President Barack Obama made a major speech at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5. I have let a little time go by before adding my brief set of remarks to the cacophony which was occasioned by this oratorical event.
The question which precedes my remarks, however, must be: why was he even speaking at the event? I will not attempt an answer.
My responses, in brief, are these:
- He was actually RIGHT when he said that many atrocities have been committed in the name of religion. Some by people who were actually committed to a perversion of the religion they professed, others by those using religion as an excuse, many by true believers in evil groups professing to be directed by God. I can say unequivocally that there are sinners in EVERY religious group. Romans 3:23 states that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. “All” is a pretty comprehensive term. Christians have sinned. Christians have committed brutality and savagery. But read on.
- He was WRONG when he made favorable comparisons between the cruelties and barbarities of Christianity and Islam. Christians who commit atrocities are perverting the teaching of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught peace, love, holding people accountable, turning the other cheek, and standing firm in the face of persecution, among other notable and noble concepts. One who kills, maims, rapes – even defames – in the Name of Christ is acting contrary to His teaching. There are, of course, many “Christian” leaders who are responsible for much of the hatred and strife. They use their “bully pulpits to bully and teach violence and hatred. Others simply teach little to nothing about what the Bible says. The state of the church is perilous with such leaders. Their punishment is sure. (“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1, ESV). The teaching of Islam, however, (as reported by both believing Muslims and others) is that conversion or death are the only two options for the infidels (defined as anybody that is not only not Muslim, but perhaps even the wrong kind of Muslim).
- Are Christian churches part of the problem? (The reader can supply here whatever problem he/she thinks is most needful of reversal). Absolutely. I have written about this for years. Here is just one example from 2004. The specific topic of this article was homosexual marriage, but it also addresses the loss of a prophetic voice on the part of the church. Things certainly have not gotten better in that regard.
- Christianity is under attack all over the globe – NOW; TODAY. The United States is not excluded from the list of nations in which it is not politically expedient to identify with Jesus Christ. The attacks come from numerous positions. The most obvious and brutal at this moment is the assault of the Islamic fanatics and the silence of the alleged islamic moderates. This is much the same as the situation which occasioned the Crusades. Christianity – western civilization – was under attack by Islam.
Mr. President, the Christian church has its problems. It is not, however, the moral equivalent of beastly, brutal, bloodthirsty, and barbaric Islam. Some commentators and pundits label your relations to the Islamic aggressors to be treasonous. Some call it appeasement. Neither policy is befitting the nation formerly known as the last superpower.
I have some suggestions as to how best to handle the current geo-political morass. You can feel free to respond to this post and we can correspond privately if you wish. I will, however, note the first and most important item from that list.
- PRAYER, to the Lord Jesus Christ.