In His Own Words

Is Barack Obama a Christian?

What is a 'Christian'? Is it anything you or I or anyone else says it is? Is it Buddhism? Islam? Judaism? Agnosticism? Atheism?

Granting the obvious, if Christianity is not anything and everything, then it is something in particular. Whether it is true or not is an entirely different issue. But if Christianity is something, then it is something definable and knowable, even if you disagree with the tenets that make it what it is.

So, what is it? And, is Barack Obama a true adherent?

I'm not asking whether he's 'saved' or 'born again' (even though that is what I believe it means to be a true Christian). I'm asking whether he aligns himself with the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith. We've already established that such tenets exist and are knowable. So what are they (that is, what is "mere Christianity")? And does he align himself with them?

Judge for yourself as you read his own answers in his 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani, posted originally on Steve Waldman's beliefnet blog and republished by CT here.

As you read, don't ask yourself, "Does he express some of the values of the Christian faith?" For the Christian faith shares many values with other faiths. Ask yourself, "Does he believe as true those tenets which distinguish Christianity from all other faiths and worldviews?" Only then will you find out if he is truly a confessing Christian.

Why do I even bring this up? What difference does it make? It makes an extraordinary difference, for (a) he is now one of the most prominent public figures in the world; (b) if he claims to be a Christian and people suppose that he is, then his construal of Christianity is representing genuine Christianity (however accurately) to the world; and (c) it is critical that Christianity be genuinely, i.e. accurately, represented. Otherwise, people will confuse the real thing with a cheap imitation. I advocate this for the sake of truth and a full appreciation of the real Christian faith.

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