publicly with Robertson on previous occasions. Mohler added that Robertson and Graham likely were calling the Islamic belief system demonic and not speaking of particular Islamic people.

“Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson in this case spoke the truth as Christian believers,” Mohler said. “And as Christian truth tellers that’s their responsibility. And both of them are men of compassion.”

Mohler added that any belief system opposing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is powered by demonic forces.

“I would have to say that as a Christian that I believe that any belief system, any worldview, whether it’s Zen Buddhism or Hinduism or dialectical materialism for that matter, Marxism, that keeps persons captive and keeps them from coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ … is a demonstration of satanic power.”

Host Bill O’Reilly granted that Christians have a right to speak their beliefs but argued against Mohler, saying that criticizing Islam hurts America’s effort to win the war on terror.

“I know what you’re saying,” O’Reilly said. “I don’t mind you spreading your belief system, but I don’t think you should be condemning the beliefs of others, particularly in a war on terror.”

Mohler responded that Christians should always speak kindly but added that etiquette must never be placed above truth.

“There’s a point to be made there about how we should learn to speak in a way that follows some kind of etiquette,” Mohler said. “But at the bottom line, etiquette has to give way to truth.”

When questioned whether he would tell “peace-loving Hindus” their religion is demonic, Mohler responded by referencing the Apostle Paul’s writings in Scripture.

“That’s an historic Christian position, just understanding like the Apostle Paul that the spirit of this age is blinding persons from understanding the Gospel,” he said.

O’Reilly asked Mohler whether he could point to one example of Jesus telling a Jew that Judaism was demonic.

Mohler acknowledged that Jesus never called Judaism demonic and pointed out that Jesus was a Jew Himself. But Mohler added that Jesus did refer to people speaking for the devil.

“[Jesus] certainly never called Judaism — He was Himself a Jew — a demonic religion,” Mohler said. “He did speak of persons, however, being under demonic possession and speaking on behalf of the devil rather than on behalf of His Father.”

O’Reilly concluded by arguing that Robertson and Graham are “exacerbating a war on terror” and hurting America.

Mohler, who chaired Billy Graham’s Louisville Crusade in 2001, countered that one of the reasons both men are admirable is that their alliance lies with the Gospel more than it does with any country.

“I think that both Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham care deeply about this country,” Mohler said. “But I honestly believe that one of the reasons I admire them is that they think even more of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

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