The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Friday, February 25, 2022

It’s Friday, February 25th, 2022.

I’m Albert Mohler, and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.


Part I

A New World Order?: A Dream Now Dead with Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Well it happened. Just before dawn on Thursday in Ukraine, Russian forces crossed the border, the Russian invasion as an invasion had begun. Not just an incursion, not just an annexation of territory, not just an indication of hostile action, not just the declaration of parts of Ukraine has supposedly new and independent nations. No, this was an actual invasion, an invasion like hasn’t been seen in Europe since World War II. That’s an incredible statement. There has not been a war between states, in this sense, going all the way back to World War II. Now we were told at the end of World War II, that the global picture would be a new world order. The United States was absolutely certain of that by the end of the 20th century. But early in the 21st century, it was already clear that that new world war was neither new nor world nor order. It was indeed a dream. And it was a dream that has died hard right now on the terrain of Ukraine.

We have to teach our children very early if our own family is going to be a workable civilization, we have to teach them the difference between right and wrong. We have to tell them the difference between truth and a lie. We have to make clear that breaking God’s commandments and breaking rules leads to consequences. But what we see right now is the fact that we have a world order in which some of the major players, most importantly, in this case, of course, Russia, that tells lies repeatedly. We now know that Vladimir Putin is not only a liar, but basically everything he says is either a lie or accidentally the truth. The entire hour long speech he gave just days ago, we know, is nothing more than lying by historical claims.

He lied even when the visible evidence of Russian forces amassing on the border was clear. He lies about Ukraine. He said that Ukraine basically is being ruled by a fascist government, put up by Western powers, simply not true. He has said that Ukraine has been carrying out genocide against Russian speaking peoples. And by the way, the imbecility of that is made clear by the fact that most people in Ukraine speak Russian. What he meant was people in Ukraine, speaking Russian who think fondly of Russia. And for that matter might actually want to be a part of Russia, might lament the breakup of the former Soviet Union. But all of this is a word game, or at least it was until it became a shooting war, which it now is.

But Christians though, there are many lessons of history to be learned by observing war. And one of the big lessons is that war is often caused not only by aggression, but by hubris, by pride, by overreaching. Vladimir Putin may desire to appear strong. Maybe he thinks this is a demonstration of Russian strength, but military observers by the way, were not uniformly impressed by the professionalism of the Russian forces as they began action yesterday. This doesn’t actually make Vladimir Putin look strong. It doesn’t make Russia look strong. It makes them look like what they are, a paranoid, insecure nation, a nation that has no security in its own self-identity, but only finds the demonstration of solidarity and aggression.

We’re talking about a nation led by a plutocrat who has plundered his own economy and has made himself rich. One of the richest men in the world, as president of Russia. Do the math, that’s not supposed to happen. You’re looking at a long term streak of Russian paranoia. That’s not to say all Russian people are paranoid. That’s certainly not true. It is to say that as a nation, Russia has demonstrated a paranoia for a matter of centuries.

And when it comes to the truth, we have seen the truth simply trampled upon not only by the tongue, but also by the tanks. But I was saying that Christians understand that there are many moral lessons almost immediately revealed by war, especially by this kind of aggressive war undertaken by Russia against Ukraine. We’re not talking about two nations that went to war. That’s not what happened here. We’re talking about a Russian invasion of another sovereign nation. And of course it comes with the truth that Russia’s now claiming that it never should have been a sovereign nation. But it is a sovereign nation until it falls to Russia, which now might be at least in military terms predetermined. As of last night, Russian military forces coming not only from Russia, but also from the north and from the south in Ukraine were making progress towards taking the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

And that is fully explained. When you come to understand what Vladimir Putin was saying in that hour long address when he basically said that he was not going to be satisfied until the regime, the democratically elected regime in Ukraine is gone. Toppled by a government that considers itself not only allied with but subservient to Russia. And that means to Vladimir Putin. But one of the lessons of war that Christians should look for and anticipate in this picture is the fact that when you have this kind of aggressive, invasive action, you often have a very great difficulty on the other side holding the territory without great loss of life, without an enormous political cost. Now right now it’s clear, Vladimir Putin at home thinks this will only gain him glory. But one of the lessons the Soviet Union learned during the course of the late seventies and the 1980s is that kind of military glory turns to dust very, very quickly.

And the hardest lesson whereby the Russians learned that truth was the nation of Afghanistan, which they invaded during the 1970s. But an honest assessment points to the differences between Afghanistan and Ukraine. Afghanistan is incredibly mountainous territory, very rugged terrain, very difficult for anyone to hold, which is why an Afghanistan national government is such a tenuous reality in the first place. When it comes to Ukraine, Ukraine is in so many ways not only an industrial power, but it is also the agricultural powerhouse of that portion of Europe. It’s a very different terrain. And it’s also a territory that has a rather consistent civilization going back well more than a millennium.

So we’re talking about a very different picture. We’re talking about Vladimir Putin and his army now invading Ukraine with the goal of getting to Kyiv, toppling the democratically elected government, and putting in a crony government in what will be a crony state, which will match the corruption of Vladimir Putin and his fellow oligarchs in Russia.

Part II

The Looming Long, Protracted Struggle of Ukrainian Independence — But How Long Will Western Resolve Last if Ukraine’s Struggle Creates Hardships for the Western Economies?

Here’s something else we need to watch. How long will Western united resolve last? Now, one of the things we note is that the Western nations are not planning to meet an invasion with an invasion. There’s not going to be a counter invasion. There is not going to be a D-Day coming from democratic allies in order to confront the forces of what you now have in Ukraine, much like D-Day pushed back the Nazis from occupied Europe. No, that’s not going to happen. President Biden said very early that American armed forces are not going to be a part of this action.

Ukraine wants to be a part of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but it is not a part of NATO. And you’re looking at the reality that very few European forces are likely to be on the ground any more than American forces. So long term, what’s likely to happen? For one thing, you are likely looking at a very long, very protracted struggle, not for the Russians to gain control of Kyiv and perhaps topple the government, but a very long struggle to hold that much terrain. This is a very, very big egg for the snake to try to swallow.

We’re going to discover the degree to which and the intensity with which the Ukrainians intend to fight back and a long protract had struggle for their national independence. That’s an open question, and that’s no insult to the Ukrainians. It’s simply a reality that when you have an invading and occupying force with the determination of Russia, you have to balance that with a long term strategy, which may include all kinds of efforts to try to harass the Russians, to undermine the Russians, and eventually to make the occupation of Ukraine so costly to the Russians that Russian domestic political pressure forces some kind of concessions. But that is likely to be a very long, very hard, very arduous, very deadly process.

Looking back to Western nations, we see widespread outrage, almost universal outrage. No one is suggesting that Russia is anything other than an immoral oppressor and invader. No one is taking Russia’s side. How long will that last? I asked that question because the consequences for the West are going to come very quickly. President Biden and his Administration have already warned Americans that we are likely to see the effect here first in energy costs because Ukraine and Russia are such big parts of the global energy economy. And furthermore, you have the disruptions and the shortages that have already taken place in much of Europe. Winter is still continuing. And we have no idea how long the resolve of Americans will last. If Americans find themselves paying $6, $10, $12 a gallon for gasoline. The likelihood is Americans will not put up with that for long.

The situation in much of Europe is even more tenuous because Europe is even more dependent upon of energy. And that has been imports of energy from Russia. And that includes the Nordstrom 2 project that would’ve bypassed Ukraine to bring Russian natural gas right into the nation of Germany. That would be Europe’s most populous and its richest current country in the West. As you’re looking at these questions, you need to realize what Americans pay per gallon may simply pale over against very real shortages, not to mention extreme radical prices for energy, that could shake the entire economy on both sides of the Atlantic. This comes as the American economy is already under the strain of increasing inflation. Add rapidly rising energy prices to that and it is a recipe for a serious setback to our economy. And that would mean by the way, a very, very significant challenge to the political prospects of the party in power in the White House. That would mean the Democratic Party.

And there is not only a Democratic president in the white house. The Democratic Party has been putting a lot of pressure upon its own leaders, president Biden, to try to shut down energy production and energy distribution and to try to force a shift to so-called non fossil fuels or newly innovative alternative fuels. But skyrocketing costs for energy and the shortage of energy in many markets is likely to create a very different political environment.

Now, I use those figures about gasoline to get your attention because it is actually unlikely at this point that the disruption in the global energy economy will bring that kind of inflation of energy prices to the United States. I really don’t think we’re likely to be looking at $10 or $15 a gallon for gasoline. But the picture in Europe will be exactly that. The energy costs there not only for gasoline, but for other forms of energy needed to heat homes and run industries and all the rest. It is likely to become a very urgent political issue.

Part III

The Dark and Harsh Realities of a Life in a Fallen World: The New Vladimir the Terrible Makes His Monstrosity Clear

I’ve given a lot of attention to the historical background here but there are a couple of interesting things we just need to think about for a moment. For one thing, what we have right now is Vladimir Putin, who rightly now should be seen as Vladimir the Terrible, thinking back to the 16th century and the Russian leader who actually is known in history as Ivan the Terrible, this tells you something about how Russians see their history glory in some of these emperors and czars who led in conquest and also with brutality and ruthlessness. Vladimir Putin is clearly identifying himself as the new Vladimir the Terrible. That’s likely to create a groundswell support for him in Russia, especially given the that he used as a pretext for invading Ukraine. But it’s very interesting to ask ourselves the question and it’s going to be very interesting to watch in order to see just how long the Russians are glad to have Vladimir the Terrible as their leader. He is already a failed leader at home.

The second thing to recognize is that the world has been here before. In the 1930s, it was Czechoslovakia. It was Hitler and Nazi Germany looking at Czechoslovakia and daring the allies to respond if he were to gain, annex, basically invade Czechoslovakia. That’s exactly what he did. And the West watched and the Allies did not go to over Czechoslovakia. Now here’s something in retrospect, we have to understand this to the European powers at the time, and also to an America observing these events, it didn’t make sense for the nations later known as the Allies in the West to go to war with Adolf Hitler over Czechoslovakia. It didn’t make sense to Americans, including Franklin Roosevelt watching from across the Atlantic, for the allies to go to war over Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia.

But it is now understood that the failure to meet force with force was a major contributing factor to the enormity of the disaster that is now known as World War II. But that really doesn’t insinuate that World War II might have been avoided only that it might have been fought on terms less favorable in the early years to Nazi Germany. It may well be that a future generation of Americans and America’s allies will be looking back second guessing how the Americans responded to or failed to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But all this does tell us that we are living in a fallen world, a world that is marked by sin, sin sometimes represented by invading armies. We live in a moral world in which we know that there are absolute standards of right and wrong. And we know that it is absolutely wrong for an aggressor nation to invade another nation. We know it’s wrong, but we are watching it happen right before our eyes. Sanctions will come, strong words will come from the west, but it is unlikely at this point that much more will come.

And there’s another lesson from human history. Those who see this kind of aggression take place have to make a continual calculation as to whether or in not it is better to draw the fight now, or to try to buy some time in order to avoid something that just might well look like World War III. Which is all the more horrific and unthinkable because you now have to add nuclear weapons to the mix. We’re going into a weekend in which there’s going to be ample coverage and many Americans have already decided that they have heard enough. There is so much talk about Ukraine. There’s only so much coverage you can watch. There is only so much concern you can extend, but if Americans feel like they are besieged right now by news store about Ukraine and Russia’s invasion, just imagine how that pales over against the experience of people made in God’s image right now living in Ukraine and facing the true onslaught of the Russian invasion.

As you tuck your children in bed tonight, be thankful that that war is not here and pray for the children and for their parents where the war is now unavoidable and all too real.

So we’ll continue to watch and we’ll continue to pray and yes we’ll continue to work.

Part IV

How Do You Respond to Those Who Argue that the Incarnation Implies that God is Not Immutable? Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

And that means that we turn to answering questions today. Questions sent in by listeners to The Briefing. I always appreciate the questions you send. Some of them theological, some of the them moral, some of them social, all of them interesting.

Ian wrote in to ask a question, talking about a conversation with an atheist. And Ian says that he didn’t feel like he knew exactly what to say when the atheist said that God is not unchangeable if Jesus Christ was the second person of the Trinity and he assumed human flesh. The argument here is that change came into the life of God.

That by the way, Ian, is actually an argument that has been made by many liberal theologians, especially in the 20th century. It was one of the arguments made by people like Jurgen Moltmann and others who came on the scene in European and in American theology, process theology, that was based upon the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead came in and actually made the argument that change is endemic to all things. Therefore, God himself must change, but let’s be clear. The Scripture says emphatically, that God does not change. That is the doctrine of the immutability of God. So how do we answer that question? How is the unchanging character of God? How’s the attribute of his immutability? How is that understood with reference to the incarnation of the sun and to the larger question of the Trinity?

Now, in one sense, the answer to this question would take centuries to answer. Don’t worry. We’re not going to take centuries today. We’re simply going to say that here is where we understand from the Scripture and from the church grappling with Scripture, that the way to rightly understand this is that Jesus was one person with two natures. He was fully divine with a fully divine nature. He was fully human with a fully human nature. And so you think of those two natures and understand they’re in one person, but they are also without confusion. There is no confusion between the divine and the human natures. And so Jesus, as God, did not change being God, any more than the Father changed any more than the Holy Spirit changed. So looking at that, in terms of the reality of what the Scripture reveals as God’s unchangeability, God did not change. In his human nature, Jesus did and does assume flesh. He is right now, even as he is seated to the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, he is embodied in his resurrection body.

And so Jesus, in terms of the fact that is divine and human natures are not confused. The reality of Jesus, the Son, and the larger doctrine of the Trinity of the Father, of the Son and the Holy Spirit does not include in any way, God changing. Ian, one last thought conversation you have with an atheist about Jesus is a great opportunity. I’m thankful you had that opportunity. I’m thankful you seized that opportunity.

Part V

Can Christians Support the American Revolution? How Should Christians Understand an Illegitimate Government? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

Then a question comes from Joseph there in the area of Missouri, he and his wife have five children. That’s a wonderful thing. He goes on to ask the question, he says, “Here’s a dilemma. How should we, as Christians view the American Revolution? While we are thankful to God for what he has done with it, would we have been able to join the grievances the Founders had in so many ways or less than we face now, and yet I see now no scriptural or spirit led reason to justify taking up arms.” Well, this is a long Christian predicament, but I do believe that Christians can openly and eager celebrate what is known as the American Revolution. And that’s for some very important reasons.

Number one, as you’re thinking about revolution in the world history, the American Revolution, wasn’t a revolution like say the Bolshevik Revolution or the French Revolution. It was not an attempt to overthrow the entire order. It was not an attempt to try to create a civilization apart, for instance, from Europe or apart from the English speaking world or apart from Britain. It was based in what was first an appeal to the king, then King George III, to act as king and to recognize his American subjects as his proper subjects. In other words, the American Revolution didn’t begin with Americans saying, “We will have no king. We don’t want a king,” but rather with Americans saying to the British king, “Would you please recognize us equally as your subjects? And would you properly exercise your rule?”

Now the colonists early on made the distinction between parliament and the king. But of course the British constitution actually means the king in parliament or the crown in parliament. And so the distinction between the king and the crown was not sustainable. And eventually it did lead to a break with Great Britain. It did lead to what’s known, not inaccurately is the Revolutionary War, but one of the things you have to explain is how that rather quickly, and here you just kind of zip through the 19th century, but in the blink of an eye in world history, Americans and Britain’s became very close allies that normally doesn’t happen in disruptive revolutionary context.

Joseph, something else to understand is that the gospel minded, biblically minded pastors in the United States actually divided over this issue as to whether or not Christians should or could openly support the American Revolution. But there is plenty of evidence that the majority of pastors believed that it was biblically justified because of the repeated appeals that had been made to the king. And by the judgment that the king had basically, in failing to respond, abdicated his throne when it came to Americans, but left his army. To underline the importance of your question, Joseph, Christians are not generally amenable and Christianity is not generally amenable to revolution in and of itself. But the American Revolution much like the Glorious Revolution that had taken place earlier in England, turned out to be, in retrospect, a rather conservative revolution. Those are rare.

Sometimes that phrase sounds like an oxymoron. The two words don’t go together, they’re understood in the course of world history more as corrections than disconnections. They are represented more as reformation than as revolutions. Nonetheless, they were revolutionary events that brought revolutionary changes and neither was accomplished without force. So you’re right to ask the big moral and biblical questions about it.

Some of these questions simply we don’t give themselves to easy non-controversial answers. Sometimes we have to come to the end of something like this, whether we’re teaching a course or just speaking for a few moments and say, “We’re still going to have to think about this more.”

Steven asks a very similar question. Indeed, it also points back to Romans 13, back to the American Revolution. The other, the thing I would want to add an answer to Steven’s aspect on this question is the fact that as you look at the American experiment in ordered liberty, it raises the question which was only really asked in the modern age. And that is, what government has legitimacy? And how do you recognize a legitimate government as compared to an un-legitimate or illegitimate government? It’s very important to recognize that the American revolutionaries as they were known in what is rightly known as the American War of Independence did not make the argument, “We will have no government, but rather we demand a legitimate government.”

Sometimes listeners send good questions that are absolutely huge questions that defy being answered in the constraints of time. For example, in today’s program, like the question what is the Christian understanding of divorce? I can’t answer that question in a responsible frame in just a matter of a couple of minutes except to make very clearly that God hates divorce, but the situation requires a longer explanation and it deserves it. And so as there is an opportunity given current events to raise that issue and to look at it more closely in days and weeks and months ahead, we will.

Part VI

How Do You Record So Early in the Morning? Do You Ever Have to Edit Bloopers? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

But I’m going to close today with a question that comes from a father writing on behalf of two girls who are nine and six and listen with their father, or with their parents, as they go to school every morning.

One of the girls asked the question, “How is Dr. Mohler able to record this so early in the morning?” Well, Sadie, it’s worse than you think. It has to be finished on my end. My part has to be finished by 3:00 AM Eastern Time. So no matter where I am in the world, it has to be finished. And it has to be sent by 3:00 Eastern Time in the United States. Now, I would be no good waking up at 1:00 Eastern Time in order to record The Briefing. And so I record it as late as I can, but before 3:00 in the morning, it depends upon where I am and under what circumstances. But I will sometimes record earlier if I have the opportunity, but that then runs the risk that events will overcome and I will be back behind a microphone at something like 2:00 in the morning, getting another edition ready for 3:00 in the morning. Those, I generally remember as bad days.

The girls ask another question saying, do you think Dr. Mohler ever has to edit out any bloomers? Oh wait, just a minute. Bloopers. Yes, girls, thank you for asking the question. And yes, I do have to edit out some bloopers. There are people under most circumstances who are listening to me as I record my wife has had to listen to many hotel rooms and even as we shared space on a barge in the middle of a river in Europe, sometimes she has been the only listener as I’m speaking right now, I have an engineer and a producer and some interns sitting with me here in the studio. And that means more ears to hear.

When I mispronounce, for example, a Hollywood actress’s name, I mess those up all the time. I’m always glad to get questions, but I particularly honor questions coming from young people.

And so girls, thank you for sending those questions and thanks for listening to The Briefing. And I extend that to all of you.

Thanks for listening.

For more information, go to my at You can call me on Twitter by going to Mohler. For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to, for information on Boyce College, just go to

I’ll meet you again on Monday for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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