An Apology to My Readers

I have found myself second-guessing the wisdom of posting this picture last night on Facebook. I know many of you saw it and engaged in the extensive discussion that went on about it. I am very conflicted about my statement that Obama is “incompetent.” I should have worded things differently (or just not put the graphic up). Please forgive me as this was out of character, contrary to the approach I encourage people to take in theology. Whether I believed it or not, I would always caution against saying another theologian is incompetent. It is best to just stick to the issues. I did not do that here and was manipulative in my approach. I apologize. I pray for Obama and praise God for whomever he chooses to lead our country.

49 Responses to “An Apology to My Readers”

  1. Thank you for the humility, Michael. To be honest with you, if I would have caught this post last night I would have stopped following this blog. Which would have been a huge bummer since you guys have been such a blessing on my life lately (my wife, best friend, and I have been working through the Church History DVDs and loving them).

    I have been arguing with a friend of mine concerning his apparent attitude towards Obama and others in the Democratic party that he disagrees with. His statements started with “I think he is a terrible President taking our country in a terrible direction.” Which is fine, and I challenged him on a few points. Then it turned into “Obama is an evil doer!” Which was a little extreme, but I guess we are all evil doers. I clarified some points with him, but didn’t engage him in any discussion. The straw that broke the camel’s back was “Obama is has committed abominations during his term!”

    And it is unfortunate, but this is the types of things I hear evangelical church saying right now in the U.S. We can’t seem to just disagree with others. We have placed ourselves in the position of “If you disagree with us, you disagree with God!”

    And that is a scary place to be.

    I find myself struggling with how to be Christ to not only non-believers, but my spiritual brothers as well.

  2. Michael, your humility is refreshing. However, I notice that you only apologize for calling Obama incompetent, but not for calling him a non-Christian, while he has openly verbalized his faith.

  3. Well said, James.

  4. Before you can talk about evil / good or the lesser of two evils, we need to ask one simple question.

    Is this candidate Biblically qualified for the position of civil magistrate. God’s word clearly tells us all of the qualifications needed. Start there. After that, if you still have 2 candidates left, you can debate issues.

  5. It seems to me the honest fact is that if you take the specific personalities out of the question, most evangelical Christians would say the Mormon is going to hell and the liberal Christian, while misguided, will still ultimately receive God’s mercy.

  6. Ahhhh I love these ethical dilemmas we face as Christians:

    Do we vote for a cultist or a socialist?

    Yes, Mormonism is a cult. Lets not back peddle on this point. Don’t forget that Mormonism teaches that ALL of Christendom is apostate and ONLY the Mormon church is correct and has “restored” the true church.

    And B. Hussein Obama is at best a socialist and likely a communist. He is the epitome of a tax and spend liberal. And on moral issues he is CLEARLY AGAINST WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES. (supporting the murder of babies and endorsing sodomy etc…)

    But as with all politics, I tell my 18 year old son, that you vote for the lesser of two evils. You vote AGAINST the person who is most likely to destroy this country. And based on 4 years of evidence the cultist will do far less harm to the country than the socialist.

  7. I have been a very big advocate that Christians remove themselves from membership in secular political parties (SPP). Doesn’t matter which one, if it is secular then the christian doesn’t belong. A verse that wold support that position is ‘What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness’ (memory).

    The objectives of the SPP and the believer are vastly different and the latter needs to really take stock in how their affiliation affects their Christian light. Believers belong to God’s kingdom and it is pretty hard to represent both it and a SPP.

    All SPPs are against what the Bible teaches and their efforts are for earthly gain, earthly power and earthly control of people.

    I amnot for Obama this election BUT I AM against Romney, his beliefs expose his poor judgement and makes me ask the question: Why would anyone want a man in the White House with his finger on the button who believes in MAGIC UNDERWEAR?

    Is it because he is white?

  8. I think Obama is quite incompetent.

    He has never run a business or a city or a state. He advocates already tried and failed economic plans.

    He and his administration are bald faced liars (that cock and bull story about that video when they knew the truth all along). And they are cowards to let those brave men die and not lift a finger to help them. Benghazi, I am speaking about.

    If Obama is competent, then I am the Pope.

  9. “And on moral issues he is CLEARLY AGAINST WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES. (supporting the murder of babies and endorsing sodomy etc…)”

    Here in the UK we just sit with a slightly stunned expression on our faces. We, post-Christian as we are, hadn’t realised that the Bible only teaches on these two issues (as most blog discussions end up implying) and these are the only ones of importance in your election.

  10. I also think Obama is incompetent, deceitful and not a Christian. To those who might be offended by this comment, are you saying that as a Christian I am not ever allowed to criticize wrongs and what is contrary to my beliefs?

    Or are you saying this President is above reproach and his office prohibits anyone from criticism? Theologically his authority is ultimately allowed by God but his authority is under the construct of the Constitution which is the actual authority allowed by God. And under the Constitution his is nothing more than a civil servant of the people and the people has the ultimate authority to criticize the President and remove him from office if necessary.

    So let’s not aggrandize this President or any President more than they are allotted. And it is puzzling to me that those who are offended by critics of Obama often trot out Romans prohibit criticisms of this President, but they ignore all the actions this President takes that is contrary to Scripture.

    And no Obama is not a liberal Christian, he is not a Christian despite his profession. Unless he repents he will be going to hell. It gives me no pleasure to say anyone is going to hell but by whitewashing the unambiguous and absolute requirement of the gospel message is just pure evil.

  11. this very trustworthy statement comes to mind more and more-the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom

  12. Here’s a quote:

    “Then comes Holy Week. The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross.

    And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world — past, present and future — and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection.

    In the words of the book Isaiah: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

    This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this “Amazing Grace” calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of his Son and our Savior.”

    –President Barack Obama, speech at Easter Prayer Breakfast, April 2011.


    Non-Christian? Going to hell? Seriously? Recall: “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

    Also, according to the chart, you’re saying that Mormons are distinct from Non-Christians. Is this an official position?

  13. No. It was somewhat of a given that Mormons are not Christians. It is also somewhat of a given that a president of the US would give such a speech. I am sorry, I am just too skeptical of such things, believing that it could easily be coached. I saw Clinton coached in the same things (and I actually liked Clinton). The question always for me is Is this confession a consistent witness becoming three dimensional in one’s entire life? People are more guilty until proven innocent in my book. And shouldn’t they be? After all, we are born guilty and it is so necessay to give lip service to Christ in our country, ESP for the pres.

    Hope it is true. I hope he truly believes that and that he holds fast this confession until the end. And I hope the same for me too.

  14. Odd that some here call Obama incompetent. How is preventing a second great depression a sign of incompetence? How is saving the auto industry a sign of incompetence? Compare the way the last evangelical president handled Katrina to how this president has handled Sandy. If Obama wins, almost everyone will have health insurance. If he losses, tens of millions will be denied health insurance. Which would Jesus pick?

  15. The reason that I steer clear of politics generally speaking, is that pragmatically silence is often the better part of valor when one is involved in ministry of any kind. The two simply don’t mix well. If you truly trust in God’s sovereignty, then politics become a mute point because ultimately Jesus Christ IS both ruler of all, and His government will reign in the everlasting future. I say my vote is in Him.

  16. @Eric: Easter Prayer Breakfast

    You can’t be serious that because it is tradition that the President rattle off some speech at a Prayer Breakfast that is prove that he is a Christian. Matthew 7:21-23

    Do you want to know what he really believes? Listen to what he says when he is free to speak his mind.
    His non-believing mother is in heaven –
    His mocking of Scripture –

    Warren: At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?
    Obama: Well, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.

    GG: Do you believe in heaven?
    OBAMA: Do I believe in the harps and clouds and wings?
    GG: A place spiritually you go to after you die?
    OBAMA: What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing.
    GG: Do you believe in sin?
    OBAMA: Yes.
    GG: What is sin?
    OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values.
    GG: What happens if you have sin in your life?
    OBAMA: I think it’s the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I’m true to myself and my faith that that is its own reward, when I’m not true to it, it’s its own punishment.

    It is clear the god that Obama believes in is not the God of the Bible. It is himself.

  17. @#9 John Bartlett

    We in america are equally stunned at the lack of reading comprehension (See my post #6) on the part of those in the UK.

    B. Hussein Obama is identified first as a socialist, which, even he, cannot deny and is most likely a communist. (which he may deny, but we all know he is).

    Stealing money from its citizens to give to filthy art projects, supporting the building of mosques, paying off wicked leaders of muslim nations (“foreign aid”) is a MORAL issue. Stealing is wrong in the OT and NT.

    And the abbreviation “etc.” (used after I listed Obama’s support of infanticide and sodomy) means “and so on” or “and so forth: continuing in the same way”. Thus the very point I was making listed initially his thievery of American’s hard earned money, then i mentioned the unbiblical tax and spend deficit spending where you spend more than you make (thus making the BORROWER SERVANT TO THE LENDER)… And only then, did i comment on his support of and payment for the butchering of innocent babies and support of anal sex with filthy sodomites.

    But in my mind the top 2 issues in this election are not abortion and sodomy, but the economy and fighting our true enemy “consistent islam” (consistent meaning those who are actual muslims and do what the koran and their wicked imams teach)

    Pleas, read and comprehend before you feel the need to slam us “yanks”.

  18. While I am happy to deny to the LDS the status of a true church, I am amazed at the confidence with which people around here pontificate about the souls of others. While I would not grant the status of Christian to any community outside of the historic Church and its denominational children and cousins, neither would I be so quick to relegate any particular Mormon (like Romney) to perdition. How do we know what is going on in his heart? I think there are people whose faith is known only to God (Ecc. 12:14; Rom. 2:16). I would also keep in mind texts like Mark 9:38-41, which warn us against making quick judgments against people who are “Jesus followers” yet outside the visible apostolic church. The Mormons read the Bible, and the Holy Spirit is certainly capable of working among them, even while they remain outside the Christian body. When I look at the life of many Mormons, and compare it to that of many “Christians” I know, in light of Matthew 7:20, it certainly gives me pause, and counsels me to be a bit slower to make quick judgments about the souls of others based on their denomination.

    And please, save me the lectures about all the Mormon heresies. I have published in this area, and know that most people who glibly talk about Mormon theology have little clue what they are talking about. While Mormonism is not orthodox by historic standards, they do acknowledge the deity of Christ, his bodily resurrection, salvation by grace, and many central Christian doctrines. They are certainly closer to true Christianity than liberal Protestantism (reach Machen’s classic work).

  19. If Christian are to steer completely clear of politics we probably should live like the Essenes in caves. Paul didn’t shy away from using his Roman citizenship to gain access to share the gospel. Was he being political? I would agree Christians shouldn’t be too political because this really is not our home, but to completely steer clear is not the answer.

  20. Doctrinally Mormonism is certainly flawed and even wrong as to both the Person of Christ and the Trinity of God! But, if a mormon seeks to trust in Christ as Savior, even with his wrong doctrine, of course unknowingly, can he be saved? This is the bottom line and real question!

    Btw, Mormon doctrine does not teach the biblical doctrine of Christ’s divinity, nor the proper bodily resurrection (which includes Christ as Mediator in His Ascension); nor the proper ‘doctrines of grace’!

  21. Fr. Robert,

    I am a fellow Anglican, so I have no desire to cross swords with you! ;) While some of the fine print would reveal differences of detail (points that the Bible does not spell out for us), the fact remains that Mormons do have a robust doctrine of Christ’s real deity (he is the creator of heaven and earth, the God of the OT, and the worthy object of worship with God the Father), they do not spiritualize his resurrection (seeing it as an actual transformation of Jesus’ corpse), and they do affirm the necessity and centrality of God’s grace in salvation (no educated Mormon thinks salvation can be strictly earned by good behavior).

  22. Commenting on that cartoon there.

    I’ve always wondered why conservatives make so many elections so critically important. I mean, come on, get a little perspective here. Who’s in control? God or man? What would happen if O wins? Apocalypse? Judgment day? Hurricane A-Z? Mob attacking our house? What?

    And Paul, how would you think GOD would react being told that “God himself who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves”. Is that less important than the correct Christology? “It’s okay, I can make do being a man becoming God, so long as people accept that my son is also a God”?

  23. We, up here in Canada are getting a great kick out of all the advertising about the upcoming USA election. Some are outright enjoyable some not so much. Just finished reading a piece by Dinish D’Sousa(probably spelled wrong) about the muslims forming a United states of Muslim on that other side of the world. Being a born again believer I believe there is a strong case for the anti-Christ being muslim but we thought Hittler was too! I think an important part of this debate is the fact that there will be a one religion world in the end times, that could only be muslim…so it leads me to be wary because Muslim’s, if they are true to their word, will have every person bow to their god and kill those who don’t. On the other hand, up here in Canada is probably too cold for them, so we will be spared……Vote, and stand firm with your conviction and we’ll leave the rest to tri-une God.

  24. Why does it seem like every now and then we have to have this “is Mormon Christian” debate.

  25. Hey Francis. I would have to ask God that question to know for sure. But my suspicion would be, if someone were to tell God that Joseph Smith thought He was a glorified and exalted man, who had once been mortal in a previous world, that God’s response would be to chuckle, shake his head, and reply: “What a strange idea!” I honestly don’t think God gets as upset about our theological errors as we do. But I could be wrong! If so, I’m probably in some deep trouble, because if it turns out that my views (as a Calvinist) regarding election, predestination, and effectual calling are wrong, and the Arminians are right, then God is likely to be extremely upset at how I have depicted the workings of his grace and providence. I hope, if that turns out to be true, that God will extend to me His mercy.

  26. Paul, your response is certainly gracious. I think of monotheism as one of the most critically important messages conveyed throughout the Bible since the days of Moses — all else, inc. the redemption brought about by Christ, stands or falls because of it. To suggest otherwise (henotheism in the case of Mormonism), to me, is not compatible with the the gospel, at least according to my understanding. I occasionally do think that God may indeed chuckle about our theological errors, but that’s usually when I’m feeling universalist (which is in fact quite often). :)

  27. Well Francis, I don’t disagree with you! I don’t think Mormonism fits very neatly into the monotheism vs. polytheism divide, but it certainly does (at the very least) make the edges of monotheism kind of fuzzy, and I think that is a serious theological problem. I try to be a little cautious though, since Jews and Muslims think it rather obvious that we Christians also deny monotheism (though we don’t).

  28. Paul, I think an accusation of polytheism directed at Trinitarian Christianity has to follow a gross misunderstanding of what Trinity means, although I concede that some Eastern Orthodox writings do make it sound like tritheism.

    On the other hand, Mormons do not reject henotheism when confronted (they do reject polytheism however). The first time I was preached to, I was so shocked that I was at a total loss of words, a sign the two young elders to be willingness to convert… :D

  29. Brothers, we are not political satirists!

  30. By their fruit you will recognize them. Does a Christian value giving adults food stamps over the lives of millions of babies (For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother’s womb?) Does a Christian value pacifism over same sex marriage? What are God’s highest priorities? God can use a Mormon to achieve His purposes–the kings heart is in the hand of the Lord. I’ve prayed for Obama to turn to Jesus but so far I have seen no evidence.

  31. @Paul: I wrote a small piece back to you (hours ago), but I have not yet seen it? I hope it did not get stuck in spam somewhere?

  32. While I am a long time Christian, I do not believe the President of the United States should be elected merely upon our religious preferences. (or not) but upon his ability to govern our country effectively . We Christians may want to believe this is a Christian nation, but actually it is a melting pot of all religions, and the President, regardless of political party or religious preferences. is called to upon govern all equally under the Constitution.

    Let us pray that whoever is elected will be up to that job.

  33. Fr. Robert,

    Hm. The last post I saw from you was #20, which I replied to.

  34. @Paul: I wrote you, or on the subject again yesterday, after #20, again I wonder if it’s in Mike’s spam? I seem to get there sometimes? ;)

  35. You should not be sorry since you have revealed your true feelings. This is a typical statement of white evangelical Christians.

  36. @Francis,

    “although I concede that some Eastern Orthodox writings do make it sound like tritheism.”

    What/who are you referring to?


    40 years ago most American Protestants would strongly agree that all Roman Catholics were going to hell. H – E – double-hockey sticks! Now? Meh, not so much.

    Which such a radical sea-change of one’s theology, you would think that there would be some serious soul-searching going on. Unfortunately, it’s still the same ole same ole: self righteous Protestants, who have already “punched their ticket into heaven”, are standing around trying to decide who is going to heaven and who isn’t, and who is Christian and who isn’t.


    PS: supporting the mass murder of babies in utero should automatically disqualify that person as a candidate!!!

  37. @Pete: The Gospel is not based upon the subjective sense of the sinner! Note, the “kerygma” is not the action of the preacher or the receiver, but the “message” itself, which is Christ: crucified, risen & ascended! And also “faith” here is a gift, (Eph. 2:8).

    Also, we historic Evangelicals, even the Wesley brothers, following Luther, believed in having one’s assurance of salvation. And this is hardly being self-righteous, but only Christ-centred.

  38. We do have the privilege of voting in this country – which means we can be involved with voting but we don’t have to be involved.

    My ballot had a long list under president/vp. I could vote for one of the two likely winners, somebody else, or nobody – my right and privilege. (Note: I already turned in my ballot)

    Most people will vote for one of the top two candidates. One is a man that calls himself a Christian and you could identify a number of things that fit within a “Christian World View.” The other candidate we can identify things that also fit within Christianity and he calls himself a Mormon. Everything in the Credo House programs (The Theology Program, Discipleship Program, Bible Boot Camp) present doctrine and theology that are diametrically opposed to Mormon doctrinal and theology views (once you get beyond the very short sound bites more recently used by Mormons). From “who is God” to “what faith is,” Mormonism is not “Christian.”

    We can vote for a Mormon for president – but we’d be idiotic to not recognize that having a Mormon president will much more legitimatize Mormonism, and will greatly increase those flocking to Mormonism who then will reach out to others who will flock to Mormonism – – tens of millions of people in short order. People I know don’t seem to be talking about that….they just keep talking about the other guy running. Interesting.

  39. @Paul: Again, I really did write you, or again on the subject of Mormonism! I wonder where it went? It said it was sent! But, in essence I would be much less convinced of doctrinal Mormonism then you, as to biblical Christianity. And as I noted I have studied Mormonism personally myself, and have some friends there too. But, yes I believe it possible that a Morman can be saved, if he trusts Christ as Savior, though obviously this can be very imperfect theologically for the Mormon. Though we must not make Mormonism in anyway a form of classic Christianity! Just a few of my thoughts at least. And as I noted I served with a few American Mormons when I was attached to their Marine 3rd Force Recon Co., way back in the Nam (Phu Bia, 1968), when I was a Royal Marine Commando. So my thoughts run deep and real here!

  40. Btw, I much later went to Gulf War 1, in my early 40’s, I retired as a mustang (enlisted to officer), a Captain in the RMC’s (over ten years active, plus reserve time). Later I lived and taught in Israel in the late 90’s. My wife and I are in the USA right now, last several years. I am semi-retired now, as a priest/presbyter, and mostly do hospital chaplain work, but I do get to preach and teach some…I am an Evangelical and somewhat Reformed Anglican. Semper Fi! ;)

    Fr. Robert K. Darby,
    D.Phil., Th.D.

  41. @Pete again: Unfortunately, it’s still the same ole same ole: self righteous Protestants, who have already “punched their ticket into heaven”, are standing around trying to decide who is going to heaven and who isn’t, and who is Christian and who isn’t.

    Well at least I don’t have to worry about you “self righteously” standing around judging which one of us is a “self righteous Protestant” because we already have our tickets punched.

    @Jeff Goodwin: but we’d be idiotic to not recognize that having a Mormon president will much more legitimatize Mormonism….they just keep talking about the other guy running. Interesting.

    I share your sentiment about legitimizing Mormonism, but isn’t voting for Obama legitimizing a false Christianity? They are both non-Christians. They are both going to hell unless they repent. I know people don’t like to hear the word “hell” in this postmodern PC society but telling people the truth is better than a placebo. If all you care about is someone professing association to a label then you really need to reevaluate what you truly believe. No I am not trying to elect my pastor. I am only trying to vote for a person that will align the most to my Biblical values.

  42. I’m a Irish Brit, but it seems voting for Obama is like voting for someone already known for being a liar and a coward… Leaving those to die in Benghazi! This is a fallen world, so one is not voting for a so-called Christian Nation, maybe at one time Great Britain was closer than America here, but that is mute, for both are now pretty much pagan and just postmodern, as Nations!

    The Mormon Romney with the Catholic Ryan is simply the better men!

  43. Politics and religion should probably not mix but a lot of Christians say Mormonism is misguided but it’s still Christian.. basically.. Not sure why they argue about it then.

  44. All subsequent comments aside, I appreciate Michael’s post. I don’t like what Mr. Obama has espoused, and I really hope he does not get a second term as president. However, I must always remind myself that “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” (Prov 21:1). Not always easy to live with, but whether one worldly leader is chosen over another, we are to be salt and light to a fallen world. And part of that includes not spouting off. Thanks, Michael, for the reminder, which we can all use.

  45. There’s a saying: Tell the truth. Then leave town immediately.

    Good to see someone tell the truth. Don’t apologize for it.

  46. @Pete: Though I am a Brit, I like read about both American history and the political. And Obama is simply the worst modern American president in my lifetime, and I can remember seeing President Dwight Eisenshower at the Irish movie news in the 50’s.

    Let me recommend the movie 2016 (it was given to us), indeed Obama is simply anti-colonial, and at best a liberal Christian. It is my prayer that Romney/Ryan will win, but GOD is Sovereign!

  47. On November 6th, who will I vote for?

    I will vote for the most pro-life candidate, because God hates the shedding of innocent blood (Prov.6:17).

    I will vote for the most pro-Israel candidate, because God blesses those who bless Abraham & curses those who don’t (Gen.12:3).

    I will vote for the most pro-debt reduction candidate, because the borrower is servant to the lender (Prov.22:7).

    I will vote for the most pro-work candidate because God says if a man will not work , neither should he eat. (2Thess.3:10)

    I will vote for the candidate who most closely believes government’s purpose is to reward the good & punish the evil (Romans 13).

    I will vote based as close as I can on God’s Word (2Tim.3:16). Knowing that whoever gets elected, God is the one who has ordained all authority (Dan.2:21).

    May God have mercy on America. I will [have] vote[d].

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