Is Obama a Christian? During the interview he described Jesus as a “bridge between God and man.” This description does not offer much theological clarity, but it is not incompatible with Christian orthodoxy. In fact, evangelicals who want to condemn this language for being too liberal, vague or wishy-washy may recall that the “Four Spiritual Laws,” an evangelism tool made popular by Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, uses similar “bridge” language in its gospel presentation.
On the other hand, Obama never affirms the historic orthodox belief that Jesus Christ is divine. Obama’s Jesus is a “historical figure” and a “wonderful teacher.” Fair enough. But here Obama sounds a lot like Thomas Jefferson, the author of The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, his famous “cut and paste” Bible in which he removed all the acts of Jesus that could not be explained through natural laws.
Obama’s views on sin (“being out of alignment with my values”), the afterlife, and hell all seem to be rather weak when compared to the historic teachings of Christianity.
In the past, I have defended Obama’s Christianity. His discussion of his conversion and his willingness to bring Christian themes to bear on policy was, and still is, convincing. But I must admit that this interview has caused me to wonder whether or not I was too hasty in my affirmation of him as a Christian presidential candidate.
Don’t get me wrong. I am in no position to judge whether or not Obama is a Christian. That is between him and God. Obama claims he is a Christian and I am inclined to believe him. But if one defines Christianity in terms of the historic orthodox beliefs of the Christian church as embodied in the Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, and the early church fathers, then Obama’s answers in the Falsani interview should at least raise some questions.
If Obama is indeed heterodox, he would be in good company. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Abraham Lincoln shared some similar religious views. This, of course, did not disqualify them from being good presidents.