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Why Is a Prominent Baptist Preacher Claiming That Mormons and Evangelicals 'May Go to Jail Together'?

"I do not believe that we are going to heaven together..."

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TheBlaze has long covered religious freedom concerns and the coalescing of divergent faiths following furor over President Barack Obama's controversial contraception mandate. Since the debate first erupted, Protestants, Catholics and Mormons -- faith cohorts with very different theological views -- have been speaking more intensely about the preservation of personal religious liberty.

Evidence of this ongoing dynamic was on full display Monday when R. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke at Brigham Young University, a Mormon college in Provo, Utah, according to Deseret News. While he openly admitted that Mormons and evangelicals disagree on many things, he warned that they "may go to jail together."

R. Albert Mohler (Photo Credit: R. Albert Mohler)

During his address titled "A Clear and Present Danger: Religious Liberty, Marriage, and the Family in the Late Modern Age," Mohler said that, despite profound differences, Mormons and evangelicals should be working toward common goals -- mainly "unprecedented and ominous" attacks on freedom of religious expression.

"I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together," Mohler told an audience of nearly 400 students and faculty. "I do not mean to exaggerate, but we are living in the shadow of a great moral revolution that we commonly believe will have grave and devastating human consequences."

In making this statement, Mohler was clearly referring to the notion that, despite disagreeing on theological grounds, people of divergent faiths who are willing to stand up for their beliefs could end up facing the same consequences.

Before making his claim about heaven, Mohler outlined the central theological differences that he believes separate evangelicals and Mormons:

"I am not here because I believe we are going to heaven together. I do not believe that. I believe that salvation comes only to those who believe and trust only in Christ and in his substitutionary atonement for salvation. I believe in justification by faith alone, in Christ alone. I love and respect you as friends, and as friends we would speak only what we believe to be true, especially on matters of eternal significance. We inhabit separate and irreconcilable theological worlds, made clear with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity. And yet here I am, and gladly so. We will speak to one another of what we most sincerely believe to be true, precisely because we love and respect one another."

While he made his stance on salvation known, Mohler told the crowd that his main goal is for the faiths to come together to support one another amid changing cultural and governmental tides.

The faith leader decried the legal handling of a variety of issues, including traditional marriage, contraception and the family, Deseret News reports. And he highlighted the similarities that evangelicals and Mormons have in their reverence for liberty, family, marriage and children.

R. Albert Mohler (Photo Credit: R. Albert Mohler)

Nearing his conclusion, Mohler said that he stands "unashamed" with Mormons in the battle over "common concerns and urgencies," and said he was honored by the invitation he received to address the audience at BYU.

"I come in the hope of much further conversations, conversations about urgencies both temporal and eternal," Mohler said. "I am urgently ready to speak and act in your defense against threats to your religious liberty, even as you have shown equal readiness to speak and act in defense of mine."

This won't be the preacher's only visit to BYU. On Feb. 25, he is scheduled to return for a nationally-televised address.

He is following in the footsteps of other evangelical leaders like Southern Evangelical Seminary President Richard Land and George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, who have also visited the campus in an effort to bridge divides that have commonly existed between Mormons and evangelicals.

Read more about the speech and see the entire transcript.

(H/T: Deseret News)

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