Obama’s Church

Barack Obama, in my opinion, has a credible profession of faith. (See the post on that interview with Christianity Today a few days ago.) This is confirmed by the Christian network on Capitol Hill. But the church he goes to is off the wall with its liberation theology. See this account of the congregation.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Obama appears to be essentially a Universalist. But he wouldn’t be the first of those in the White House.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Obama appears to be essentially a Universalist. But he wouldn’t be the first of those in the White House.

  • Don S

    If I recall correctly from your post of a few days ago, he seems to mix faith in Christ with works here on Earth. In other words, it doesn’t seem that he believes faith alone in Christ alone.

  • Don S

    If I recall correctly from your post of a few days ago, he seems to mix faith in Christ with works here on Earth. In other words, it doesn’t seem that he believes faith alone in Christ alone.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    A few points on the article. On the one hand, it states that “just about the only time you see [Democrats] going to church is when they’re posing for the cameras while addressing a black Baptist congregation,” and then notes that “for over 20 years, Sen, Obama has been a faithful member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ.” Hard to have it both ways — either Obama can be strongly tied to this church and its questionable teachings, or he rarely goes there. Can’t be both, though.

    The article then asserts that “when the candidates are Republicans, you might get the idea that the members of the MSM were boning up for their theology exams,” citing Romney, Huckabee, and Giuliani (I heard a lot more on religious beliefs from the first two than the last one, but hey).

    Who’s missing? McCain! About whose beliefs I know as little as I do Clinton’s. He was an Episcopalian at one point, but apparently to the surprise of his staff claimed this year to have been a Baptist for a long time. Certainly nobody’s scouring his church’s Web site for a theological review.

    Does McCain’s church believe in “faith alone in Christ alone”? Hard to say. They do emphasize that by “surrendering your life to God’s purposes, you can begin a personal relationship with Jesus.”

    Anyhow, perhaps the first half of the article is so much padding, not meant to be taken seriously, while the point is to acknowledge the problems with Obama’s church. Fair enough.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    A few points on the article. On the one hand, it states that “just about the only time you see [Democrats] going to church is when they’re posing for the cameras while addressing a black Baptist congregation,” and then notes that “for over 20 years, Sen, Obama has been a faithful member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ.” Hard to have it both ways — either Obama can be strongly tied to this church and its questionable teachings, or he rarely goes there. Can’t be both, though.

    The article then asserts that “when the candidates are Republicans, you might get the idea that the members of the MSM were boning up for their theology exams,” citing Romney, Huckabee, and Giuliani (I heard a lot more on religious beliefs from the first two than the last one, but hey).

    Who’s missing? McCain! About whose beliefs I know as little as I do Clinton’s. He was an Episcopalian at one point, but apparently to the surprise of his staff claimed this year to have been a Baptist for a long time. Certainly nobody’s scouring his church’s Web site for a theological review.

    Does McCain’s church believe in “faith alone in Christ alone”? Hard to say. They do emphasize that by “surrendering your life to God’s purposes, you can begin a personal relationship with Jesus.”

    Anyhow, perhaps the first half of the article is so much padding, not meant to be taken seriously, while the point is to acknowledge the problems with Obama’s church. Fair enough.

  • Joe

    tODD – I don’t think the author is trying to have it both ways. The first statement is a statement about Democrats in general and the second statement is about Obama. Reading the two statements simply means that unlike Democrats in general Obama actually belongs to a church and attends it regularly. I really don’t see a contradiction. It may be an incorrect statement about Democrats in general but there is nothing contradictory about stating a general proposition and then discussing one who does not fit the generalization.

    I agree with you that McCain is getting a pass on religion. Obama is too. McCain’s free pass makes sense because he has not made his religion a part of his campaign. On the other hand Obama has (to a lesser degree than some), but he is still getting a pass. That is what I don’t understand.

  • Joe

    tODD – I don’t think the author is trying to have it both ways. The first statement is a statement about Democrats in general and the second statement is about Obama. Reading the two statements simply means that unlike Democrats in general Obama actually belongs to a church and attends it regularly. I really don’t see a contradiction. It may be an incorrect statement about Democrats in general but there is nothing contradictory about stating a general proposition and then discussing one who does not fit the generalization.

    I agree with you that McCain is getting a pass on religion. Obama is too. McCain’s free pass makes sense because he has not made his religion a part of his campaign. On the other hand Obama has (to a lesser degree than some), but he is still getting a pass. That is what I don’t understand.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m personally troubled by the claim that Obama can adhere to the Gospel, and yet consistently attend a church that denies it.

    Somehow that seems to indicate what I’d gently call “country & western Christianity,” where the singer will give loud credit to Jesus while living in sin with multiple girlfriends. The Gospel is good enough to sell records (or get votes), but not good enough to affect one’s life otherwise.

    And then you’ve got his stands on abortion and such. This is the mark of someone who understands Genesis 1:27 exactly how?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m personally troubled by the claim that Obama can adhere to the Gospel, and yet consistently attend a church that denies it.

    Somehow that seems to indicate what I’d gently call “country & western Christianity,” where the singer will give loud credit to Jesus while living in sin with multiple girlfriends. The Gospel is good enough to sell records (or get votes), but not good enough to affect one’s life otherwise.

    And then you’ve got his stands on abortion and such. This is the mark of someone who understands Genesis 1:27 exactly how?

  • Greg

    Bike Bubba raises an interesting question? Can one be a thoughtful intellectually honest Christian and be pro-choice? I think not.

  • Greg

    Bike Bubba raises an interesting question? Can one be a thoughtful intellectually honest Christian and be pro-choice? I think not.

  • CRB

    Bike Bubba
    I really don’t find it very amazing as I think that is the
    confession of many who are professed “Christians” though the same will probably claim, “ignorance.”
    The problem is, “ignorance is *not* bliss” when it comes to eternal life!!

  • CRB

    Bike Bubba
    I really don’t find it very amazing as I think that is the
    confession of many who are professed “Christians” though the same will probably claim, “ignorance.”
    The problem is, “ignorance is *not* bliss” when it comes to eternal life!!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Actually, Greg & CRB, my biggest issue with Obama is not abortion, though certainly that’s huge. My big issue is “how can a truly believing Christian find fellowship with those who flat out deny the Gospel?” (the UCC arguably does, as does liberation theology in all its mutations)

    A friend of mine, and seminary president, points out that all too often, people separate from liberal churches on the basis of moral stands instead of the denial of the Gospel. I wonder if that affliction haunts the congressional professed Christians, too.

    Put differently, support of prenatal infanticide does not in itself consign a man to Hell. Denial of the Gospel does. What, then, does fellowship with those who deny the Gospel say about a man’s faith?

    Do we need a St. Nicholas to slap some sense into this semi-Arius here?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Actually, Greg & CRB, my biggest issue with Obama is not abortion, though certainly that’s huge. My big issue is “how can a truly believing Christian find fellowship with those who flat out deny the Gospel?” (the UCC arguably does, as does liberation theology in all its mutations)

    A friend of mine, and seminary president, points out that all too often, people separate from liberal churches on the basis of moral stands instead of the denial of the Gospel. I wonder if that affliction haunts the congressional professed Christians, too.

    Put differently, support of prenatal infanticide does not in itself consign a man to Hell. Denial of the Gospel does. What, then, does fellowship with those who deny the Gospel say about a man’s faith?

    Do we need a St. Nicholas to slap some sense into this semi-Arius here?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Bike Bubba (@8), you asked “What, then, does fellowship with those who deny the Gospel say about a man’s faith?” I don’t know, you tell me: Is Obama saved or not?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Bike Bubba (@8), you asked “What, then, does fellowship with those who deny the Gospel say about a man’s faith?” I don’t know, you tell me: Is Obama saved or not?

  • CRB

    tODD,
    The question that needs to be answered is the question
    the Scripture answers: “Is false teaching harmful to one’s faith?” Scripture would say unequivocally, “Yes!!” And if one adheres to false teaching, the end result is eternal separation from God.

  • CRB

    tODD,
    The question that needs to be answered is the question
    the Scripture answers: “Is false teaching harmful to one’s faith?” Scripture would say unequivocally, “Yes!!” And if one adheres to false teaching, the end result is eternal separation from God.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    CRB (@10), a fine question (though I do not agree that all false teaching results in damnation, even if it is always harmful). I assume it will be applied evenly and fairly to all presidential candidates, as I believe we can find fault with all of their professions of faith and/or affiliated churches. Except we don’t really seem to be doing that. Just talking about Obama and Romney, really. Huh.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    CRB (@10), a fine question (though I do not agree that all false teaching results in damnation, even if it is always harmful). I assume it will be applied evenly and fairly to all presidential candidates, as I believe we can find fault with all of their professions of faith and/or affiliated churches. Except we don’t really seem to be doing that. Just talking about Obama and Romney, really. Huh.

  • CRB

    True!

  • CRB

    True!


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