Tag archives: Easter

Thoughts on the President’s Easter Remarks

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 4, 2012

As he did last year, President Obama offered some moving remarks about the meaning of Easter to a group of pastors this morning at the White House. Among his most noteworthy comments:

Its only because He endured unimaginable pain that wracked His body and bore the sins of the world that He burdened — that burdened His soul that we are able to proclaim, He is Risen! So the struggle to fathom that unfathomable sacrifice makes Easter all the more meaningful to all of us. It helps us to provide an eternal perspective to whatever temporal challenges we face.

Well, amen. Good words. Although contra Mr. Obama in another section of the speech, Jesus did not “know doubt.” He knew the unutterable pain that would be His, but anticipation of suffering and doubt as to its purpose are two different things.

But not to nitpick: it is encouraging when an American President refers to “the sacrifice of a risen savior who died so that we might live.” Yet lost, sadly, in his affirmation of the reality of an atoning death and justifying resurrection is the potency it would have were Mr. Obama to ally himself to what Paul the Apostle called “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). This includes the belief that the unborn child in Elizabeth’s womb leapt with recognition of his cousin Jesus (Luke 1:41), that the risen Savior was conceived in a virgin’s womb, that the kind of marriage ordained by God in Genesis 2 and affirmed by Jesus at Cana (John 2) exists only between a man and a woman, that honoring religious convictions means not coercing those who hold them into violating their consciences.

The President need not be a theologian, but his encouraging profession of trust in Christ is dampened by his unwillingness to apply the implications of that relationship to his public policies. Now, three years on, doing so should not be above his paygrade - or beyond the reach of his faith.

On the Presidents Easter Prayer Breakfast Comments

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 19, 2011

To an eclectic group of religious leaders[1], President Obama spoke movingly today at the White House about the meaning of Easter:

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 were 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 Ive not shown grace to others, those times that Ive fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of … His Son and our Savior.

Remarkable: A pretty clear presentation of the Gospel from a man who arguably is Americas first post-modern President. He even quotes from Isaiah 53, a prophetic passage that describes vividly the suffering of the coming Messiah.

Heres what he said about the Bible:

… in the middle of critical national debates, in the middle of our busy lives, we must always make sure that we are keeping things in perspective. Children help do that. A strong spouse helps do that. But nothing beats Scripture and the reminder of the eternal.

Hes right. Yet Mr. Obamas reading of Scripture seems highly selective. In a speech to the Evangelical Leftist Jim Wallis Call to Renewal conference in 2006, heres what then-Sen. Obama said:

Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let’s read our Bibles. Folks haven’t been reading their Bibles.

This statement trivializes serious biblical interpretation. Mr. Obamas apparent philosophy of exposition is that no one can ever say with any real authority thus saith the Lord since, one is left to assume, the Lord said so many obscure, grim, and evidently impracticable things. The Bible according to Mr. Obama becomes a Rorschach blot to which we each bring our own meaning. This is particularly troubling in a President who frequently invokes the Bible in his speeches, often to justify his political stances.

The reality, of course, is that the Old Testament civil code was intended only for theocratic Israel. The ceremonial rituals of Israels religious worship were representative, and fulfilled in Christ. The moral law, however, is constant from Genesis through Revelation. The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus intensification of the Law of Moses, intended to demonstrate both the way His followers should treat others and the inability of fallen men to practice perfectly Gods standards which is why they need the Savior.

President Obama persistently refuses to acknowledge the personhood of the unborn child. He is the strongest advocate for the homosexual agenda ever to work in the Oval Office. His position on religious liberty is captured by the notion that faith is best expressed within the walls of a church, but is taken outside those walls only at the legal peril of the faithful (and if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act were enacted into law, profound intrusions by the state within those four walls would happen, as well).

It is good to read the Presidents expression of Christian faith. Now if he would search the Scriptures and apply them, as appropriate, to public policy, many believers would sing Amazing Grace with even greater gratitude this coming Resurrection day.


[1] The guest list ran the spectrum from the respected Evangelical leader Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City to Nancy Wilson, moderator of the aggressively homosexual Metropolitan Community Churches.

 

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