Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jesus Saves... Not!

Jeff provided this tidbit from Steve Waldman’s article in Christianity Today:

“Last March when polls reported that 10% of the population thought Barack Obama was Muslim, I counseled calm: Obama is a new character on the scene. As people get to know him, that percentage will decline.

"Instead, it’s gone up. The newest poll from the Pew Research Center showed that 13% now believe he’s Muslim - and a staggering 19% of McCain supporters believe him to be Muslim. Only 48% of Republicans say Obama is Christian (the balance is unsure).

"This is truly frightening - not so much because of the implications for Obama but because of what it says about how we as Americans consume information. With more time, and more information swimming about, the public has become progressively less well informed.”

I took a gander through the responses to Steve’s entry. I also checked out more of the ongoing debate of whether Barack Obama is a Christian or not (and apparently, as the logic goes, if he is not a Christian he must be Muslim – strange logic to be sure).

While Steve is fascinated by the “how we get our news” factor, I’m more taken by how many Christians really, really, really want to believe that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross does not save people.

Or, at the least, that Jesus is only a minor ingredient in the salvation mix.

Tim Keller would talk about “Jesus and…” types of Christianity.

What do you need to be saved?

Jesus and the right style of baptism.

Jesus and the correct translation of the Bible.

Jesus and the Church hierarchy.

Jesus and social action.

Jesus and earthly prosperity.

Jesus and being pro-life.

Jesus and the correct politics.

Now, being under the Lordship of Jesus might lead you to such “ands” – from the mundane of the right kind of baptism, to the critical issues such as life and choice.

But the core is, always was, and always shall be – Jesus. Just Jesus.

Obama says that he submitted to Jesus, that he is a sinner who has been redeemed through the act of Jesus dying on the cross.

He may be wrong at the moment on a lot of issues. For example, I think he is off on his views on abortion.

But when (I’m an optimist) he realizes his error and changes his stance, that will not make him a Christian.

If he became a Republican, that would not make him a Christian.

If he decided that war, after all, is the answer, that would not make him a Christian.

Even if he donated money to TBN, that would not make him a Christian.

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Just my thoughts,



David Goulet said...

Great little sermon, Sean.

I like to think we're all saved, some of us just are more aware than others and that colours our approach to this life.

I may be a practising Catholic, but I see that merely as my starting point -- no different than someone who gets 'saved' at a an evangelical crusade.

Salvation is a journey and the guy leading us on that journey is Jesus. As the expression goes, "all else is commentary".

Gaffney said...

I think it was Barbara Nicolosi that pointed out the difference between Catholics and Protestants when telling their "God Story" (or "testimony"): Protestants end their story when they meet God; Catholics start their story when they meet God.