Obama’s Faith

February 4, 2011

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

4 Responses to “Obama’s Faith”

  1. Katye Says:

    Interesting. I have not yet listened to the CNN video but perhaps should.

    On a different note: in no way do I think he Obama is Muslim…but for those who worry about that, I wonder why it would even really matter if he were. Last I checked, there was no rule written in the Constitution that said our presidents must be [Protestant] Christians (I guess there was exception for Kennedy and his Catholicism). Why could a president never be atheist, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, etc.?
    The Deism of many of the writers of the Constitution is itself a far cry from what most people have in mind when they speak of Christianity.

    Furthermore, I have been continually amazed at the Tea Party support for Glenn Beck, given his Mormonism. My guess is that he supports the generally conservative social values of his supporters and hence poses little threat to them, indeed offering himself as one who is also fighting for their “Christian” values– even while they can disagree profoundly on matters of belief.

    Interesting thoughts nonetheless.

  2. Dennis Griffith Says:

    Katye, You are correct that there is no religious clause in the constitution. I also find it troubling that some folks are making such a big deal about the birth certificate. There is no question Obama’s mother was a US Citizen, so he has always been a US Citizen. For those trying to make the constitution read that one must be born on American soil, I have my doubts that these same folks would have been concerned that John McCain was born outside the US. But, I think it is a reasonable concern, if he were indeed a Muslim. This would not disqualiify him, but considering that terorrism is being perpetrated by radical Islamic wacko’s, people are concerned. It is reasonable, even if it is not necessarily accurate.

    As for the Tea Party, it is not a movement guided by theological ideology, but political. Glenn Beck holds a firm conservative line – though he seems to me to be a new version of the John Birch-ers. He sees way to may conspiracies. But I guess that sells books and air time.

  3. David Alexander Says:

    I’m glad for what he did say……..as you mentioned Dennis. It was a good step towards the middle as eveytime He speaks (as most presidents speak) is political in nature as well. Even at a prayer breakfast.

    Thought he did a good job with it.

  4. Dennis Griffith Says:

    I have been told by my friend, Kerry Doyal, that Obama did make profession of having come to know Christ. Apparently CNN omitted that or edited it out for some reason.

    Check out these links:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/02/03/remarks-president-national-prayer-breakfast

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110203/ts_alt_afp/uspoliticsreligion

    With this new information I would say that my point about Christless Christianity is a valid concern, but it was wrongly applied to Obama’s speech.

    I happily stand corrected.


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