Franklin Graham on President Obama’s Christianity

Below is a one minute clip cut from a longer interview (see below) where Franklin Graham is asked whether or not he believes President Obama is a Christian. Check it out.

The MSNBC hosts call Graham out for inconsistent answers. On the one hand, Graham will not definitively say whether or not he believes Obama is a Christian, but leaves the question for Obama to answer. On the other hand, Graham has no problem believing that Rick Santorum is a Christian.
However, the above clip does not tell the whole story. In the actual interview Graham says the following.
[Obama] has said he is a Christian so I just have to assume, you know, that he is. But the question is, “What is a Christian?” A Christian is a person that believes that Jesus Christ is God’s Son who died on a cross for our sins, who God raised to life; and that, if we put our faith and trust in him that God will forgive us of our sins. That is the definition of a Christian.
Graham goes on to explain that he is does not know if Obama has put his faith in Jesus. He also recalls a conversation he had with Obama in the past in which Obama does not seem to answer the question either. The hosts press Graham further, but he answers with uncertainty though still says he will take Obama at his word. Yet, Graham cannot “categorically” deny that Obama is not a Muslim.
Ironically, Graham affirms Roman Catholic, Rick Santorum as a Christian because his “values are so clear on moral issues.” Though Graham has “no idea” what Santorum really believes, he feels it in his heart that Santorum is a Christian. When asked whether or not Mitt Romney is a Christian, Graham was quick to point out that Romney is a Mormon. However, Graham was unwilling to answer directly whether or not he believes Romney is a Christian.
I asked on twitter whether or not people believed Obama was a Christian. A few folks replied. The most telling reply is one what pointed to Obama actually stating his beliefs. The tweet reads, “Unless he has been converted since this 2004 interview, then no.”
The interview linked was: The Faith of Barack Obama 
I recall a seminary professor answering the question of Obama’s Christianity. As best I recall, the professor answered something to the effect that one must believe the gospel to be a Christian. In order to believe the gospel one must attend a church that preaches the gospel. He was not convinced that Obama attended a church that preached the gospel.
Does one’s faith matter for you to vote for him for President? Are Graham’s answers another example of politics blurring the view to the cross of Christ? What do you think?
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Watch the full Graham interview below for the full context of Graham’s answers.

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tagged as , , , in Culture,Gospel,morality,politics,theology

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brian O February 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Mark, it seems that Mr. Graham could’ve been more concise in his answers. The only one that I’ve seen on tv that was clear and concise on Biblical matters is John MacArthur.

2 Cathy M. February 22, 2012 at 11:50 am

After studying Stephen’s address in Acts 7 yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about how difficult it must be to speak the unvarnished truth to a hostile audience. I wish Franklin had been more consistent in his refusal to speculate.

I may be able to vote for a Mormon or a Catholic, but unless one were to publicly reject heretical distinctives and repudiate his affiliation with them, I could never embrace him as a brother in Christ. Even if the questioner is holding a big rock in his hand. (May it never be so!)

3 Peter L February 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I don’t remember who it was, but I heard of someone asking a preacher if a certain famous person was a Christian. The preacher answered, “I don’t know. I’ve never lived with him.” Jesus said we would know a Christian by his/her fruits. Other than that, we have nothing to go on. I do wish Graham would have said that and left it for others to figure it out.

4 Mark February 22, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Cathy, great comment. Thanks.

Peter, given your comment, what do you make of Paul in the book of Galatians about those who preach another gospel being anathema?

5 Peter L February 27, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Mark- If a preacher is preaching another gospel, I would say he definitely is not a Christian.

Personally, I do not think Obama is any more a Christian than Mohamed. But I am not God. And I am not a public personality like Franklin Graham.

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