Mohler begins by outlining a process to determine priorities in theological debate. First order beliefs cannot be compromised at all, and distinguish orthodox Christians from others. Second order convictions keep believers from full cooperation, but not from communion in Christ. Third order beliefs exist within single congregations. Mohler will focus in this book on first order beliefs and issues related to them. These include: Assurance of salvation and the doctrine of perseverance; the necessity of faith in God for true virtue; the fact, nature, and ultimate seriousness of sin; hell and eternal punishment for unrepentant sinners; a Christian view of beauty; the need to insist on a core of truths which define orthodoxy, and therefore the fundamental weakness of the Emerging Church; the sovereignty of God (vs. the so-called “openness of God”); the necessity of church discipline; the existence of absolute truth given by revelation from God, and our access to it through the Scriptures; the nature of marriage as the union of one man and one woman; the necessity of faith in Christ for eternal salvation, and thus of evangelism and missions; and the urgent need for expository (as distinct from “needs-based”) preaching.
As always, Mohler writes clearly, calmly, and convincingly. He is aware of other points of view; indeed, his whole book is an exercise in examining opinions which differ from his own, which happen also to be bedrock convictions of Christians throughout the centuries. He has read widely, has tried to understand what others are saying, and has framed his critique of postmodern departures from biblical truth within the ranks of professing Christians, including evangelicals, without rancor or cant. He covers a great deal of territory in a very short space, but without being trivial or trite.
This is the work of a careful scholar who knows how to communicate difficult and complex things to ordinary people. For a brief and yet comprehensive introduction to the major threats to Christianity today, it would be hard to find a better book than The Disappearance of God.