Tag Archives: President

I’m His Friend, And I Have An Appointment!

“I’m a friend of the President. I have an appointment!” At least that is what Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran said when he jumped the fence at the White House. Tran managed to get near the White House wearing a backpack containing 2 cans of pepper spray, a book written by Trump, a passport, and other items.

The Secret Service stopped Tran, and confirmed that he did not have an appointment. And…no surprise, he is not Trump’s friend. They took Tran into custody, but released him to home arrest until his April court date.

Sitting down to chat with the President of the United States is beyond the ability of most people. There was a time when the public could stroll into the White House to have conversations with Presidents such as Jackson or Lincoln. Those days are long gone, but many would still like the opportunity.

Wanting to speak with leaders is nothing new. In fact, in the days of Solomon, we are told that, “All the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart” (1 Kings 10:24). All the earth wanted to meet Solomon! One person, the Queen of Sheba, took a trip to see him and was amazed at his great wisdom.

But did you know that we have easy access to Solomon’s wisdom today through God’s Word? In fact, we have access to the wisdom of one far greater – the God who gave Solomon his wisdom. We have access to the King and His Kingdom.

Sadly, though, few will take the opportunity to hear His wisdom. Even fewer attempt to enter His Kingdom. Consider this: People will jump fences to try to force a meeting with the President. Will the children of light be so bold as to approach the throne with confidence in Christ?

Now here is the great news: if you are in Christ, you truly are a friend of God’s and you do have an appointment. In fact, He desires to spend eternity with all who are willing to come to Him through His Son!

Don’t Be Fooled: Politico-Religious God Speak is NOT The Gospel

bible-american-flagWow…he mentioned God, the Bible, and America! He must be the faith candidate. Oh, wait so did all the other candidates. Is her faith better than his? Does all that political, religious jargon mean anything? Can anyone figure out what is going on here???

Are you a person of faith? Most are. According to a new Barna poll, despite religious affiliation going down slightly, almost 90% of Americans still believe in God. So it is only natural that we listen carefully to what candidates say when it comes to their faith. But sorting through all the “spin” can make you dizzy.

And the law of the land seems to be: don’t look at the particulars of my religion or faith, but hear me when I say “faith-words.” It becomes increasingly difficult to know where candidates actually stand. “Why?” Because the new spin is a benign appearing, but ultimately malignant, gospel that I call “politico-religion.”

Politico-religion, as I would define it, is “a religion that proclaims a faith in God and a desire for Him to bless us, yet absolves us of meeting those distinguishing requirements by which He measures our faith and determines His blessings.” In other words, as a country, we like “God-talk,” that is devoid of specifics regarding God’s Word. And therein lies the problem.

Presidential candidates jockey to be the “faith candidate,” and we can’t blame them. It would be political suicide to do otherwise. Any Presidential candidate, who has any chance of being elected, has to proclaim faith in God and a trust that God will continue to bless America. But politico-religion is the embarrassingly ugly cousin of the true gospel.

The gospel doesn’t begin or end at “God bless America.”

Watering down the gospel is never God-pleasing Christianity. There is no such thing as a Christian faith that absolves us of our Christian lives. Yet we continuously make exceptions and excuses in order to support a candidate who sounds “faithy.”

“What are we supposed to do,” you ask? “These are the choices we have. And though, not perfect, shouldn’t we vote for a candidate who is “closer” to our ideology?”

Fine. Just don’t believe that you are furthering His Kingdom when you promote a candidate who preaches a gospel that is clearly different from His. If you are going to invoke God, you might want to consider what God’s Word says.

For example, Hillary Clinton’s speeches that encourage people to live up to their “God-given potential,” followed by a litany of God-denounced activities, would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. One simply cannot “use” God on the broad strokes and chuck Him when it is time for the details.

Remember Mitt Romney? Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormon beliefs include: the Book of Mormon is to be believed over the Bible; dark skin is Cain’s curse from God; Satan and Jesus are brothers; Joseph Smith is responsible for a revelation leading to salvation; men can become angels; men can become gods; Jesus is the product of God and a goddess, …need I go on?

Yet 80% of evangelicals liked the faith-talk Romney used and he received the “faith vote.” Was it ok to support Romney if you believed him to be the more qualified candidate? Sure. Just don’t think that voting for a Mormon promotes the gospel. Mormons are not, what Joel Osteen called, “brothers in Christ.” The idea is absurd!

Thomas Kidd, professor of history and religion at Baylor University in Texas, puts the current race between Donald Trump and Ben Carson in similar terms:

“…a lot of evangelicals would…rather have a practicing Adventist than a nominal Presbyterian who doesn’t seem to have basic theological understanding about Christianity.”

Yet 7th Day Adventism denies basic tenants of Christianity. They reject the immortality of the soul; they believe there is no hell or personal responsibility for sin (sins will be placed on Satan); they think Ellen White was a prophet with new revelation from God, they insist worship must be done on Saturday, and they believe Jesus is the angel Michael. Yet Ben Carson’s support as the “faith candidate” grows.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump claimed that his faith, as a Presbyterian, is “middle of the road” and is safer than Carson’s. He failed to mention that it is the PC-USA wing of the denomination, known for ultra-liberal stances (denying inerrancy of the Bible, performing same-sex marriages, belief that homosexuality is not a sin, etc). In fact, where he “attends” occasionally is a different denomination altogether, and they wrote a letter saying he is not a member. Is that what the gospel is all about?

So…at the end of the day, do politico-religious politicians even care what God’s position is? I can’t say, but it doesn’t appear so. Those who worship at that altar seem interested in using enough “God speak” to get evangelical votes while not losing irreligious constituents or committing themselves to any actual Biblical positions.

Our job is not to rewrite, water down, or change the true gospel. And, if you want to support a candidate, just say you like something about them or their party. But let’s quit using “God-speak” as an excuse. Because, frankly, it is embarrassing.

Every time a Christian says they support a politico-religious candidate because of their “Christianity,” the true gospel of Christ’s  is tarnished and the effectiveness of the church is damaged. Far too many politico-religious, God-speak, politicians have been elected on that banner and then disgrace the name of God once elected.

And if you REALLY want a CHRISTIAN to be elected to an office, then demand better. It is your right as an American to promote candidates who really do profess the Bible and the true gospel. Encourage believers to get involved in politics if you want Christian politicians. But be wary of equating faith-speak and the gospel, because they are not necessarily the same…at all.

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord, no matter who gets elected. We will continue to be proponents for God and His gospel. And we will pray that our leaders will turn to God while there is a today left in which to turn. And we pray that God will, in deed, bless America…with a heart to do His will.

He Can’t Quote The Bible! Can He?

ObamaAndBibleRecently, President Obama has gotten in hot water for…wait for it…quoting the Bible! Yes, it’s true. And the unlikely folks who have been so upset? Conservatives! Confused yet? Let’s discuss.

In support of his immigration policy, President Obama quoted a very important verse from the Old Testament with regard to how to treat others: Exodus 23:9. It is one of my favorites, and I quote it often. The NASB reads: “You shall not oppress a stranger (sojourner), since you yourselves know the feelings (literally ‘soul’) of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

The principle of Exodus 23:9 (Leviticus 19:33, & Deuteronomy 24:17; 27:19) is a bedrock principle of the New Testament as well. Jesus tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31) and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31).

But many conservatives were upset with the President’s use of the verse. They were so upset that they declared that the Bible is off-limits; he isn’t allowed to quote from it! But is that how God’s people should respond? Surely we can do better than telling people to not quote the Bible! Here are a few thoughts on what to say instead:

1) The Bible is a good place to start any discussion.

In a famous/infamous 2008 speech, the President said, that the Bible should not be used in shaping public policy. Now, he takes a Bible passage to prove why his public policy is correct. While this is hypocritical, Christians must guard themselves against the same hypocrisy. He did actually quote the Bible! And we want people searching the scriptures, don’t we?

Rather than responding in anger, “He can’t quote the Bible,” let’s congratulate him on looking to the Bible for inspiration and then give him a better understanding of the meaning of the passage.

2) A text without context is a pretext for a proof-text.

Do what? Ok. Translation: if you take any text and rip it out of its context, you can make it mean whatever you want it to mean.

The principle the President quoted is correct; we should treat others as we want to be treated. But what is the context? Is this the only verse in the Bible where God instructs His people on what to do and how to live? What about the other verses in Exodus 23? Might they be important to the discussion? This is a good opportunity to discuss context and meaning.

3) God is no respecter of persons.

God’s offer of grace and mercy is freely given without regard to race, age, gender, or nationality.

If the President had studied the passage more closely, he would have seen that the protection is unilateral for ALL strangers. It is there to remind God’s children to deal fairly with strangers and not take advantage of them because Israel was enslaved in Egypt.

Whether you oppose or favor the immigration policy, this verse simply doesn’t fit his usage. The policy is limited to illegal aliens with US born children, who have been here for 5 years, and it is only temporary. That would mean that God’s kindness doesn’t apply to some strangers. But no one, not even the President, is taking the position that we should unilaterally treat ALL sojourners as citizens!

The point of the passage is that we should not oppress others and we should be giving toward those who are in need. It isn’t a political statement, it is a moral statement. And morally, you can’t treat the Bible like a buffet, picking and choosing a little of this and a few of those.

The greatest gift we have is the gospel. Jesus said salvation is available to all who would come – whosoever believes. And that is irrefutable. Help others to read the Bible for God’s intended meaning rather than hunting for verses that appear to support political positions. God sent His Son to die for us; doesn’t He at least deserve a fair read?