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June 27, 2007

And Then I Knew

Over at Get Religion, Daniel Pulliam writes about what is arguably the most under-reported religion story of the year: this speech delivered by senator Barack Obama last Saturday night. In it, he shares what in any Evangelical context would be called his testimony:

So one Sunday, I put on one of the few clean jackets I had, and went over to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. And I heard Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright deliver a sermon called "The Audacity of Hope." And during the course of that sermon, he introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him. And in time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life.

It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn't magically disappear. The skeptical bent of my mind didn't suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works.

Obama added that

doing the Lord's work is a thread that's run through our politics since the very beginning. And it puts the lie to the notion that the separation of church and state in America means faith should have no role in public life. Imagine Lincoln's Second Inaugural without its reference to "the judgments of the Lord." Or King's "I Have a Dream" speech without its reference to "all of God's children." Or President Kennedy's Inaugural without the words, "here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own." At each of these junctures, by summoning a higher truth and embracing a universal faith, our leaders inspired ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things.

Obama's use of explicitly religious Christian language was enough to give Andrew Sullivan the heebie-jeebies:

Obama is aggressively staking his candidacy in part on an explicitly religious appeal. In this, he is Bush's natural successor, and threatens to make secular politics even more elusive in a fundamentalist age.

Sigh. Pulliam writes that "every media account I’ve seen has ignored what I see as being the most significant part," i.e., Obama's conversion story and his explicitly Christian appeal -- proof, if any more is needed, of just how little the press gets religion.

As for the speech itself, as David Brody of CBN put it,

For Obama to stand up and talk about how Jesus changed his life, my friends that takes guts. You may disagree with everything he’s about, you may disagree with his policy goals but as Christians, shouldn’t we like it when someone talks about Christ being the missing ingredient in his life?

Throw in the part about putting the lie to the notion that faith should have no part in public life and we've got an interesting discussion going. Too bad some people can't bring themselves to listen. 


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Thanks for bringing this to our attention Roberto. Quite interesting.

Joe Dalfonzo

We all love it when anyone surrenders, dedicates himself to "discovering His truth and carrying out His works." That will certainly make the Senator a better person but it no more qualifies him to be the leader of the free world than my blue shirt qualifies me to be Chairman of IBM! Perhaps now more than ever in our history, the world is a very dangerous place. Our next President must be seasoned, experienced and respected. And in a world where the "Big Dogs Rule" we don't need a charming, charismatic puppy at the helm, Christian or no.

Obama is pro-abort. Abortion is murder. Murderers do not have eternal life in them.
Obama is not a regenerate Christian (or doesn't know where babies come from) quod erat demonstratum (sp?)


" Murderers do not have eternal life in them."

Ooof. Bad news for Paul and David, eh? So ... you know, Hebrews 11 ... not so inspired, eh?

[That said, I admit a similar problem with Obama. A 100% approval rating from NARAL indicates unworthiness to ascend to the Presidency, at the very least. Rudy, take note.]


"The Doctor is In" (docisinblog.com) recently commented on an article about Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, a proponent of liberation theology.

Faith in Christ is one thing. I do believe it's possible to trust Christ even while holding to rotten theology (not one of us is 100% theologically correct, after all). But liberation theology is neither historically nor biblically orthodox Christianity. It is more political (Marxist, to be exact) in orientation. That tells me enough about Obama to cause me to cringe at the prospect of his becoming POTUS. I don't think he stands much of a chance anyway, though, given his inexperience.


What precisely do you find particularly rotten about liberation theology?

Chris Clukey

Allen wrote:

"Ooof. Bad news for Paul and David, eh? So ... you know, Hebrews 11 ... not so inspired, eh?"

Well Allen, didn't Paul and David both repent of those actions? Senator Obama to this very moment has never repented for his unswerving support of an absolute "right" to child murder on demand. He even expressed horror when the Supreme Court upheld the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. Then there's the racism, segregationism and classism promoted on his church's website: http://sweetness-light.com/archive/barack-obamas-church-ultra-left-and-afrocentric

Read Jesus' words about false teaching in Matthew 7:15-20. then, consider the fruit of the repentant Paul, the repentant David, and the unrepentant Obama and those whose teachings he has embraced. Then you will know that those of us who refuse to call such a man a brother in Christ are not being judgmental, but are following Christ's command to be watchful.

Chris Clukey

Brian wrote:

"What precisely do you find particularly rotten about liberation theology?"

Brian, Susannah explained that, and I hope she'll return and elaborate. But here's my answer to your question: Other than the fact that it's the religious version of a philosophy that killed 100 million people last Century, what's not to love?

Here's Colson's commentary on a memorial to those 100 million victims:

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