We live in a dangerous time when Christians are blinded by fear unable to discern the difference between the Gospel and politics. Throughout the decades of the 80’s and 90’s, the Christian faith was reduced to a political movement in close association with the Republican party. This movement became known to many as the “Moral Majority.” I have written before sharing my concern over religious leaders like Pat Robertson who promoted a Gospel of Democracy. I have voiced opposition to right-leaning organizations like the American Family Association who believe freedom comes from political action.

Many young Christians have recognized the failure of the Moral Majority and gone in search of a better way. But instead of returning to Jesus Christ, they are beginning a new era of religious-politics where the vacuum of spiritual meaning is filled with a Messianic Minority. The face of this new left-leaning movement is Barack Obama. Obama’s followers use strong messiah-like imagery and even cite the Scripture to give credence to this new brand of political salvation. The artwork supporting Obama is compelling, as Obama paints himself as the incarnation of hope for America and the world.

Children sing to Obama and trust that he will bring unity to the nations of our world and healing to our planet.

WE’RE GONNA CHANGE THE WORLD
Music and lyrics by Lily Campbell

We’re gonna spread happiness
We’re gonna spread freedom
Obama’s gonna change it
Obama’s gonna lead ‘em

We’re gonna change it
And rearrange it
We’re gonna change the world.

SING FOR CHANGE
Music and lyrics by Kathy Sawada

Now’s the moment, lift each voice to sing
Sing with all your heart!
For our children, for our families,
Nations all joined as one.
Sing for joy and sing abundant peace,
Courage, justice, hope!
Sing together, hold each precious hand,
Lifting each other up;
Sing for vision, sing for unity,
Lifting our hearts to Sing!

YES WE CAN
Music and lyrics by Kathy Sawada

Yes we can
Lift each other up
In peace, in love, in hope
Change! Change!

A much more refined video titled, “An American Prayer” features Hollywood stars as the new “unseen church” praying to Obama that he will remember them when he reaches the top of the political mountain.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVi4rUzf-0Q

jesusobamaI am afraid that the Christian-sponsored support for Obama does not look or sound much different than the videos above. As the influence of the Moral Majority passes into history, a new “spiritual” leadership has come to the fore. Popular pastors like Brian McLaren lead the charge. They claim to be beyond partisan politics, and proof of their “new” way is evidenced, they say, by their endorsement of Obama as the man who can lead us beyond politics into hope. You can read McLaren’s endorsement, or you can read this bit of satire from the “Jesus Manifesto.”

A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for Jesus…not that I agree with everything he stands for. I mean, I am an independent sort of thinker. I am firmly convinced that God is neither a republican or a democrat. But Barack Obama transcends such distinctions. He flies high over such petty concerns on shimmering gossamer wings. Golden light emanates from his perfect form. His smiling eyes looking down upon me with a look that pierces my soul! I get lost in his smile, and long for one of his chiselled arms to hold me close while the other smites a damning blow to poverty and oppression.

Don’t get me wrong. As a Christian, my ultimate hope is in Jesus alone. I don’t trust in politicians or the State to accomplish what the church is called to do–that is to bring transformation and true freedom.

But Barack is a Christian. And I believe that Jesus is pouring his Spirit upon Barack Obama for a time such as this. Barack brings hope in the midst of darkness. He himself is our peace, who has made Republicans and Democrats one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. He is like a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows!

Don’t get me wrong. There are things I don’t like about Barack. For example…he isn’t bold enough in speaking what is on his mind–his illuminated, brilliant mind. It is almost bordering on sinfulness for him not to share his thoughts, for his voice is a gift from heaven. His booming baritone bellows soft mysteries that only angels can truly comprehend. When he speaks, possibilities open. New futures are made possible. Women weep for joy and children laugh with gladness. Wicked men mourn their transgressions and hardened men melt like ice on a hot spring day. Every one of his delicately formed words is its own tender miracle. Why should he hold back a treasure that was meant as a gift to the whole world?

As you can see, I have thought this through. I have weighed the pros and cons and made the choice to vote for Obama–warts and all (of course, I’m being metaphorical, since I am certain no blemish or corruption has ever touched his gorgeous frame).

I encourage you to vote for Obama too. I’m not saying that voting for McCain would be a sin. Nor am I saying that it would be a horrible, disgusting sin for you to not vote at all. But I am saying that to vote for Obama is to vote for Jesus. And to NOT vote for Obama would mean that you don’t love Jesus, the poor, or your own mother. To NOT vote for Jesus would be to render Jesus’ life and message meaningless. That’s all I’m saying.

obamaclerty

This parody is a profound insight into the new politics of faith exhibited in websites like “Clergy for Obama”
and the “Matthew 25 Network”

matthew25

Each website is filled with content that uses Scripture to justify the choice of Obama as God’s candidate with the agenda that best reflects God’s plan for the world. The problem is that these Christians have simply exchanged one political movement (the Moral Majority) for a new one (the Messianic Minority).

  • They have replaced one “chosen” politician (George Bush) with a new one (Barack Obama).
  • The new political-Christian brand has set aside one earthly mission (Family Values), for another earthly mission (Social Justice)
  • They have set aside one political cause (Abortion) for the newest political cuase (Global Warming).
  • They have replaced one spiritual-leader (Jerry Fallwel) for another of the same kind (Brian McLaren)

Both political movements branded with the name of “biblical” fail to bring spiritual satisfaction because both movements are a corruption of the Gospel.

  • Both political movements exchange reliance upon the power of the Spirit with the power of the politician.
  • Both political movements exchange investment in the church as the agent of change with investment in government.
  • Both movements exchange hope in the Kingdom of Christ with hope in American Democracy.

David Flowers in his blog post “Jesus: Change We Have A Hard Time Believing In” puts it this way.

I am convinced that our political “freedoms” are instead a bondage that leads us to reject Christ’s methods of change… only to turn and accept the world’s methods of exhorting power over people. I can see that this marriage of the church to the state by acceptance of its methods… only produces a nominal Christian “religion” where we can all live comfortable while we overcome evil with a vote. We can walk away feeling like we have done someone a favor with our vote. Like we have made a difference by playing in to the system of suppressing evil through law and violence. As if we have been called to confront evil in this manner.

Let me leave you with this thought.

During his busy life as a minister, Edward Mote wrote more than 150 hymn texts. In 1836 he published a collection titled Hymns of Praise which included “The Solid Rock”. I fear that far too many Christians have lost site of this faith in the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ and put their hope in a political figure.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

For my Christians brothers and sisters, I have one question for you. There is only one man who is manifest hope. Do you know his name?

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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