We don't, but we should.


Edit: after posting I realized that this could come across as political in nature. I didn't intend that. At all. I mean at all, at all. I meant to discuss my disagreement with the content of the Wilcox quote and not President Obama's faith or demonstration of his faith. This is not a critique of Obama or Obama bashing - I just think that Christians ought to be easy to spot in public because we ought to behave differently. How that applies to the President is another matter. The title has nothing to do with the President.

While reading an article this morning regarding polling on President Obama's religious views I came across this quote from Dr. Clyde Wilcox, professor of government at Georgetown University:

"It's a troubling thing," Wilcox said. "I think it would be good for all of us to stop invading the president's spiritual privacy. We don't know what anyone's true faith is. It doesn't tell us about what their true core values are."

We don't know what anyone's true faith is.

Goodness. We certainly should.

The Book of James (ch.1) tells us, " If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

John chapter 2 tells us this, "But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard."

These are not easy words. I don't like reading them. It forces me to do something I hate: examine my own heart. I don't like doing that because I don't like what I find. James and John make it easy: examine your behavior. Your behavior demonstrates the nature of your heart.

Do you claim faith in Jesus? Good. Then you should be looking after the helpless. You should be unpolluted by the world in which we live. You ought to walk (live like) Jesus. Then the rest of us will know what you believe. Oh, and this is nothing new - it's been this way from the get go.

I know what lot's of people's true faith is. It's actually not that hard. You just look at what they do. Give people grace - don't just look at an instant - look at their whole life. Don't just examine their failures. And goodness, take a look at yourself before you level the critical gaze.

We don't know what anyone's true faith is. It doesn't tell us about what their true core values are.

But it should. I can't speak for any other faith - but for those who claim to follow Jesus - our lives ought to make it really easy. And it has nothing to do with how we vote in November. It ought to be the easiest question in the world: "Is Brandon a Christian?"

Lord, let me live in such a way that people can answer without hesitation.


Austen Fan said...

I agree for the most part. At the same time though there are those people who do many good works and look very "Christian," but in their heart rely on those works rather than Christ for salvation. In that way I can see what Wilcox is saying about not knowing what someone's true faith is. Only God really knows a person's heart and their motivations for doing those good works.

Mark said...

We can make assumptions (personal judgements) about someone's true faith, but only God knows. I think we spend too much time judging others; we can judge their behavior objectively, but judging their soul is beyond us. There is plenty to criticize about Obama's behavior without speculating about his faith.

But then again I'm believed by many to be a heathen due to my Roman Catholicism...

Mike Messerli said...

great post.