Taking questions from a reporter, a politician (who small remain unnamed) crafted answers about religion probably intended to express an inclusive position. The 2004 transcript intrigued me as I thought it might offer insight to some popular views about faith.
My goal here is to explore the tenets of Christianity, not politics. People (including politicians!) can believe what they want, and label themselves Christian if they choose. But is popular religion Biblical? Excerpts of the interview follow, with my comments.
Q: Have you always been a Christian? A: My mother was Christian. Her view always was that underlying (the world) religions were a common set of beliefs about how you treat other people.
Faith is individual, not inherited. You can’t be born a Christian, rather, you must be “born again” according to Jesus (John 3:3). World religions may share some morality claims, but their truth claims are mutually exclusive. Ravi Zacharias, from India, said he came to Christ “amid the thunderous cries of a culture with 330 million deities. I remain with Him knowing that truth cannot be all-inclusive.”
Q: Who is Jesus to you? A: Jesus is a historical figure for me, and he’s also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher.
Jesus is God our Savior, the only mediator between God and people, who gave Himself as a ransom for all. This truth is not limited to “the Christian faith,” but is for all people. His purpose is for all to be saved and come to the knowledge of this truth, a far more specific purpose than “something higher” (1 Tim. 2:3-6).
Q: Do you believe in heaven? A: 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.
People are granted eternal life and a place in heaven based on faith in Christ, not as reward for a life well-lived (Eph. 2:8-9). By faith, we can know our eternal destiny (1 Jn. 5:13).
Q: What is sin? A: Being out of alignment with my values.
Sin is coming short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), something we all do. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 6:23).
Dr. Ed Stetzer said, “People like to believe in a generic Christian-ish god with cafeteria doctrines.” What do you believe? Christians believe a Person revealed in Scripture, not eclectic spirituality common in popular religion.