This week, Mere-O unveiled its interview with Mark Tooley. As with the rest of our content, we hope that you found Tooley’s responses insightful and encouraging. In most settings, interviews often raise more questions than they answer. We hope our time with Mark Tooley has been no different.

To re-cap, you can find the interviews here:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Mere-O has intended to carve out its place in the evangelical blogosphere with an unashamed conservatism; not a dry conservatism beholden to dead traditionalism, but a conservatism beholden to the traditions which have made Christianity and the country it inhabits both landmark successes. For this reason, we saw Mark Tooley as an important figure in our campaign. He’s reasonable, articulate, and a passionate defender for the cultural successes birthed from Christianity and its ethical and political witness. In a day where evangelicals flirt with every type of cultural and political nonsense, we think it more progressive to highlight the individuals and ideas  that are instructive rather than provocatively destructive to our cultural milieu. As C.S. Lewis famous said, “Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” So, in the spirit of C.S. Lewis, we’re happy to label Mark Tooley a progressive (much to his frustration, I’m sure).


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Posted by Andrew Walker

Andrew T. Walker is an Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


  1. Dear Mr. Walker,

    I regularly read this blog. Your rhetoric is consistently stentorian, inelegant, and imprecise. It is occasionally scornful. Modulation is recommended, for the sake of the campaign.

    A Friend


    1. Dear Friend,

      I’m just thankful that I can elicit some kind of a response from an individual who uses words like “Stentorian.” As a bleeding heart Midwesterner, we call those “$5 words.” I’m impressed.



  2. A different friend March 18, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Mark Tooley’s name is synonymous with ad hominem attacks on brother and sister Christians. I mean this literally: I have heard friends speak of being “Tooleyed.” He is virtually none of the kind things you say about him, and it’s a shame to see him lifted up on this page. His contribution to public discourse is unfailingly mean-spirited, imprecise, and uncharitable. He routinely infuses political disagreement with overt personal malice, employing insinuation as a primary rhetorical tactic (refer to his response to your question about Jim Wallis for exhibit A). His positions are identifiable as hard-line, Cold War-era political conservatism with a polyurethane Christian gloss — in short, not the conservatism I associate with Mere Orthodoxy/Matt Anderson.

    And, lest I be accused of “Tooleying” Mark Tooley, let me note that I am commenting on the character of his contribution to public discourse — not making assumptions or insinuations about some nefarious personal rationale for why he is who he is and does what he does.


    1. Susanne Johnson March 29, 2011 at 12:06 am

      First, in order to “locate” myself, I must say that I have theological complaints against people on both the extreme left as well as the extreme right. “A Different Friend”–I must say that your comments about being “Tooleyed” are exactly on target. I consider myself a born-again evangelical who’s willing to debate all sides of a theological issue, but Tooley isn’t. He’s as narrow and mean-spirited as you charge, and I find no redemptive qualities in his thought. Yes, traditional liberalism needs critique, reconstruction, and regrounding–but Tooley is no help in this regard. He’s a retrograde distraction away from the true task of the redemptive, transformational ministry and witness the world so desperately needs today. Let’s hang in there together, in the spirit of Christ.


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