Sunday, January 27, 2008

Obama on the Gospel

In a recent interview with Christianity Today Barak Obama makes some comments relevant to how evangelicals should understand his faith and influence on some criticual issues to evangelical Christians. When reading his comments about abortion you would do well to also read Denny Burk's response to what Obama has said.

Here are Obama's comments about gospel.

"I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful."

What I find most interesting (but not necessarily surprising) is that Obama places a higher priority on the social implications of the gospel than he does the gospel itself. He elevates how the gospel is supposed to be worked out in our lives above the gospel itself. While I certainly do not expect Obama or any other presidential candidate to be a theologian (though we all are to some degree), there is nothing more important than the gospel itself, not even the implications of the gospel to culture. Perhaps it is this understanding that is at the root of how the gospel has failed to shape Obama's political positions on moral issues such as abortion that should be, but clearly are not, informed by the gospel.


At 4:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you actually read the gospels? Obama's point is in line with exactly what Jesus teaches. The gospel is useless if it is not acted out. Maybe if you have read the gospels, you are in dire need of another reading to grasp what it is they actually say.

At 5:40 PM , Blogger Aaron said...

The social action that the gospel demands (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc) is not MORE important than the gospel itself, which is that God took him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin so that in Jesus we might become the righteousness of God. The gospel is that God has reconciled enemies to himself through the substitutionary death of Jesus. We are accepted by God on the merits of Jesus' redeeming works, not our own.

When you read Obama's comments at first glance you can do nothing but say "Yes" and "Amen" to his understanding of the gospel. However, implicit, if not explicit, in his statement is the fact that Obama sees the social demands of the gospel as more important than the gospel itself. Social is a demand of the gospel; it is not more important than the gospel itself.

At 5:42 PM , Blogger Aaron said...

One more can one seriously say that they believe that we should "follow the example Jesus ste by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful" and also hold to a pro-choice position, which is one of the most extreme examples I can think of where humanity does NOT prioritize the least of these over the powerful.

At 12:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I disagree. The gospel of Jesus Christ is of equal importance to the social demands of the gospel. Additionally, you can be pro-choice and not agree with abortion. Being pro-choice does not automatically mean pro-abortion.


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