The United States of America is about to inaugurate someone with African-American roots to the highest office in the land. It is at once remarkable and sad; remarkable because this is a first for the nation...and sad because this is a first for the nation.
A DAY OF CELEBRATION FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS
Minorities watched this election with renewed interest and feelings of inclusion. For the first time, they could see a leader whose family resembled their own. Who can deny that African-Americans are continuing to break racial stereotypes and rebound from cultural genocides brought about by the inhumanity of slavery and the ideas of privilege which have had generational repercussions?
A DAY OF CELEBRATION FOR DEMOCRATS
The Democrats have successfully ended years of Republican domination, not only in the presidency, but in Congress. Obama helped to invigorate the Democratic party...especially amongst young voters. The Democratic Party is being reborn under a leadership that will bring about social change and reform.
A DAY OF CELEBRATION FOR AMERICA
Many were inspired by Obama's oratory, intelligence, and charisma. The Obamas are a beautiful family confirming the realities of the American Dream for many: everyone has the opportunity to achieve if they work for it. Even Obama's Administration brings to life our melting pot as men, women, Democrats, Republicans, Blacks, Asians, etc. put differences aside for the betterment of the country.
A DAY OF CELEBRATION FOR THE WORLD
Finally an international man with American, African, German, Indonesian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Christian roots, operating outside of the Caucasian, privileged, and paternalistic mindset of most American leadership. People around the world cheered and even enemies of this country are all stepping forward to proclaim how willing they are to work with Obama.
A DAY OF CELEBRATION FOR CHRISTIANS?
Is this a day of celebration for Christians? Given the change that this country needed and the fact that Obama will be our first Black president, why would any Christian NOT support Obama? And isn't Obama a Christian too?
"And that is why that, if we truly hope to speak to people where they're at - to communicate our hopes and values in a way that's relevant to their own - then as progressives, we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse." Barack Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28th, 2006
According to his 2008 interview with Newsweek, Finding His Faith:
"In Chicago, Obama found that organizers and activists there (and elsewhere) were employing a progressive theology to motivate faith groups to action."
Yet, exactly who are "we" progressives? How do the progressive tenets align with Obama's personal beliefs? And most importantly, how do these beliefs align with the Scriptures?
We know that people are multi-dimensional; they have gender identities, racial identities, nationalistic identities, etc. All of these things work together to form who we are as individuals. Yet once we are born again in Christ, our sole identity is supposed to be in Him.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," Philippians 3:8
The only thing that mattered to Paul was Christ, and he placed nothing before Jesus; not his ethnic heritage, his upbringing, his education, his social status, or his achievements. AMEN?
The guide for a Christian is not our race, our sex, our culture, our nation, etc. Our allegiance is to God, and what He says, first and foremost. It is with that in mind that we will objectively evaluate what progressives believe compared to what Scripture says.
The Center for Progressive Christianity (TCPC) has 8 Points which define the Progressive Christianity movement. Clearly, the TCPC does not speak for Obama. However, we will examine these progressive beliefs and compare them to Obama's own statements about his faith. Then we will look at how those beliefs align to Scripture. [any emphasis in bolding is added by me]
THE EIGHT POINTS OF PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY
1. Progressives have "found an approach to God" through the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Notice first and foremost that there is NO mention of Jesus being God, the importance of the work of salvation, or the necessity of faith in Christ. We decide who Jesus is 'to us' and take what we can from His teachings. Accordingly, Jesus is NOT "the Way", but "an approach" to God. As explained on the site:
"Rather than assuming that Jesus is a sacrificial savior, or 'The Savior', this first statement suggests that one can be a Christian by considering oneself a follower of Jesus' teachings, and using his life, as we know it, as a model. It can also be implied that for those Christians Jesus and Jesus' teachings provide a way to experience, relate to or approach that Energy, that Force, or that Presence we choose to call God." TCPC, Point 1 Study Guide
Is it an assumption or a fact that Jesus made a sacrifice of Himself as the Savior of the world? Are we Christians because we consider ourselves to be or because we submit to, and place faith in, Jesus as the Christ? Do we just "choose" to call Jesus God or is He in fact God? What does Obama say?
"Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognize some overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country." Barack Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28th, 2006
The essentials of Christianity are not foundations of the faith, but are 'biases' that prevent us from appreciating the morals of others? Is it possible to be a good person simply by trying to follow Jesus' pattern for living or does Jesus give His followers a new birth through the Spirit that changes the nature of who we are?
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:7"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. " John 15:5"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:7-8
2. Progressives recognize the faithfulness of other people who have "other names for the way" to God's realm and acknowledge that "their ways are true" for them as "our ways are true" for us.
Can one be a Christian and believe that there are multiple ways to God? Are the "ways" of those who deny Jesus just as "true" as having faith in Jesus? Is God defined by who we say He is or is He God yesterday, today, and tomorrow and changes not?
"I am a Christian...So, I have a deep faith. I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people." Barack Obama, Chicago Sun-Times, April 2004
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." I Timothy 2:3-6
3. Progressives understand the sharing of bread and wine in Jesus' name to be a representation of an ancient vision of God's feasts for all peoples.
According to progressives, the Lord's Supper is a pre-Christian ritual God uses to symbolize His desire for achieving world peace among all peoples. "Jesus lays no conditions for participation, establishes no barriers to the meal." TCPC, Point 3 Study Guide
Why is it so important that communion be open to all without restriction according to the TCPC? Because it shows that God is all-inclusive and makes no distinction between those with whom He fellowships. Yet, Scripture says:
"Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." I Corinthians 11:27-30
If the fellowship of God is open to everyone with no conditions, then who are these individuals who are participating in this communion "unworthily"? Why are they deemed guilty of the body and blood of Jesus? Why are some weak, sick, and dead amongst them if there are no requirements for fellowship with God?
Does Obama agree that non-Christians have equal fellowship with God just as Christians do?
"I felt that I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth. That's a path that has been shared by millions upon millions of Americans - evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims alike." Barack Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28th, 2006
Are Muslims hearing and responding to God's call when they pursue Islam? Are Buddhists hearing and responding to God's call when they follow Buddhism? According to Barack, the spiritual paths to discovering the "truth" of God are the same for all religions. Christianity does not offer any different avenue than what one may find with these others as they all share the same path to fellowship with God.
4. Progressives invite all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us in order to be acceptable (including but not limited to) believers and agnostics, conventional Christians and questioning skeptics, women and men, those of all sexual orientations and gender identities, those of all races and cultures, those of all classes and abilities, those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope.
Are all people invited to turn in faith to Christ? Of course! [John 3:16-17; I Timothy 2:4] The standard is not that people are "acceptable" to man, but that they submit to what God says. Can one knowingly rebel against what God says and still enjoy fellowship with God? Are Christians encouraged to ignore sin and fellowship with those who reject God's commands? NO! [Isaiah 59:2; I Cornthians 5:7; II Corinthians 6:14; II Timothy 3:5; I John 1:6]
"...I had to take Mr. [Alan] Keyes seriously, for he claimed to speak for my religion, and my God. He claimed knowledge of certain truths. Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, he was saying, and yet he supports a lifestyle that the Bible calls an abomination. Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, but supports the destruction of innocent and sacred life...Unwilling to go there, I answered with what has come to be the typically liberal response in such debates - namely, I said that we live in a pluralistic society, that I can't impose my own religious views on another..." Barack Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28th, 2006
"As the New York Times reported today, I do not agree with General Pace that homosexuality is immoral." Barack Obama Campaign Statement, New York Times, March 2007
IF Obama is a Christian, shouldn't he also be able to claim knowledge to certain fundamental truths as well? Shouldn't he be able to say that Jesus is the Son of God, with no qualification? Shouldn't he be able to agree with God that homosexuality is a sin? Of course Obama cannot impose his religious views on another, no one can. But what has that to do with him standing firm on what God has said, if in fact he believes what God has said?
5. Progressives know that the way we behave toward one another and toward other people is the fullest expression of what we believe.
Progressives believe that true faith is not expressed by faithfulness to God, but on how we treat each other. This is humanism at its best, where the dignity of all people is affirmed based on the ability to determine right and wrong through universal human qualities. In other words, not only is God a product of man's mind, but there are no rights or wrongs. Instead, morality is defined as man's humanity to man. Man, not God, becomes the beginning and the end of all righteousness.
"Faith doesn't mean that you don't have doubts. You need to come to church in the first place precisely because you are first of this world, not apart from it." Barack Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28th, 2006
Are we "first of this world"? Does our allegiance belong to the world "first" as Obama suggests?
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:19"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world...They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." John 17:14, 16"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." I John 2:16
"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal rather than religion-specific values. What do I mean by this? It requires that their proposals be subject to argument and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons to take one example, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I can't simply point to the teachings of my church or invoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all." Barack Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28, 2006
According to Barack, God's will is not sufficient to guide us on what is right or wrong. In fact, the law of the land should not even be a question of right and wrong. We must lower our moral values in order to pursue agnostic "universal" standards. That is insane. If having a Democracy requires that the law be devoid all religion-borne values, then the entire U.S. Constitution should be thrown out of the window.
6. Progressives find more grace in the search for understanding than we do in dogmatic certainty - more value in questioning than in absolutes.
For progressives, there are no absolutes, no certainties! It is more valuable to talk about the differences in our understandings than to talk about what God has said. Why? Because no one can dare to say what God has said. God may be one thing to me and be something completely different for you. To this perverted mindset - morality and even the existence of God - is completely subjective; there is no way to know what God really thinks.
"What I don't think is appropriate, as a public servant, is for me to assume my faith is absolute and to therefore presume that people who are of different faiths and have different perspectives are somehow evil or wrong." Barack Obama, Illinois Senatorial Debate, October 21, 2004
Obama is not comfortable saying that the truths of Christianity are absolute. He cannot absolutely say that Jesus is the son of God and has died and was resurrected for the sins of the world. He cannot unequivocally say that salvation is in Christ alone. Why? Because other faiths and perspectives may be right.
“And I was reminded,” Mr. Obama added, “that it is my obligation, not only as an elected official in a pluralistic society but also as a Christian, to remain open to the possibility that my unwillingness to support gay marriage is misguided, just as I cannot claim infallibility in my support of abortion rights.” Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope
Is it the "obligation" as a Christian to "remain open" on moral issues? Or does God tell us to accept His truths and be witnesses to them? Should we accept what God decrees, but keep open the possibility that God may be wrong? How do we truly "have faith" in a God and at the same time not be really sure who He is?
"He found Christ—but that hasn't stopped him from asking questions. 'I'm on my own faith journey and I'm searching. I leave open the possibility that I'm entirely wrong." Barack Obama, Newsweek "Finding His Faith", July 12, 2008
Can anyone who has truly "found Christ" still wonder if He really exists? Only if you know within your heart that the "Christ" you have found is the figment of your own imagination. Barack is not "remaining open" about Jesus' existence as an act of love and compassion towards those who believe differently. He is open because he is not sure about the faith he professes. This is the essence of the progressive theology; there are no absolutes which means no one absolutely knows who God is.
"My particular set of beliefs may not be perfectly consistent with the beliefs of other Christians." Barack Obama, Newsweek "Finding His Faith", July 12, 2008
"Even those who claim the Bible's inerrancy make distinctions between Scriptural edicts, sensing that some passages - the Ten Commandments, say, or a belief in Christ's divinity - are central to Christian faith, while others are more culturally specific and may be modified to accommodate modern life." Barack Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28, 2006
To Barack, the Scriptures are not inerrant, but they can be modified based on your culture and circumstances.
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." II Peter 1:20-21"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" II Timothy 3:16
7. Progressives form ourselves into communities dedicated to equipping one another for the work we feel called to do: striving for peace and justice among all people, protecting and restoring the integrity of all God's creation, and bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of His sisters and brothers.
This all sounds lovely, but what does it really mean? What will these communities look like? How do we achieve peace among all people?
"At some fundamental level, religion doesn't allow for compromise...If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. Now to base one's own life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing." Barack Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28, 2006
IF God has spoken? Does Obama believe that God has spoken or not?
"Given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers." Barack Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28, 2006
This is extremely incendiary language, not only because Obama presumes to place limits on when it is appropriate to practice Christianity, but because he is labeling such people as "dangerous sectarians". In the community that Obama envisions for this country, every one is welcome except those "dangerous" ones who continue to "cling to their religion"; the enemy to the community's peace under this dynamic becomes the Christian.
8. Progressives recognize that being followers of Jesus is costly, and entails selfless love, conscientious resistance to evil, and renunciation of privilege.
The cost of following the progressive theology is that Jesus is no longer the Way to God. Selfless love means dismissing Godly dictates in favor of what is appeasing to those who even deny the existence of God. Resisting evil means ensuring you don't claim to know the truths of God. Removing privilege requires that you acknowledge that all people have fellowship with God regardless of their beliefs.
"As some of you know, during the 2004 U.S. Senate General Election I ran against a gentleman named Alan Keyes. Mr. Keyes is well-versed in the Jerry Falwell-Pat Robertson style of rhetoric that often labels progressives as both immoral and godless. Indeed, Mr. Keyes announced towards the end of the campaign that, "Jesus Christ would not vote for Barack Obama. Christ would not vote for Barack Obama because Barack Obama has behaved in a way that it is inconceivable for Christ to have behaved." Jesus Christ would not vote for Barack Obama." Barack Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28, 2006
"Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the nation is not just rhetorical, though. Our fear of getting "preachy" may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems." Barack Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28, 2006
Can we see what this brand of progressive Christianity really is? Yes We Can!
Is this the change we need? No it is not!
We are looking at the redefinition of Christianity and the rebranding of those who are "Christians" as intolerant, divisive, and dangerous.
Should we hold Barack Obama to a higher standard than any other President? Of course not. Yet, why are so many professing Christians willing to quickly forsake the way of the Lord to support someone who is fighting against everything that a Christian should hold dear: the reverence of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I, for one, am not prepared to stand before Jesus and tell Him that I valued social, racial, economic, and global change more than I esteemed His Word.
"And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." Luke 16:15
What an honor it would be to have a President who submits to the True & Living God and serves Jesus Christ. Instead, we are left with an abomination. These "progressive" beliefs are an abomination.
Obama didn't "find Jesus". What he found was the idea that you don't need Jesus and could still claim Christianity. That who you believe God to be is not as important as how that belief impacts your road to self-actualization. What Obama found was validation for his mother's beliefs that religion was a tool of oppression for closed-minded individuals.
"For my mother, organized religion too often dressed up closed-mindedness in the garb of piety, cruelty and oppression in the cloak of righteousness.
This isn’t to say that she provided me with no religious instruction. In her mind, a working knowledge of the world’s great religions was a necessary part of any well-rounded education. In our household the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology.
So what? The election is done and we are approaching the inauguration. Barack Obama is the President-elect. Why do I bring this all up now? I bring it up because I am calling to - indeed begging with - the Church to open your eyes. This is not about a Black man, not about social policy, not about political parties, not about America, and not about world peace...this is about Christ!
"The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind? " Proverbs 21:27
When we downgrade the Gospel, strip Jesus of His divinity & salvatory purpose, and claim that everyone serves God in their own way, we have gutted Christianity of any meaning. You might as well be a Hindu, for it all is the same. Yet, this is what is being called "Christianity" and this is the professed faith of our next President.
Be prepared for what is coming down the line. Obama has already given insight into his thinking in this area. He says that it is "dangerous" to believe that your God is the true God and your way is the only way. It is not "reasonable" to say that something is right or wrong because God says so.
In the Obama Nation, those who do not give up religious values in favor of humanistic universal truths are threats to the peace of this nation. Where does that leave you as a Christian?
"The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness." Proverbs 15:9
Will you seek after righteousness or will you choose to side with an Obama Nation?