Bible Teaching aimed at helping you enjoy the Scriptures which are the Word of GOD!
Preaching by: John J. Malone, Sr - JABSBG*
Due to the controversy surrounding the faith of Barack Obama, a.k.a. Barry Soetoro, a.k.a. POTUS, the subject arises of how can we know if someone is a Christian or not.
Listening to the pundits, such as Rush Limbaugh, the matter becomes more confusing, not less. For instance, yesterday Limbaugh was citing a poll that fewer and fewer Americans believe Obama is a Christian, and more and more of them think he is a Muslim. Today, Limbaugh is claiming that President Clinton was very obviously a Christian. This coming from a guy that couldn’t tell you the second thing about “Christian,” and yet Christians listen to him far more than they do their own preachers.
I seem to remember that, during the campaign of 2008, the subject of Obama’s Christianity arose. Now, In American politics, the quality of someone’s Christian faith doesn’t really arise in large public discussions. All sorts of sectarian church memberships are accepted as Christian, and pretty much that is that. President Reagan ran as a Christian, and then stories emerged that he became one after he was shot. President Bush was accorded Christian standing on the basis of his Episcopalian church affiliation, and became better known when he claimed in the public debates that Jesus Christ was the most influential person to him because “He changed my life.” Nixon was a Quaker. Kennedy was Catholic. And so forth.
If I remember correctly, the question of Obama’s Christianity arose at the time of the Iowa caucuses, and our own Nebraska Senator former Governor Ben Nelson stepped up to certify to us that Obama was a Christian. Forget for the moment that Nelson’s Christian credentials in Nebraska come as a surprise to many of us. Among Christian circles in which I have moved in Omaha, Nelson has ridden in on the Christian coattails of politically and socially ambitious Christian women, one of whom has made her “Christian career” to accept Roman Catholics into Bible-teaching churches, even to the point of placing them occasionally in the pulpit.
So, from my view, Obama’s Christian testimony comes from someone – a US Senator! – whose Christian testimony comes from a woman that I know, and her friends, who will admit anyone that says, “I believe in God, and I am a Christian” to actually be a Christian.
Now my standard of Christian testimony is no narrower than the Bible’s. When Jesus asked his disciples who people said He was, and then who THEY said He was, Peter answered simply, and correctly. When Jesus told Martha, at the occasion of her brother Lazarus’ death and subsequent resurrection from the dead, that He is “the resurrection, and the life,” she correctly answered him , just as Peter did.
I have traveled Obama’s fatherland extensively, having been involved in Kenya as a business man and preacher for above 17 years now. During the campaign, while I was in Kenya, every man-Njoroge of them believed Obama was a Kenyan. They did not understand the unique provision in US constitutional law concerning natural birth. In fact, in public marketplaces, unknown Kenyans would come up to me, and simply shout “OBAMA!” into my face. They named large beers after him. In the US, you may run down to the nearby gas station or convenient mart for a “40.” In Kenyan bars, and slums, guys were knocking down “Obamas.” Beyond merely being Kenyan, Obama is regarded there as a Luo. In fact, after the US-supported (some even say sponsored) referendum to alter the Kenyan constitution – held on Obama’s birthday – Obama is qualified to be the President of Kenya. While there is no question about that, questions still linger whether he’s qualified by his birth, or even citizenship, to be President of the United States.
Obama is no doubt beholding to his Luo tribesmen, who at the very least can be expected to get his back if anyone besides Jerome Corsi travels there to investigate. Corsi was thrown out of the country. During the Kenyan elections, when the controversy arose concerning rigged results, it was the US that pressed Luo “cousin” Raila Odinga – a physically powerful man who loves race cars, was trained in Russia, and for years was rumored to be “KGB” – into a hastily created “Prime Minister” position in order to give the second largest tribe in Kenya a stake in the government, devolve the Kenyan presidency, and satisfy the militant Luo political forces which threatened to set the nation ablaze after Mwai Kibaki’s rigging-stained “election.”
Odinga’s supporters insist to this day he won the election. He was aided and abetted in his campaign not only by Obama visits, but by the political strategies designed by Dick Morris. Morris seems to pose these days as if conservative, but it puzzles me because he was a chief Clinton strategist. Well, he’s yesterday’s liberal, so I suppose now he IS a conservative.
It’s amazing to me that, in America, the most powerful nation on earth, we are being served up consecutive Democratic Presidents with questionable parentages. What a coincidence. What an anomaly. Who would have ever guessed?
But Obama’s US citizenship credentials are only disturbing at an earthly level. We who study the Scriptures understand that in the times we live, there will be all sorts of problematic people running about in our times, even including traitors in the list.
His credentials as a Christian are far, far more suspect, but much more easily sorted out. There must be some kind of profession of faith in Jesus Christ. That’s the credential, and the only credential. That profession is not about whether or not one is “Christian.” Other people called believers “Christians.” Christians professed the Lord Jesus Christ for Who He is. Historically, that is done in Christian baptism.
We know Obama was born to a Kenyan father. Reportedly, he was a Muslim, even if a nominal one. I was born to a Roman Catholic father, ad adult “convert” who had no faith, and joined that organization to make my mom and her family happy. That organization inducted me into its membership by way of infant christening, and from there I was indoctrinated in the Roman Catholic religion. I don’t know anything about Muslim rites at birth, but I understand if you’re born to a Muslim father, you’re accepted as a Muslim, at least by them. Then, Obama was reportedly later adopted as Barry Soetoro, and was indoctrinated in Islam. In my case, I became a Christian – by profession alone – in 1975. I was immersed in water a couple of years later, making a public statement of my faith before assembled witnesses.
Does Obama have a baptism record of any kind? Someone had to be watching his baptism, if indeed he was baptized. “Barack Obama, have you been baptized since you believed?” Obama’s home church, Trinity United Church of Christ, is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, which has a relatively stringent view of adult baptism, requiring as they do the recitation and belief of the Apostle’s Creed. At Easter time, they ask their members to recite it. I understand Obama can recite in clear Arabic whatever one of the five “prayers” are that Muslims recite daily. I wonder if he would recite the Apostle’s Creed, like any good UCC member would do?
I find it very interesting that Obama’s home church is just now featuring former Omaha Salem Baptist Church pastor Maurice Watson on their web site. While I was not happy to learn of Watson’s Jesuit training at Creighton University, when I asked him directly about his faith not so many years ago, he was quick to tell me that, concerning salvation, he believed in “sola fide (faith alone)” and “sola scriptura (Scripture alone).” That’s not too far from the very solid “Grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone.” Watson conducted “revival” meetings at Obama’a former home church.
So Trinity (Chicago) UCC at least welcomes someone whose first thought is not “Liberation Theology,” which, by the way, has its roots in Jesuit teaching. Large churches like Chicago’s Trinity are a complex mix within their congregations. No black church in America can long even call itself “Christian,” and feature ONLY the kind of politically charged preaching of a Jeremiah Wright, or a Jesse Jackson, or a Martin Luther King, Jr. Nevertheless, this particular church, where, let’s face it, people like Barack Obama probably had only the most tangential attachment, is thoroughly imbued with eth leaven of Herod, and therefore has as its primary focus not the Scriptures of God, but the plans and political strategies of men.
Just like large churches that are predominately white, large black churches that appeal to the growing black middle and upper middle classes feature a jumbled mess of doctrine, and a thorny mix of saved and lost.
If Obama is Christian, he has something of the kind of experience of faith in Christ that all Christians have. “Once I was lost, now I’m found.” It would be nice to trace it out historically. People should ask him plainly when he first made a profession of faith in Christ, and if he was baptized, when and where. Simple questions, and easy answers for a Christian. But if that’s too complex, and he has fuzzy recollections, or lack of knowledge, that’s still no problem.
Someone should just ask him the simple question posed to Peter by Jesus Christ: “Who do YOU say that I am?” That will settle the whole issue.
Will someone ask him? I doubt it.
Man has been so unfaithful to the covenant God made with him after the Deluge of Noah’s day that he no longer believes God will keep His end of the deal.
I’ve written here before about the Noahic Covenant God made with man after the great Deluge 1656 years after Adam.
That covenant provided assurance to man that God would not curse the ground as he had done under Adam, and neither would He ever again destroy every living as He did in the deluge.
Since that time, but especially in the last many years, all of mankind has failed to live up to its end of this covenant, which is, briefly comprehended : (1) eat meat, but not blood (don’t be or become a vegetarian) ; (2) execute murderers (capital punishment) ; and, (3) be fruitful and multiply (have plenty of children).
These provisions are not burdensome, and they are not optional.
The first is a change of diet. This no doubt altered the culture of man to a great extent. Because the Deluge was God’s judgment for man deeply involving himself with demon spirits, resulting in the corruption of the genetic code of the race, we suspect that the alteration of diet from herbs and grains to also include meat is significant on a number of levels.
For instance, it certainly reminds man that blood must be shed to give him life, and that is a reminder of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus, Who is our life. Again, it likely has a relationship to the forbidden communion with demons that marked the era prior to the deluge. It is not mere coincident that vegetarianism – the forbidding of meat – travels as a companion with the demon religions of the east. Both Hinduism, which explicitly teaches the divinity of man , and Buddhism are obvious examples. These religions mark a departure from the covenant with Noah, and the rest of us, by God.
An addition to this alteration of diet was the forbidding of “bloods.”
The second is capital punishment. This provision forms the basis for human government, because “by man” was the murderers sentence to be carried out. Men needed to organize themselves civilly in order to carry out this sentence. This provision was an alteration from the time prior to the flood. In that era (dispensation), God marked Cain and forbade his execution. Nonetheless, violence filled the earth. Therefore, the change was needed in order for God to carry out his pledge.
The third final provision of this covenant was a carry-over from the previous dispensation, and that is a command to be fruitful, and multiply: to fill the earth.
Now man is obliged to hold and advance these three principles. It’s not a huge agenda. Nevertheless, we are seeing a constant and driven tendency to dismiss them all.
First, vegetarianism and dietary restrictions on meat-eating is a growing phenomenon. I have little doubt that this tendency is producing more and more illegal communion with demon spirits, even those who so commune may not realize it. When I was a college student, listening far, far too intently to my professors, I discovered late in my college years that I was accumulating, unthinkingly, a stash of demon-inspired literature, including the works of Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, and more contemporary successors, who likewise repackaged teachings of the demon-inspired, such as Madame Blavatsky and others.
For more than 25 years now, when I meet a vegetarian convert, I elucidate from them their views on capital punishment, abortion, and marriage. It’s nearly unanimous to them that abortion is up to the woman, that capital punishment should be outlawed, and that there is an over-population problem on earth. Even they become surprised when I can predict their views.
Why is this? Demon-inspired teaching. They don’t even realize it themselves, because to a one, they are ignorant of the Scriptures.
Second, capital punishment for first-degree murder has been under siege for a very long time. In the early 70′s the US Supreme Court banned it. Today, there are perhaps only 25% of nations that practice capital punishment for murder. Even then, many of these have laws on the books, but the practice is so infrequent as to be non-existent. There is no country in Europe that will execute a murderer.
In so doing, these states relinquish the God-given basis for their existence, and will reap accordingly. In our day we are seeing states come into existence and terminate at such a rapid pace that we cannot even track them. This entire scenario is due in a large part to ignoring the simple basis God has laid down for man’s self-rule.
People argue the value of execution to reduce murder, it’s effect on violent crime and so forth. But the base reason for the commandment to all nations from God is that man is in the image of God. So far gone are the western nations that once held the Bible as the standard of truth that to even discuss this premise is seen by them as folly.
Third, we have the hostility of modern man to everything related to being fruitful and multiplying, thus filling the earth. This hostility is shown in many ways: populations control, support and advancement of abortion, and the destruction of marriage.
The evidence is overwhelming that man has been hostile to the arrangements God made after the Deluge. God signified His side of the bargain by putting a rainbow in the sky, which rainbow can be seen from time to time throughout the world. In addition to the symbol of His promise to not destroy all life as He once did, God also promised the permanence of the seasons.
So unfaithful has man been to his side of these arrangements that now, he suspects God to be unfaithful to his own. “Professing to be wise,” man has become a complete fool, turning to serve the creation instead of the Creator, and running headlong into male and female homosexuality. It is as if man attributes his own unfaithfulness to God, and no longer trusts Him to superintend His own creation. It is so outrageous now, that the chief science adviser to the President of the United States announces that man must discharge metals into the atmosphere to ward off the destruction of the cycle of regular seasons!
Running headlong into national apostasy, the formerly Christianized Western world says to the Lord Jesus Christ, in effect, “We will not have this man to rule over us.”
Indeed, the fear of God is no longer upon the hearts of these nations, including our own. They rush to destruction. They fail to heed the long-standing counsel of God.
One might well ask if there is any hope. Well, that depends upon where you have placed your hope. If you have placed your hope in this world, you have trusted a shaking reed that will only pierce through your hand. Fear and trembling will come upon you like the labor pains of a delivering mother. On the other hand, if you have placed you hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God Who loved you while you were yet his enemy, and Who died for you, then look up, and be of good cheer, for you redemption draws near: the resurrection of your mortal body.
For the Lord Jesus will one day have his enemies in derision. He will break them into many pieces like a clay pot with a rod of iron that issues from his hand. Those broken clay vessels will be pieced together like Bizarro characters while those who have received Him and trusted Him will reign with him, gloriously fashioned like He is, in His glorious, resurrected body.
If Jesus Christ is not risen, we are of all men most foolish, having discarded the hopes of this present evil age, which exalts God’s enemies. But Jesus Christ IS risen out from the dead, declared by God in power to be the Son of God. This gives an otherwise disquieted heart the kind of peace which passes all understanding.
Watching events in Kenya develop and transpire by way of reading news reports may be convenient and interesting, but it’s not fun, nor does it present an accurate picture. One must read far more between the lines of print than in them.
For instance, today I read of an account where US Ambassador Michael Rannerger met with George Saitoti at the Serena Hotel, and that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made phjone calls to President Kibail and Raila Odinga, I had to laugh just a little to myself. US officials are once again on the end of the artful dodge of Kenyan politicians, who have known for years that time is always on their side, and that outwardly formal and polite intransigence will always pay handsome rewards.
I received Christ, and therefore eternal life, in 1975. When 1976 rolled around, Jimmy Carter was running for President, it was the Bi-Centennial, and the Cincinnati Reds were the “Big Red Machine.”
Carter more or less shocked the country with his declaration that he was a “Born Again Christian.”
My little world got rocked at that time because I was President of the student body of the university I attended. The campus newspaper decided I was news because I was being baptized as an adult.
At that very time, the Lord called me away from the life of a politician, despite having a warm invitation to pursue that career by the Governor of Nebraska. Ever since that time, I have been somewhat of a student of the correct relationship a Christian – including a Christian preacher – should maintain with respect to temporal government.
The Leaven of Herod.
The first problem with temporal government for the believer is the “leaven of Herod,” about which the Lord warned. While it is not the only leaven – there are two others: of the Pharisees, and of the Sadducees – it is a peculiar one, for it is a teaching that improperly weds the believer to the world system.
These three leavens have “leavened the whole lump,” just as foretold in the the parable.
The directive that we are to be in the world, but not of the world, is difficult to navigate, but by grace through faith , the Spirit of God will lead us through.
The leaven of Herod is the teaching that we need to be part of the world’s political system in order to be faithful before God. It teaches that God wants his people to occupy important positions of leadership in the world system. It teaches that it is the agenda of God’s people to ” make the world a better place.” It teaches that the greatest good for the greatest number is the guiding principle of Scripture.
The Lord warned us to beware of this leaven, but we also know that it has successfully leavened the whole lump. It is now a matter of personal governance to be faithful in the matter of avoiding this leaven.
God Provides Human Government.
Because we are in an age, designed by God, wherein he tolerates much evil-doing in order to, in his mercy, allow the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ to reach his enemies, many overlook God’s superintendence not only of His creation, but of the affairs of men.
Rest assured that God will do all that is necessary in this present age to hold up the dispensational framework necessary to afford that proclamation. Part of that framework involves the “ powers that be” – human governments – which are ordained of God in order to secure God’s purpose. Nothing escapes His planning and arrangement.
On occasion, this is a very difficult concept to accept and hold. We know from Scripture “the whole world system” lies in the hands of the evil one. But holding the thought of God’s superintendence of the age, His planning of the ages, and the consideration that these ages are framed by the Word of God , with the expressed purpose of revealing the Lord Jesus Christ to an unbelieving world – finally visibly – and at the same time understanding the heavenly conflict against that disclosure, is required for Christians to be effective witnesses and soldiers in that conflict.
Suddenly, our mind-share is diverted to the grizzly and gory meditation of a non-virtual, first-person shooter named Cho Sueng Hui, in a life-is-just-like-animation scenario.
Cho demonstrated a many features of demented – let’s call it depraved – human nature. Extreme violence, “religious preoccupations,” a Messiah complex, obsession, schizophrenia, mania, withdrawal, flat affect.
This guy exhibited, apparently, all sorts of behavior that we have come to categorize as pathology with various labels.
There was a certain knowable – even predictable – psychology about this fellow, and that knowledge on the part of others will no doubt be the stuff of lawsuits in and around Blacksburg Virginia for some years to come.
I actually don’t have much to say to add to this discussion, and I won’t boor you with regurgitations of the obvious, or for matters not directly observable by me.
However, there are three matters about this fellow that disturb me that I haven’t read or heard much about.
Here’s a chronicle of a local instance of apostasy, and an observation of the mystery of inquity working.
Here in Nebraska, we have another death penalty controversy going on, fronted by newly appointed chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Brad Ashford, who has taken over for Ernie Chambers in that capacity.
Chambers has attempted to end the death penalty in Nebraska every year he has served in the legislature. That is now well above 30 years.
One of the practices I left behind when I received Christ as Savior 32 years ago was the keeping of the “Lenten season.”
The wholesale adoption of this Roman Catholic version of ancient pagan practice by what was once Protestantism is indicative of the departure that marks our day.
Now let me be clear here: I have no qualm with anyone’s religious practice, within civil bounds. If someone wants to re-enact the weeping for Tammuz, or some other pagan practice, I consider them free to do so.
My issue with “Lent” is the Christianizing of it: the attempt by ignorant or dishonest men to sell the practice to the unsuspecting as if it had to do with faith in Jesus Christ.