It’s election time. No, not in the Calvinist sense, but in the political sense. Though there are some that would argue that who the next president will be has already been determined buy “them”. But I digress.
Much is being made of the candidates faith, especially in light of the recent whoop-tee-doo at Saddleback. Particularly Sen. Obama’s statements on abortion and gay marriage commingled with his professed Christian faith. I’ll get to those responses in a moment. What is being portrayed in the media and some books regarding Obama’s faith is the sincerity of his faith. As if sincerity is the test. They say that his faith permeates his politics. If that is the case then his sincere Christian faith isn’t a Biblical one.
(Before I get into this I want to point out that this isn’t an anti-Barak for president, nor is it a pro-McCain statement. It’s more of a commentary about how faith is lived out as well as how what it means to be a Christian has become skewed from the days of Jesus, Paul, and Peter to what it is today. This really isn’t a political rant, it just happens to be a good example of what’s happening in Christendom today.)
Before you get all mad and click off in a huff lemme esplain. One of my favorite word pictures from New Testament Greek is the word translated “sincere”. Literally this word means “without wax”. Back in the day people made and used clay pots for storing stuff. If the pot you were making didn’t quite come out right due to cracks or other imperfections in the clay, there was a fix; you fill in the imperfections with wax before you paint and/or glaze the pot. When finished, you couldn’t tell there was a problem with it. The informed shopper would hold the pot they were looking to buy up to the sun. Why? Well, if there were any wax patches on the pot you could see through them in the sunlight. That’s how you could tell if you were getting the real deal and not getting ripped off. If you couldn’t see through any part of the pot, it was sincere, it was without wax.
It has been said that sincerity is a good thing, but that people can be sincerely wrong. You can sincerely believe that 5+5=20, but you are wrong. If you were to answer that on a test you wouldn’t get an A for sincerity, an F for the wrong answer, averaged out to a C or something. You would just get an F. In that same light Obama might get an A for sincerity, but his answers gets an F because they were Biblically incorrect. The sincerity grade is meaningless. Obama’s pot may be without wax, but it’s made of sand and doesn’t hold water.
On the issue of when life begins, Obama said that the ability to answer that question scientifically and theologically were above his pay grade. He quoted scripture left and right on many other issues, why not this one? At the very least the Biblical answer is “at conception”. In Exodus 21:22-25 God talks about harm that comes to the unborn. Biblically it is a life with rights as much as one who has been born. To take it step further, one could argue Biblically that life begins before conception. Several times in the Bible we see God or an angel address someone announcing that they will be with child and, in some cases, they give them the child’s name (like John the Baptist). God had a destiny in mind for Ishmael some 25 years before he was even conceived.
Pay grade? I don’t know how much Obama makes in salaries and book sales, but it’s got to be 10 times what I make. I don’t know if Obama was trying to give an answer that wouldn’t drive away too many constituents or what, but the answer is simple and straightforward. Sincere or not, the answer was wrong. Abortion is unbiblical, therefore un-Christian. The two are incompatible.
On the issue of gay marriage Sen. Obama was a bit less wishy-washy, but not much. He said that for him, in his opinion and without any Biblical basis, gay marriage isn’t right. But, he went on to say that he would never want to infringe on someone else’s rights in this regard and would not support a constitutional amendment. He quoted no scripture, made no reference to theology or science, he simply gave his opinion. In effect he said that he wouldn’t let his personal views on this influence his policies as president. I remember John Kerry making a similar statement regarding abortion and Catholic background when he ran for president.
From a non-Biblical perspective, this concept of separating one’s own personal beliefs from the politics is ridiculous. The very founding of our country was based on the marriage between personal convictions and government. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were the personal convictions of those men and they built a country and it’s constitution around these things. Later, people had the personal conviction that slavery was immoral. What did they do? Passed laws to abolish it. People had the personal conviction that women should have the right to vote. What did they do? Passed laws to make it so. This country is based on the premise of personal convictions driving political change and policy. To separate the two is cowardice. This is post-modern relativistic truth.
I don’t know about you, but I want a president that not only knows what he believes, he is also driven by those beliefs and convictions in his office. Outside of a political illustration such as this, Christians are doing this all the time these days. They are separating what they believe personally from the rest of their lives. To allow personal conviction affect other areas of their lives is a foreign thought to them. Why? Because that’s what our society has enforced on our thinking. You believe what you want and I’ll believe what I want, and it’s all good. Funny. God doesn’t see it that way.
Biblically speaking, the issue of gay marriage is also a no-briner. God created marriage and He created it to be between and genetic male and a genetic female. Anyone who believes otherwise is basically giving God the finger. They are disregarding God’s heart, mind, purpose, and word. To say that it’s wrong for me but others have the right to make up their own minds is a non-answer. Now, I should point out that I do believe people have the right to choose to do and believe whatever they want. In no way am I suggesting taking away people’s right to think and believe for themselves. People have the right to reject God. There are consequences for exercising that right to be sure. However, making something legal or illegal doesn’t mean it’s moral or immoral. Abortion is legal, but it’s still wrong. If gay marriage becomes nationally legal, it’s still wrong. Murder isn’t wrong because it’s illegal, it’s wrong because God says so. So is abortion. So is homosexuality. Anyone who says that they believe in God and His word has to think so because that’s what God thinks.
Is Barak Obama sincere is his faith? I don’t know. Probably. I’m not going to argue that point. People can be as sincere as the day is long, but they can also be sincerely wrong. But it does seem clear by his own words that the substance of his faith isn’t without wax. Too many Christians are like this today. Their faith is full of holes and cracks and chips. Is he saved? Is he really a Christian, one-of-Christ’s? Only God knows for sure. Jesus did say that we can know people by the fruit of their lives, and out of the abundance of the heat the mouth speaks. His words don’t line up with what God says. In the end, sincerity isn’t what matters most. What matters most is what that sincerity is based on.
Christian, do you have the mind of Christ? Have you put off the old man and put on the new? Are you conformed to this world or are you being transformed by the renewing of your mind in Christ? Does the way you live your life come from the culture around you or does it come from God’s word? Is Christianity an accessory in your life or is it core of your existence from which everything else flows? Is Jesus just your Savior, or is He your Lord too? Have you been crucified with Christ? Have you died to self and been raised with Him? The answers to these questions make all the difference. Not just all the difference in the world, but in eternity.