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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Are Evangelicals Upset with Obama for Accurately Recounting History?

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John Hendrix


Online Comment: Are evangelicals are mad at Obama for accurately recounting history? For people who are so bent on calling everyone "sinners" it just seems odd to me that they are less willing to call their own tribal members in history "sinners." Paul said he was the "chief." Question for evangelicals: Did Christians ever justify slavery or Jim Crow in the name of Jesus and "the gospel?" Yes or No?


Response, Thank you for your question regarding Obama's moral equivalence of Islam with Christianity. Fair question. However, I don't think the main reason the vast majority evangelicals are offended is, as you say, because they are being called out on their past sins (though some may be). We have an abundance of sin in our history. There were people who called themselves Christians who were slave owners, members of the KKK and sided with Jim Crow laws. It would be an huge understatement to say this was a terrible blight and sin and they have brought disrepute to the name of our Lord ...and we need to own up to this part of our history. Even more, I am personally a sinner and but for the grace of God, there I go too. In the teaching of our Lord, being engaged in such behavior is sin, offensive and inexcusable. Exodus 21:16 even teaches that kidnapping a man to make him his possession was punishable by death. You have to jump through a lot of intellectual hoops in order to justify this kind institutionalized racism. But many seem to forget that while some people may have used Christianity to justify Jim Crow and Slavery, Christianity was also central to dismantling them, which demonstrates that its belief is self-correcting. And large numbers of Christians, having understood the Bible, disagreed with these practices from the start.


What is more offensive to Christians, rather, is Obama's insistence that Islam has been hijacked in the same way Christianity has. It hasn't. It is acting consistently with the teaching of Muhammad ... and it has been demonstrated that a huge number of those who do not directly engage in violence themselves are not against those who do. His inability to see this and his laissez-faire attitude toward it is quite alarming. Obama seems to be caving in to postmodern sensibilities and taking his belief to its logical absurdity which declare that all religions are inherently good and there are no bad ideas. This is the equivalence of comparing Nazism to a democratic republic.There sure are bad things that happen in a democracy. Democratic republics are filled with people so its messy but the system can self-correct due to its checks and balances and rule of Law. Nazism, on the other hand, is totalitarian and has no checks and balances and the leader is the law, which can change at a whim... so if you get a bad leader, too bad. It (as well as communism) is based on a philosophy that cannot bear the weight of human nature. Why is this so easy to understand bad ideas when we speak of political systems but so difficult when we talk about religion? It is clear that Christianity was founded upon Jesus Christ whose main message, embodied in Jesus Himself, was love and self-sacrifice while Muhammad made himself known as a violent conqueror in both word and deed. Whatever other positive qualities and teachings Islam may have, this aspect is foundational and sticks out like a sore thumb. Can't we suspend our political correctness for one moment and acknowledge that some ideas are wrong? What are we so afraid of in acknowledging something so self-evident. We are not afraid when we speak out against corrupt political philosophies. Why is this so much different?


Some ideas reflect truth, goodness and beauty and some do not. Amazingly something so obvious has often been obscured and distorted by the self-refuting human philosophy of postmodern secularism. You can see this kind of thinking all the time when postmoderns strenuously fight for a moral cause and then ironically, at the same time, verbally deny there is any objective right or wrong. The irony continues when postmoderns believe their moral relativism is superior to belief systems which have moral absolutes. Superior, by definition, requires one to appeal to objective good and evil. As such modern secularists seem to want to dismiss the idea that some beleif systems are doctrinally grounded in violence . This leads me to believe that both philosophical secularism and Islam are, are in many ways, equally distorted views of the world.


Lets get it straight. Christians can commit horrific sin just as another men, but when they do, they go against what they know to be true. Jesus was a man who loved people from all ethnicities (Matt 28:19). He was non-violent, came to serve and be a ransom for people from every tribe, people, language and nation (Rev 5:9). Our Lord's Self-sacrifice is the core message of Christianity and anyone who teaches otherwise and who thinks we are to take the world by violence or by exploiting others has abandoned Christianity and grace at the deepest level. Indeed, Muslims are human beings just like us and are no more sinful than we are. I have personally witnessed Muslims giving hospitality in a way that puts me to shame. Praise God for His common mercy to all people. But Islam's core doctrine, rather, has its beginnings steeped in violence and conquest, and the call for forced conversions, etc. This kind of doctrine is a basic part of their religion and found in the Koran. Those Muslims who claim otherwise are liberal Muslims - who don't take their Koran seriously enough. Thankfully. So when Islam does these things it is simply acting according to its founder and the Koran itself. But when Christians behave badly they are not taking their Bible and its teaching about grace seriously enough. If they do do violence and sin it is because they are fallen human beings, not because they are, following the example of Jesus or the teaching of the Bible. Since we are all inherently evil, It is by the grace of God if we do follow Jesus' teaching - since acting as He did is way beyond the poor resources of our human nature.


Lastly, for what purpose did Obama, in the middle of an international crisis, suddenly single out Christians to teach them about the Crusades (which was initially self-defense) when a near genocide of Christians is happening now in many Middle-eastern countries? His response seems to be way out of proportion to the seriousness of the issue at hand. This week Muslims just burned a man alive and he is worried about offending them so he goes out of his way to make a moral equivalence argument with Christianity. Why don't we addresses the issues at hand? How many people are being killed by Christians right now? If none then why bring it up? It seems his concerns are wildly misplaced. Christianity by most accounts is willing to learn from historic mistakes when it looks at them in light of the word of God. So to answer the question, are Evangelicals upset with Obama for recounting their sin? Not so much. While it stings a little to remember our own sinfulness, it is more about how dishonoring it is to Christ and his teaching when associating Him on equal terms with Muhammad and his teaching. The comparison is obscene. Obama does this every time he says that people are merely hijacking the real Islam and that Christians are doing the same thing when they have sinned. The former is acting in accordance with the fundamentals of his faith, the later against his faith. If it has not sunk in yet, that is a profound difference. Fact is, I know a lot of Christians and no one I know is defending the Inquisition or the use of the Bible to defend slavery and Jim Crow laws. But the Islam that invaded and conquered Jerusalem and all of North Africa is still alive and well.


Regardless of our disagreements here, we ought pray for our President that the Lord grant him wisdom in his remaining years in office and that God would bless our country and the world through him.

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