Mr. President, I thank you for this opportunity to share the following with you.
After graduating from Cleveland State University, where I was privileged to serve as the president of our student body, I was selected for a post at the AFL-CIO headquarters across the street from the White House, your home. One day I bumped into President Nixon as he exited his limo, and I asked him this question: "Mr. President, do you read the Bible?"
The smile he tried to swallow surfaced on his face as he replied with a wink and a nod, "I not only read it, I even quote from it sometimes!"
Although Richard Nixon knew Bible verses, when I reflect on that interchange I still wonder if he was really a born-again Christian. The fruit and witness of his life are a tragedy and make it suspect, so I leave the eternal destiny of this departed leader in the hands of God.
President Obama, would you allow me to share with you that I and scores of others have similar doubts about your conversion and the authenticity of your Christianity? I say up front that while I'm in disagreement with many of your policies and beliefs, I do love you and pray for you every single day. I affirm your God-given leadership gifting and your exemplary role as a husband and a father to your two lovely daughters. Yet I must be honest with you: I'm not sure you're really a Christian.
Will you allow me to present my reasons and, if you're not, to challenge you to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ at a time when America desperately needs your moral leadership? After political leader William Wilberforce was genuinely converted, he became the leader in the abolition of the slave trade in England that reverberated later to America. He brought about a righteous transformation, but it was accomplished after a true born-again experience that catapulted him to victory because of the blessing of God on his life.
Mr. President, as multitudes observe you lately, you seem to be under a heavy burden and striving to make things happen through the power of your own will, through clever obfuscation and through manipulation of the masses. Your signature issue of Obamacare is imploding. The promises you made to the American people regarding keeping our health plans, keeping our doctors, saving us money and insuring more than 30 million people with free medical care without adding "one dime to the federal deficit" appear to be lies and deception to informed and perceptive Americans.
You told us this would be the most transparent administration ever. Is it? More than a year has elapsed, and you have yet to deliver the promised answers on the four Americans left to die in Benghazi. You assured us you would restore civility to political discourse. You talked of economic growth and recovery and stimulus packages that have delivered a paltry return on all our tax money.
One senior commentator stated, "Obama has told more whoppers than Burger King has sold!" Maybe this produces a laugh, but the tragedy is watching your credibility disintegrate daily while watching you squirm uncomfortably behind your podium. The majority don't see you as trustworthy anymore, and this is a terrible reflection on your so-called Christian testimony.
But then again, maybe the label has been applied prematurely and God is using these events to bring you providentially to a place of desperation. Could the God who created you and gifted you in such incredible ways be orchestrating things to bring you to a newfound relationship with Himself?
On Tuesday your former nemesis, President George W. Bush, will make a rare TV appearance on the Tonight Show. Having a brush with death recently due to a heart problem, Jay Leno may interject something spiritual into the interview. If so, "W" may repeat something he's said previously regarding his Christian faith and the confidence it gives him. He has been exemplary in his attitude toward you since leaving the White House, and maybe this statement gives us a clue into his excellent character. He has said, "When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the Savior, it changes your heart." This he learned after a soul-searching conversation with Billy Graham that led him to his born-again experience.
A changed life is at the core of a genuine conversion experience. This is what separates the authentic from the counterfeit when so many Americans—some polls say 80 percent—profess to be Christian, yet something seems terribly amiss as we survey our society today. And with all due respect, that's where I and countless others find ourselves sincerely questioning your stated spiritual identity of "I'm a Christian."
Not that long ago, another former president, Jimmy Carter, shared that his conversion to Christ came when confronted by this challenging inquiry: "If you were arrested for being a Christian today, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" Convicted of his religious hypocrisy and self-righteousness, the peanut farmer from Plains, Ga., repented and was genuinely born again, as Jesus stated each person must be in order to become a child of God. Admittedly, where he's at today is another story!
Immediately this poses a problem with your expressed theology. Scripture clearly teaches that while all people are loved by God, created in God's image and are to be treated with dignity as God's creation, only those who repent and put their total trust in God's only begotten Son are designated children of God. (See John 1:12.) That may not be popular or politically correct, but it's fact according to divine revelation.
Yet you say what scores of people mistakenly or ignorantly embrace: "I believe that 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. We are all children of God."
Being incorrect on this fundamental of the faith is but one of many areas that cause many to sincerely question your understanding of the true nature of Christianity as well as the legitimacy of your conversion. And if you hold that we all are God's children, why won't you defend the least of these and most vulnerable—the unborn? Your 100-percent NARAL pro-abortion rating, your endorsement of taxpayer dollars for Plan B contraception, your support of partial-birth abortion, your opposition to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act and your speech to Planned Parenthood that ended with "God bless you!" leaves us dumbfounded.
Lest you and others stiffen at this point and say, "Hold it! Religion is personal. That's disrespectful. Doesn't the Bible state, 'Judge not'?" let's be clear here on what Jesus actually said. He stated, "Judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24) while cautioning us to avoid anything hypocritical, mean-spirited or unredemptive.
When it comes to leaders, righteous judgment is not an elective but a directive so we'll know their character and the values that shape their positions on critical issues affecting our lives. Also, we must examine their fruit (what they're producing), which takes time, something I and millions have afforded you. To simply give you a pass here because of the historic nature of your election or because of your race is idolatry and must be categorically rejected once and for all. America is imploding rapidly, and we cannot afford to remain ignorant or complacent or to retreat at this watershed moment.
Jesus Christ stated, "Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit" (Matt. 7:17). While I want to honor you in your position as our commander in chief, I respectfully submit that we are seeing lots of "bad fruit" coming from a tree most likely in need of real redemption. The Good News of the gospel begins with this recognition!
Mr. President, examining your beliefs, policies, social leanings and character lead us to this reasonable conclusion. Much of them are inconsistent with living out the biblical worldview that is to characterize an authentic, obedient Christian. It also encourages other high-profile Catholic Christians like Kathleen Sebelius, Nancy Pelosi and Caroline Kennedy to continue in their wayward paths.
We all know you went to a Catholic school in a Muslim country. I, too, had 12 years of parochial school upbringing but wasn't truly born again till the age of 20. Later, after an admitted lifestyle of drug usage and fornication (cohabitation), you straightened out somewhat in Chicago and joined Trinity United Church of Christ, pastored by Jeremiah Wright.
You spent 20 years there but later disassociated yourself as public scrutiny of the reverend and his teachings became uncomfortable for you. As I proceed, know that I definitely cut you some slack here because this represents your formative years in the Christian faith. We know that the content of a church's message determines the authenticity of its converts.
My question to you is this: Have you ever received correct instruction in the Christian faith?
It's probably uncomfortable to hear this forthright and honest inquiry into your spiritual life, but we all need people in our lives who will tell us not what we want to hear but what we need to hear. You are surrounded by many who receive their direction from you and desire to please you (and keep their jobs!). Yet what is at stake is your eternal destiny.
As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, remember he was only 46 when he met his untimely death. You're 52. "No one knows the day nor the hour." The very shoes we tie in the morning can be untied by a funeral director that night.
Franklin Graham was asked not long ago about your faith. He's an honest man who pulls no punches. "I don't know if he's a Christian," he said.
On the other hand, your former religious adviser Joshua Dubois appears on national TV promoting his new book, The President's Devotional. He testified to your faith in glowing terms: "The President is a committed Christian. ... He practices his faith spending time in the Oval Office with pastors praying for him. ... He went up the side of a mountain to visit Billy Graham. ... He has a yearly prayer call with pastors on his birthday. ... He really lives it out. ... I'd rather have a leader who lives a sermon than preaches one!"
Mr. President, these are all commendable activities, but most of us know atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and humanitarians who also are good husbands and fathers, who pray with others, who do good deeds and visit the sick. What really matters is this: Are they—and are you—born again?
Jesus told a learned, very religious man, "Unless one is born again, he cannot see [or enter] the kingdom of God" (John 3:3, 5). How's that for straight talk?
Years ago, Charles Colson, White House special counsel and "hatchet man" for President Nixon, was radically transformed when he repented and yielded his life to Jesus Christ. He penned a bestseller entitled Born Again to share his journey. May I suggest it for your next reading?
Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matt. 7:21). The key here is not merely a declaration but a demonstration—obedience to God's Son and His Words as revealed in sacred Scripture.
Years ago, at Moody Church in your hometown of Chicago, a famous pastor spoke with an elderly man who confessed to the pastor his uncertainty about his conversion experience. He told the pastor how he longed for some definite witness that he could not mistake.
"Suppose," said the pastor, "that you had a vision of an angel who told you your sins were forgiven and you were genuinely converted. Would that be enough to rest on?"
"Yes," the man replied. "I think it would. An angel would be great!"
The pastor continued, "Suppose on your deathbed Satan came and said, 'I was that angel, transformed to deceive you.' What would you say then?"
The gentleman was speechless.
The pastor smiled and put his arm around the shoulder of the older gentleman and said the following: "God has given us something much more trustworthy and authoritative than the voice of an angel. Consider an angel supposedly launched the Mormon faith and Islam! God has given us His Son and His authoritative Word."
That is enough to rest on—if we will humble ourselves and follow in obedience.
The 7 Biblical Marks of an Authentic Christian
Mr. President, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ are clear on what it really means to be His disciple, a Christian. There is scarcely any room for misunderstanding if we will accept what He says at face value. Here are the terms as communicated by the Savior Himself:
1. A supreme love for Jesus Christ (Luke 14:26).
2. A denial of self (Matt. 16:24).
3. A deliberate choosing of the cross (Matt. 16:24).
4. A life spent following Christ (Matt. 16:24).
5. A fervent love for all who belong to Christ (John 13:35).
6. And unswerving continuance in His Word (John 8:31).
7. A forsaking of all to follow Him (Luke 14:33).
I must alert you, as Jesus did those to whom He preached, that it is wise to first "count the cost." There are many positions you hold that are totally incompatible with biblical teaching, no matter how many liberal Bible scholars have told you otherwise. These positions will have to change if you follow Jesus and obey His Word.
- "Jesus is a historical figure for me, and he's also a bridge between God and man ... and he's also a wonderful teacher." Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.
- "I believe there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power." There is salvation in no one else except through Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son.
- "I'm a big believer in tolerance. I'm a progressive Christian." While we should respect everyone's beliefs, we can't respect everyone's conduct.
- "I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell." The path to salvation is open to all, but it is narrow, excluding all who reject God's free gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
- "Parts of the Bible may be modified to accommodate modern life." Extreme caution is needed here, as we have a mandate to "rightly divide the Word of truth."
- "What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, I will be rewarded. I don't presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die." Salvation comes as a result not of good deeds we do but totally as a gift of God received by faith and with a certainty of heaven upon one's death.
- "Those opposed to abortion cannot simply invoke God's will—they have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths." At conception, a separate human being is created in God's image and deserves full protection and care until the child is born.
- Regarding homosexuality and gay marriage, "I am not willing to accept a reading of the Bible that consists of an obscure line from Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount." Throughout the entire Bible, the practice of homosexuality is declared as sinful and contradicting of God's design for human relationships, marriage and family.
Thank you for listening, Mr. President! If what I have communicated resonates with you, I'd suggest you give a call to the Rev. Billy Graham and let him pray with you, as he has other presidents for decades. What a phenomenal gift it would be to this man who just celebrated his 95th birthday and has spent his lifetime introducing people to an authentic relationship with God's only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Respectfully, I am
Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves people and loves awakening them to today's cultural realities and the responses needed for the bride of Christ—His church—to become influential in all spheres of life once again.