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Monday, June 30, 2008

A Portrait of Inconsistency: Cal Thomas on Obama

Baptist Press - the PR arm of the Southern Baptist Convention - in a not so surprising move decided to run Cal Thomas's much talked about op-ed titled Obama is no Joshua. Baptist Press reprinted this Thomas op-ed with permission from Tribune Media Services.

The gist of Thomas's article is this: Obama ain't a real Christian. He is a false prophet.

Cal concludes that Obama don't know Christ because, during a 2004 interview, Obama stated:
"I'm rooted in the Christian tradition." "I believe there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people."
Here's a snippet from Brother Cal:
Obama can call himself anything he likes, but there is a clear requirement for one to qualify as a Christian and Obama doesn't meet that requirement. One cannot deny central tenets of the Christian faith, including the deity and uniqueness of Christ as the sole mediator between God and Man and be a Christian. Such people do have a label applied to them in Scripture. They are called "false prophets."
Now, let's go back nearly four years ago. President Bush is being interviewed by Charlie Gibson of ABC. Here's the dialogue (video here):
Charlie Gibson: Do we all worship the same God, Christians and Muslims?

President Bush: I think we do. We have different routes of getting to the Almighty.

Charlie Gibson: Do Christians and non-Christians, do Muslims go to heaven in your mind?

President Bush: Yes, they do. We have different routes of getting there.
So what exactly is the difference between Obama and Dubya's view of salvation?

I don't see one.

It's doubtful that President Bush has ditched his pluralism in the past few years. On October 4, 2007, Bush made this comment:
I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God.
Despite Bush's "different routes" view of salvation, Cal Thomas continues to describe George W. as the "most openly evangelical Christian and faithful churchgoer since Jimmy Carter" to hold the office of President of the United States. In responding to Bush's pluralism, Cal Thomas handled Bush with kid gloves. Thomas concludes:

President Bush is wrong - dangerously wrong - in proclaiming that all religions worship the same God.

Thomas doesn't call Bush a "false prophet."

Thomas doesn't declare that Bush is not a Christian.

Instead, Thomas glowingly describes Bush 43 as America's "most openly evangelical Christian" since Jimmy Carter.

Ah, the inconsistencies of fundamentalists.

I guess Cal is still Blinded by Might. Poor fella.

As a PR organization for the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., Baptist Press is always trying to push an agenda. With so many recent articles on Obama's theology, it's quite clear what agenda is being pushed. Where was this type of coverage back in 2004? Why has Baptist Press never highlighted Bush's universalism? Stupid question. We know the answer.

After Bush espoused a little universalism in 2003, Richard Land - the SBC's political guru - gently reminded readers that President Bush is "commander in chief not theologian in chief."

No such reminder from Baptist Press or Richard Land in 2008.

For the sake of consistency (and much more), both BP and Land would do themselves a favor and take a look at the blog of Mainstream Baptist leader Bruce Prescott who wisely observed that "Obama's running for President, not pastor or prophet."

This entire post serves well to buttress the thesis of my Guest Commentary in the July 2008 issue of Baptists Today titled The Consummated Marriage

You get the picture.

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Blogger Ken Coffee said...

The difference, Aaron, is that Senator Obama seemed to be talking about getting to a place ..."Heaven?.... and Bush seemed to be talking about what names we give to God as we pray to Him. You are too intelligent not to see the difference.

6:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good grief, Ken. How intelligent to you have to be to parse these words?

Charlie Gibson: Do Christians and non-Christians, do Muslims go to heaven in your mind?

President Bush: Yes, they do. We have different routes of getting there.

Yes = "I agree with what you just said."

They = "Christians and non-Christians," i.e., every human being on planet earth.

Do = "Go to heaven."

Different Routes of Getting There = Universalism.

I'm not stupid, am I?

6:47 AM

Blogger Dr. Glenn Jonas said...

You must not have read the same thing I read. There is a clear inconsistency in Cal Thomas' words driven more by a political agenda than a theological one. In fact, Thomas is doing the same thing that Fundamentalists (and Religious Right partisans) have done for 30 years. They are using theology to their benefit to drive a secular political agenda. It started with Reagan. I think it is shameless. Perhaps Christians are finally getting wise to this political trick.

6:56 AM

Blogger M. Steve Heartsill said...

BDW, I see you comparing apples to oranges here. Please correct me if I am mistaken. Obama said there are many paths to heaven. Correct? I don't see you disagreeing with that. If he said that, then his "Christian" views don't align with John 14:6. That's an apple.

If George Bush said that there are various ways to heaven, that is an apple as well.

Both men are incorrect and neither reflect John 14:6 in what they have said. Those are the apples.

Now, to say that Cal Thomas is wrong is where the oranges come in. Could it be that Cal Thomas is correct and Bush and Obama are incorrect? Wouldn't that be a better analogy to make?

7:16 AM

Blogger Ken Coffee said...

You are right. I waswrong. I should have read more carefully.

7:17 AM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Cal Thomas was inconsistent in how he treated the Democrat, Obama the universalist, and the Republican, Bush the universalist.

He declares that Obama is not even a Christian. Yet, he dubs Bush the "most openly evangelical Christian since Jimmy Carter" to reside in the White House.

That's essentially the thesis of this post. I think you missed that point, Steve.

If you've read my blog before, you'll know that my view of salvation is different from that of Senator Obama and President Bush.

But the purpose of my post was not to agree or disagree with the theology of Bush and Obama. I was trying to point out the inconsistencies of the judgmental Cal Thomas.

8:20 AM

Blogger Norman said...

Nice job in ferreting out the ferret, Thomas. That bit of garlic, along with the jalapenos of Jim Smith at the Florida Baptist Witness saying the CBF is not a Christian organization have given me indigestion. By the way, I wonder if we would be so exclusionist if we were on the outside of the salvation circle? I sometimes feel "the saved" consider ourselves occupants of the rare seats on a small lifeboat, banging away with our oars at the hands of those trying to hold on to the sides, lest they flip our craft and we land among'em.

9:18 AM

Blogger Georgia Mountain Man said...

I really don't care about Obama's or George Bush's theology. As ThatBaptistAin'tRight so aptly put it, I'm not voting for the new preacher. I'm voting for the United State President. What I do care about is the fact that too many Christian churches have blurred the line between politics and religion, and history tells us how dangerous that is. To quote my sainted grandmother, "the preacher has quit preaching and gone to meddling."

6:24 AM

Blogger Cat's Dad said...


Thomas is inconsistent in his comparison of Obama and Bush, and is incorrect in his indirect endorsement of Carter's soteriology as orthodox.

All three men have made pluralistic responses in interviews.

9:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When selecting scripture to agree or disagree with universalism do you proponents of John 14:6 have an answer for Acts 10:34 where Peter says "I see very clearly that the Jews are not God's only favorites! In every nation he has those who worship him and do good deeds and are acceptable to him."

11:06 AM

Blogger Cat's Dad said...


Paul was declaring that non-Jews as well as Jews was recipients of the good news of Jesus. Certainly, in every tribe and of every tongue, God has and will have children--born into His family through faith in Jesus Christ.

4:51 PM


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