What If Governor Robert Bentley Instead…

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Newly elected Alabama Governor Robert Bentley made headlines recently while speaking at a church in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. His words were delivered right after he was sworn in as governor. There may be more of a timing issue here because though he was speaking at a church, the offending words were his stating the exclusive claims of Jesus reported as:

“Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother,” Bentley said Monday, just moments into his new administration, according to The Birmingham News.

Whether or not it was wise for Bentley to make such claims at that particular time is one thing. The larger issue is if what Bentley said is true or not because this is where the offense lies. People are not offended because he said something religious, but because he made exclusive religious claims. Set aside the timing of Bentley’s remarks. Is simply a case where the principle of ‘I like Jesus as a good teacher as I define Him as long as I don’t have to adhere to what He actually taught‘ is in effect?

See, if the objection to Bentley’s remarks that he could not be fair to non-Christians is true, and the exclusive claims he stated are also true, then no Christian would be able to be fair to non-Christians. The objections are ultimately not about Bentley, but about Jesus and His teaching.

What if Governor Robert Bentley instead just quoted Jesus and left it at that?

While [Jesus] was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50 ESV)

And about the will of His Father, Jesus said:

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40 ESV)

Would the reaction be the same?


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tagged as in Church Issues,Culture,theology

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 DLD January 20, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Unfortunately, though the statement the governor made is technically correct, it sounded unnecessarily strident and harsh.
Your suggestion to simply quote Jesus’ words is a good one.
I might add that if the governor had quoted John 1:12-13, he would have made his point without sounding acrimonious.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD, who were born, not of blood nor of will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

2 Dan Smith January 20, 2011 at 10:47 pm

If he had quoted Christ, while it would have been better, the media would have been wondering if it had been a code or something. Here he left no wonder about how he felt. We all know.

3 Praise the LORD January 22, 2011 at 12:29 am

Hi, theres nothing wrong from what Gov. Robert Bentley said. He just want everyone to know Christ.

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