Suspicions abound. The questions perhaps even more. What I am referring to is the faith of President Barrack Obama: Is he a Muslim, or what?
Though I did not vote for him, I was pleasantly intrigued during the 2008 campaign when Obama, speaking with Rick Warren at a forum at Saddleback Church, gave a testimony of personal faith that was both clear and substantive. He certainly was more on target than anything John McCain offered about his own faith. But the skeptics still wouldn’t buy it.
I’ll have to admit, some of Obama’s policies give me reason to question, if not the veracity, the consistency and substance of his faith. But then again, my own sin and short-comings may sometimes give people I encounter reason to wonder about my faith.
Then in a speech yesterday, for the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama gave us another glimpse of his personal faith. CNN provides the video: Obama’s Faith.
Many people I know were moved by his words. But as I’ve listened to the speech a few times, I am still not sure what it reveals. It seemed genuine, and it was certainly Biblical – far more Biblically faithful than anything I’ve heard Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity utter. Shoot, he was more Biblical than Joel Osteen. But some questions remain. There was still something missing.
My intent is not to knock Mr. Obama, nor his moving, heartfelt testimony. The fact is what was missing from his message is often missing from many pulpits. There was a lot of religion, moralism, and Bible quotes, but there was no Christ. It was a vivid example of what Michael Horton refers to as Christless Christianity.
Christ-less Christianity expresses the morals and mandates from the Bible, but makes no mention of Jesus. He may be assumed or he may be ignored, I don’t know. And most who express this probably believe in Jesus. But he is absent from the conversation; never mentioned, invoked, or referred to.
The problem with Christ-less Christianity is that, at least rhetorically, it cuts the heart out of the Christian faith. It makes Christianity to be like all other religions – merely moralistic. Jesus Christ is the heart of Christianity – particularly what he accomplished on the Cross and by his Resurrection. It is by this work of Christ that the Believer is forgiven of sin, adopted by God, declared righteous, and destined for Heaven – if these benefits are appropriated through faith.
I don’t know the “reality” of Obama’s faith. I will likely never know. I never met the guy, and never expect to meet him. I am not suggesting he is not a Christian. I was pleased by what he did say. But I am reminded by what he did not say – what many do not say – that we can never deny nor simply assume Christ if we are trying to testify about the Christian faith.
As Paul declared:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. – Colossians 1.15-20