A nation’s culture should be viewed through a single lens—God’s truth. Is the position, law, policy, program or argument true or false as measured against God’s Word? Life is far less confusing when we use the Bible instead of our own judgment to determine what is good or evil.
While we are a priesthood of believers with equal access to the Bible, with that direct access to God’s Word comes great responsibility. We are not allowed our own position on Scripture to suit our personal interests.
The recent speech by President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. is just the latest example of a public official making erroneous claims that the Bible supports a particular position or policy. Let’s take a closer look at the President’s disturbing misuse of Scripture.
Obfuscation of Church and State
In his Prayer Breakfast address on February 2, President Obama stated that his policies of universal health care, increasing taxes on the wealthy and serving the world’s “least of these” are roles and responsibilities of government and are derived from his understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ:
“…I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’ I know the version of that Golden Rule is found in every major religion and every set of beliefs from Hinduism to Islam to Judaism to the writings of Plato.”
A comparison of Mr. Obama’s beliefs to Jesus’ actual words reveals that the President has confused the role of the State with that of the Church and, further, the role of the State with that of the individual. The President said that his policies, which seem to call for government to grow until it meets every perceived need in America, are based on “God’s command” that we love our neighbor as ourselves.
But look carefully at Jesus’ actual words found in Matthew 22:34-40:
“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments’” (NIV84).
It’s clear that Jesus is talking about an individual mandate for each Christian to first love God and then to daily pass that love on to others. “Yourself” is singular. He does not call for government to accomplish this value through economic reform or health care legislation. God ordained government to provide justice—the Church to provide mercy. I see nothing in Scripture that supports the idea that love for our neighbors takes the form of confiscating money from others to meet this command or forcing people to buy healthcare they don’t want or using tax dollars to fund abortions or the endless anti-biblical policies the President advocates.
Also, it is no doubt easier to equate Jesus’ message to love one another with the ubiquitous “Golden Rule” found in Islam, Hinduism and who knows where else, if one ignores the first part of that teaching—the commandment to love the God of the Bible above all other counterfeit gods. Yet the President would placate his non-Christian supporters with the notion that all religions are somehow morally equal.
To Whom Much Is Given, Much Will be Taxed
But President Obama was not finished. He went on to twist the meaning of another biblical principle to support his political agenda: To whom much is given, much will be required.
“And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.
“But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.’”
President Obama would be well advised to steer clear of the Parable of the Faithful Steward. There is inherent danger for any believer who twists the meaning of Luke 12:35-48:
“Peter asked, ‘Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?’
“The Lord answered, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? …He will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant…begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk.The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.… From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked’” (NIV84).
This passage has nothing to do with money or material things. It is a warning that knowing “the will of the master” but failing to follow it will result in a more severe punishment than if one did not know his master’s wishes. Believers have been given the gift of knowing Christ and are therefore held to a higher standard. They are responsible for carrying biblical truth and the message of salvation to a world trapped in darkness.
President Obama should take heed when asking the wealthy to pay for his profligate spending. This action is a long way from the actual intent of the passage which is holding Christians to a higher standard of truth—a standard that he, as a confessed believer, will be held to as well.
I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave them below.