What does Barack Obama think of John 18:36?

According to this story, Barack Obama, a self-professed Christian, said the following this Sunday at Redemption World Outreach Center,

We’re going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth.

I’m not certain how that can be reconciled with what Jesus told Pontius Pilate,

My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.

Politicians (the party makes little difference) trying to sound religious, you’d think they’d at least learn the tenets of the faith they claim to have.

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28 Responses to What does Barack Obama think of John 18:36?

  1. harlequinsgazette says:

    Dear Blogger,

    In my comment, I do not intend to sound disrespectful. The cards all politicians are playing these days are beating down corporate machines, the ‘war’ in Iraq, universal health care, and global warming. Some are playing the religion card also. Didn’t Bush? Trying to turn a theocracy (Iraq) into a Democracy and vice versa with the U.S.?

    i could not link to the full story that you had linked; however, can you blame anyone for wanting a “Kingdom on Earth?” Those who do believe, I do not think would go against praising their Prophets. But it is such a sad, dappled dream.

    We all dream of the day that we do enter what is not of this world. George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” inspires that feeling in me everyday that I play it.

    Blogger, this was an extremely interesting entry and I appreciated the read. It got me thinking.

    Thank you,
    Harlequin

  2. Laz says:

    Harlequin,
    Thank you for your readership and comment. Please do not fret, you do not sound disrespectful.

    Iraq was hardly a theocracy under Hussein for the man paid mere lip service to Islam. From what I understand his lifestyle probably was not viewed favorably by devout Muslims.

    What makes you think that President Bush is trying to turn the U.S. into a theocracy?

    Harlequin, of course I don’t blame Senator Obama or anyone else for ‘wanting a “Kingdom on Earth.”‘ I would venture to say that all human beings have this desire in them because God put it there. He put it there because the thing desired exists but on His terms not on ours.

    He put it there so we can seek His Kingdom, ushered in by Jesus though not fully consummated, as is evidenced by the condition of this fallen world we live in. We have this desire because the fulfillment of the desire exists, that is God.

    It’s akin to our very real desires for say, food or sex, it is there because the fulfillment of the appetite exists and the fulfillment of the sexual drive exists, granted within their proper contexts. Interestingly enough, Jesus calls Himself the “Bread of Life” and identifies Himself as the “Bridegroom” of His people.

    The desire for God’s Kingdom is very real but what is not real is the idea that we can set up a kingdom by our own feeble attempts (some call this a utopia). Please allow me to quote my favorite non-Biblical author CS Lewis,

    What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’–could set up on their own as if they had created themselves–be their own masters–invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside of God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

    When I read Senator Obama’s well-intentioned words, I thought of it as just another “hopeless attempt” of the sort Lewis refers to.

  3. harlequinsgazette says:

    Laz,

    You have a wonderful way with words. I love the response. You speak true of Madman Hussein. You can tell I am not a Bush fan and the reason why I spoke of him and religion is because of his issues on abortion, that God ‘told him to go to war’, bringing up his religion in politics. I just don’t like it. I am an Assyrian, of the people who walked behind and spoke with Christ, and I don’t throw religion around because I would respect the fact that not everyone will share my view, particularly if I were in control of a country. Just my opinion.

    I really appreciate you quoting from C.S. Lewis (symbolic genius). Laz, I feel that everyone is dying to live their ‘hopeless attempts’. Ironically, in some situations, it is a body can have: Hope.

    I have yet to glance through the rest of your entries, but you are very write very well and I enjoyed the fact that you gave me a commentary back.

    Much obliged,
    Harlequin

  4. odgie says:

    This doesn’t surprise me. Just as politicians talk a great game on faith, they also talk a great game on giving people what they want. And sadly, many Christians believe that we can create a kingdom on earth (despite Jesus’ response to Pilate) if we just elect the right person.

  5. haroldmaude says:

    Call me the paranoid nut, but I believe Sen. Barack Obama’s words go much deeper that some politician just ‘mouthing off.’ He knew exactly what he was saying and he knows well enough that the Kingdom cannot be made manifest on earth through the works of any of us. To me, his choice of words simply express his focus: power. He wants to be the ruler of this kingdom he’s referring to. Yes, I know I know… I’m taking it all to another level. That’s just how I see it.

  6. osipov says:

    haroldmaude – and GWB doesn’t want power?? Right now, I don’t plan to vote for Obama, but I’ll vote for Donald Duck before I vote for any republican. Also, I haven’t heard this quote before, but is it possible it’s being taken out of context?

  7. Hans Mast says:

    I beat you by 6 minuutes! Just kidding! Seriously, it’s good to see that someone else knows their Bible and called Obama on this comment.

  8. Joseph Cheetham says:

    Jesus does ask us to pray for the Kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven.

  9. Laz says:

    Joseph,
    Are you referring to Matthew 6:10?

  10. Joseph Cheetham says:

    Yes, and Luke 11:2. It is just something to consider. I don’t want to argue.

  11. Laz says:

    Joseph,
    It’s not about arguing, because oftentimes it does nothing but give us an opportunity to show how much we “know”. I hope that is not what you think we are trying to do here.

    That being said let us take a look at what Jesus said in Matthew 6:10,

    Your kingdom come
    Your will be done,
    On earth as it is in heaven.

    Now here are Sen. Obama’s words,

    I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth.

    In your estimation, how confident are you that we (I must assume the Senator meant humans since he didn’t specify) will be the ones who will create the Kingdom Jesus speaks of in Matthew 6?

  12. Joseph Cheetham says:

    That is a good question to ask. From the passage, I think it is clear that we are supposed to ask the Lord for the Kingdom to come to earth. That is cleary a responsibility that he has laid on the shoulders of the Church.

    Church should not be confined into four walls. In fact, it should permeate into all parts of our society. In effect, when that happens, the Kingdom of God is manifesting itself on the earth. One day the Kingdom of God will be fully manifested, but untill that point, it is in the process of establishing itself. It is like an invasion of a Pacific Island in WWII. The Kingdom of God made a beach-head landing at the initiation of the Church at Pentecost, and in the end we will take over the whole island when Jesus returns. Untill that point we have a responsibility in the Church to ask the Lord for the Kingdom to come and to actively do it as well. How? By bringing the lost into the kingdom and by effecting world systems… like governement. The Church ought to be influential in all parts of our soceity… schools, neighborhoods, government, media, ect… I am encouraged by Obama’s statement. He is realizing the need to have the Kingdom of God even in our own government. That is a good thing, something to be celebrated by the Church.

    Does that make sense?

    So I do feel confident that we have a responsiblity to be representatives of the Kingdom of God on earth as believers. The Word does say that we are citizens of heaven. We are sons of God. We no longer belong to this world. What world do we belong to then? We belong to the Kingdom of God. Essentially simply by living for Jesus, someone is creating the Kingdom of God on earth.

  13. Joseph Cheetham says:

    Hey Laz, I must say that I really do appreciate the tone of this blog. I was out of place when I said that “I don’t want to argue” because there really has been no arguing in this blog. I am not a blogger; I just ran into this blog randomly. I must of had pre-conceived ideas from past experiences that conversations online end up in name-calling, criticism, and arguement, but after reading through everyone’s comments again, I have not seen that here.

    After reading over what you said earlier when you quoted C.S. Lewis, I want to agree with you that we cannot force the Kingdom of God to manifest by our actions. But I think the Lord will use our actions (actions of the Church) to bring it in. We must prayerfully discern what he will have us do. We cannot force it, but we can advance it!

  14. Laz says:

    Joseph,
    Thanks for your input and participation. I’m not a blogger either, I just play one on the ‘net.

    I’ve had similar experiences online as you have, unfortunately, in the past I’ve also dished out insults and undue criticism. Our Lord has shown me this is not to be, this is not what He teaches. It is far easier to be bold, daring and especially nasty when you’re not speaking to someone face-to-face.

    Yes, God through the Holy Spirit works within the Church to make disciples and to reach the lost. Without, of course, neglecting the upkeep of the individuals who make up the Church.

    Like Jesus said, the Kingdom is already amongst us, in the sense that after Pentecost things changed, for the new covenant which Jeremiah speaks of (Ch. 31) was initiated. The Holy Spirit is a ‘deposit’ of what is yet to come. In another sense the final fulfillment of the Kingdom is still ahead of us and will not occur until Jesus returns.

    If this is the Kingdom the good Senator refers to, then I object to his words. Before I get accused of pie-in-the-skyism, let me quote Lewis again,

    A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is.

    If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.

    The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.

    It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.

    Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.

    This, I think, goes hand in hand with what you said in your last paragraph. I can’t see how this is compatible with the Senator’s words. Without getting muddled with semantics, I suppose the problem lies with him using the word “create”.

  15. Joseph Cheetham says:

    That is good. It is the heavenly minded ones who are most effective for the kingdom.

    I guess I feel that the senator is on the right track. I agree, it isn’t our responsibility to “create” the kingdom of God, but to be available for the Lord to use us to usher it in. Maybe Obama doesn’t have an understanding of exactly how the Kingdom works yet. Sounds like a prayer request to me! At least he acknowledges the importance of seeing the Kingdom on earth.

    By the way, I really like Lewis’ quote.

  16. Laz says:

    Despite all attempts to diversify my reading of non-Biblical writers I find myself being drawn back to Lewis again and again.

  17. Andrew says:

    The problem with Sen. Obama’s statement is two fold:
    1. The kingdom of God isn’t an earthly kingdom we can “create,” especially not in a government where most of our leaders have ceased even paying God lip service.
    and
    2. Satan has authority over all the kingdoms of this world (See Matthew 4:8-10). Any exercising of worldly power is in direct conflict with the service-oriented Kingdom Christ came to establish.
    A good read on this subject is Myth of a Christian Nation by Gregory Boyd. Great post and conversation on here.

    Andrew
    http://seekingtheface.wordpress.com

  18. Laz says:

    Andrew, what do you think about Boyd’s open theism?

  19. Andrew says:

    What do you mean by “open theism”? I honestly don’t know a whole lot about Boyd.

  20. Andrew says:

    I read a critique of Boyd’s position as a theist.
    http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue58.htm

    In my opinion, I believe he is wrong and hope he will change his mind on the matter. I see how his position could lead down a dangerous road, but don’t see it as an essential doctrine for salvation. I am certain I hold views that are wrong as well. In fact, I don’t think there is a single one of us who gets it all right in regards to what we believe. I am not shy to call a heretic a heretic, but I am not certain his views are heretical from what I know so far.

    I have read up on Middle Knowledge, Molinism, Calvinism, and Arminian theology as of late and honestly I would not consider myself in any of these categories. When it comes to rectifying God’s foreknowledge with human free will, I would take a stance different from any I have read. I would say that God created and is not confined by time. His will can therefore be executed unilaterally across the whole of history. He can foreknow everything that will happen, prophesy it, and still choose not to become the puppet master pulling every string. Knowing all of history and the hearts of men, He can impose His will in the lives of men through the Holy Spirit when it comes to salvation, and even through allowed evils.

    This is how God can say that someone was predestined to become a believer without limiting the atonement of the blood of Christ to only the predestined. He is not saying it is not possible that someone come to Christ (as Calvinism does) but that He has already seen the future and knows whether or not they will. What I have read of the doctrine of Middle Knowledge tries to rectify these two, but I feel is insufficient in that it unintentionally takes away from the omniscience and sovereignty of God. It declares that God only knows possibilities, but places God inside the realm of time. Being placed outside of time, allows God the ability to both know the future, and also allow for the (limited) free will of mankind.

    http://seekingtheface.wordpress.com

  21. snowbird says:

    Its certainly not funny by any means but I stumbled across this site by the words I typed into Google asking if Obama thought he was God…the only reason I did that was because of his arrogrant attitude. I’ve prayed my heart out because I’m afraid of what we’re in for if indeed he does become president.But then again I was reminded of where we are in time and decided I needed to be even more concerned then ever before.Before I’m called a racist or some other name I’d rather not mention,I came up in the 60’s,had a black nanny who allowed me to slop the hogs with her,played several times a week with my black friends building stick houses and playing hopscotch.I’ve worked and worshiped with some of the best black people in the world.Which brings me to the fact that Obama is both black and white.You cannot deny your true heritage.My mother’s grandad was full cherokee,so I can’t say I’m not part indian.Sorry about all that but I’ve seen to many people get into race fights on these blogs and it makes me sick because it takes away from the “real” problem. Only God knows a heart’s true intention,but you can just about figure it out and disern it by a person’s words and behaviors.I think our choices are learner then they’ve ever been.I came up during the vietnam war where we lost over 50 thousand soldiers and my dad was in world war two so I figure one death in any war is just as important as any death in Iraq…plus the fact that no one has ever been able to prevent a war from happening.There has always been war and there will always be war somewhere in the world until the end.I do know that God’s time is not our time so I need to do what hes told me to do several times..and thats to trust him anyway.If I did not know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was with me,I would have no hope,no peace,no joy,and certainly,no future.

  22. g says:

    well in mathew 6:10 he was talking about how we should pray to GOD that his will be done on earth as (it already has been and always be in heaven) GOD’s knigdom in heaven has alays been the same just like the garden of eden that is how GOD wanted us to live wanting for nothing so know we can not bring his kingdom done. because we are not GOD are Jesus. so he really did not know what he was saying.

  23. pana says:

    I am sure those of us who love Jesus(who sees no colour, gender and died for WHOEVER) are praying for this man, Obama and others who are in leadership roles. Maybe if we understand who we are, we would begin to truely pray for others who we may have differences of opinions. Let God be the final judge because He is perfect!

  24. Jessica Applewhite says:

    I AM A CITIZEN OF MISSISSIPPI. I BELIVE THAT GOD IS TRYING TO TELL US SOMETHING. BARACK OBAMA IS TRYING TO BE THE ANTICRIST. LISTEN PEOPLE THE TIME IS NOW STOP OBAMA FROM RULING OUR COUNTRY. THIS MAY BE THE BEGINING OF THE END. TO WHO EVER READS THIS MESSAGE ASK GOOGLE WHAT IS HIS MIDDLE NAME. PEOPLE PLEASE DON’T LET THE ENEMY RULE OUR COUNTRY UNDER OUR NOSES. THIS IS NOT A LIFT UP FOR OTHER POLITICS THIS IS THE TRUTH IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ITS BY YOUR OWN CHOICE. THIS IS AMERICA AND WE BELIEVE IN FACTS. ALL I AM ASKING IS READ REVELATIONS IN YOUR BIBLE AND YOU SHALL SEE BARACK OBAMA AND WHO HE IS TRYING TO BE. ONE NATION UNDER GOD IS OUR MOTO, BARACK OBAMA IS TRYING TO TACK OUR GODS PLACE. TO ALL CHRISTIANS THE TIME IS NOW TAKE HEAD TO THIS WARNING. PRAY FOR YOUR COUNTRY, PRAY FOR MERCY ON OUR SOULS. FOR THE END SHALL COME IF THE COUNTRY LETS THIS MAN RUEL OUR NATION.

  25. Laz says:

    Easy, Jessica. The fanatical (based on emotion for the most part) devotion some have to this man is somewhat frightening.

    Making such an important decision (voting) based on emotion is dangerous and serves no one’s best interests.

    But does that mean that Mr. Obama is the “anticrist”? No it does not.

    You do realize that this label has been put on many people, from the Pope to Stalin to Prince Charles.

    I forgot who said not to interpret the book of Revelation with the front page of the newspaper, but they are right.

    The end shall come eventually and it may or may not have anything to do with Mr. Obama’s inevitable victory. Our responsibility is to be ready not to impersonate Nostradamus.

  26. Amanda says:

    Jessica I think i am with you. I have put a lot of thought about the same topid you posted. For people that knows the bible and has read the book of Revelation knows that what obama is saying is what is Revelation says is going to happen. Fortunatly there is nothing we can really do about it but pray. God makes the final decision. And what ever God chooses is his plan. He has a plan we just have to just keep our faith and keep on believeing and no matter what this world or president decides to do we are gonna have to stick up for our Lord and SAVIOR!

  27. Josh Lewis says:

    In the world not of the world, as the saying goes.

    Wanting the Kingdom on the Earth does not mean wanting it OF the Earth. Christ’s kingdom is clearly defined as His church, which He clearly put on the earth. The scripture is merely him clarifying to Pilate that His kingdom was not like others, in that it cared little for earthly matters.

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