Romney’s Biggest Lie: “All children of the same God.”

Leave it to a liberal, Southern Baptist, Obama-loving Facebook friend (no, that’s not an oxymoron :-) ) to point out Mitt Romney’s biggest lie in last night’s Town Hall Debate. After watching the debate and the post-debate spin (mostly on Fox News), it was obvious that President Obama probably won the night (although not by a knock-out). We all watch these debates through our own personal lenses — with our partisanship, experiences, background, and biases — and come away from the event trying to minimize the mistakes of “our” candidate and magnify the miscues of “their” candidate.

For Evangelical Christians — including, but not limited to, Southern Baptists — we should be viewing this election through not only a political lens, but through a theological one as well. At the outset, let me clearly and unequivocally state that I fully support the Constitution’s prohibition against “religious tests” for public office:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. (Article 6, Clause 3, United States Constitution)

In a Democratic Republic such as the United States of America, that is as it should be. Christians, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, Agnostics, and Atheists should be allowed to run for public office without having to pass any kind of “religious test.” Southern Baptists (and Baptists in general) should, perhaps better than most, understand this principle. For those who have forgotten their history, Baptists would not have been able to pass the religious tests that would have been administered in most of the states (Rhode Island excepted) in the first place.

However, just because a religious test is not required to qualify to run for office, that does not mean that voters cannot use their own religious tests when casting their vote for a particular candidate. Since John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic to be elected President, some Americans — usually Democrats and/or liberals — have often tried to act as if a Presidential candidate’s religion or faith is irrelevant. Of course, voters who are religious or non-religious will often take into account a candidate’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) when deciding between two or more competing candidates.

This election, much like the election of 1960, asks voters — particularly Evangelical Christians — to act as if Mitt Romney’s religious beliefs are irrelevant, either by ignoring them altogether or severely minimizing the influence that his religious beliefs will have on his governance.  When entering into the voting booth, some conservative, Bible-believing Christians will not think twice about pulling the lever for Mitt Romney. Whether or not voting for Mr. Romney is a mistake (it will be one that I will make), I do believe that it is a mistake for so-called Evangelical Christians, particularly Southern Baptists, to not think twice about Mr. Romney’s Mormonism.

Why? Because it was conservative Christians — especially during Bill Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal — who loudly and publicly argued that the President could not separate his “private morality” from his public responsibilities. It was often argued that President Clinton no longer had the moral authority to hold his office because of his actions which gave rise to the scandal. I would wholeheartedly agree that the President — Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative — should have a private moral character that is consistent with his public leadership in the highest office in the world.

For Christians to now argue that a President’s morality — indeed his faith and sincerely held religious beliefs — can somehow be divorced from the way he governs is, in a word, hypocritical. Just because folks happen to like Mitt Romney’s public policies should not give him a pass on his faith and religious beliefs, especially if those who are tying to give him such a pass were not inclined to give Southern Baptist Bill Clinton a pass in the 1990’s.

For all there is to like about Mitt Romney and to dislike about President Obama, I can’t give Gov. Romney a pass on what turned out to be his biggest lie of last night’s debate:

“We’re a nation that believes that we’re all children of the same God.” (article here)

No, Mr. Romney! Our nation does not believe what you stated. I do not believe what you stated. Most Evangelical Christians — including the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists — do not believe what you stated. And, most importantly, the Word of God — which is the 66 books of the Old and New Testament only and does not include any further “revelations” or “books”) most assuredly does not teach what you stated. While it is true that the same God — Yahweh, known as Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit — is the Creator of the universe and the One who Creates all people, that does not mean that our human existence automatically confers on us the status of “children of the same God.”

Jesus, Himself, tells us that we are either “children of the devil OR children of God”:

Jesus said to them: ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but He sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? Is it because you cannot bear to hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is not truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character.'” (John 8:42-44, ESV)

How does one become a “child of the One, True God?”  In and through faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone:

But to all who did receive Him (Jesus), who believed in His name (Jesus), He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

I am well aware that we are not electing a “theologian-in-chief” on November 6. If we were, Mitt Romney would most certainly not be getting my vote. However, for Evangelical Christians in general and Southern Baptists in particular to not think twice about the false religious beliefs of the man who would be President — the most powerful position in the world — is to abdicate our responsibility to “speak the TRUTH to power,” even if that power is “our” candidate and that TRUTH conflicts with “our” candidate’s religious beliefs. And, it would be hypocritical to boot!

 


Comments

Romney’s Biggest Lie: “All children of the same God.” — 13 Comments

  1. In a sense ‘Father of all’ reflects Creator and primogenitor, and that we are made in His Image, and that He has placed His Law into the hearts of ALL mankind . . .

    it’s a very different perspective from fundamentalism and parts of Calvinism, I know, but the first Person of the Holy Trinity has always been called in the Church
    ‘God the Father’ . . .
    we also proclaim ‘God the Son’, and ‘God the Holy Spirit’, in naming the One God, the Holy Trinity

    Perhaps Romney referred to this verse:

    “ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL, WHO IS ABOVE ALL, AND
    THROUGH ALL, AND IN YOU ALL.” — Eph. iv. 6.

    • Christiane,

      Thanks for the comment. You are certainly right about the first person of the Trinity being called “God, the Father.” In relation to Ephesians 4:6, the reference to “One God and Father of all” must still be interpreted in the overall context of the New Testament. Scripture always interprets Scripture and the New Testament — Gospels, Pauline Epistles, General Epistles — are quite clear that one becomes a “child of God” only through faith in Jesus Christ. When we repent of our sins and trust the finished work of Christ on the Cross, we are born-again (or from above) and are adopted into the family of God, thus becoming sons and daughters of the King. Given Mr. Romney’s Mormon background, I’m not sure that he would have an orthodox understanding of this concept. Therefore I think his statement that we are “all children of the same God” is in error, notwithstanding Ephesians 4:6. Thanks for stopping by. God bless,

      Howell

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful post. On our congregation’s website several weeks ago, I posted the following:

    Our Political Duty

    Our congregation is a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA), a branch of the church which is known for many things. Among other things, we are known by the name “Covenanters”, because of our identification with the Scottish Covenanters of the seventeenth century. Our spiritual forebears steadfastly proclaimed their allegiance to King Jesus in both church and state—a stance which resulted in thousands of martyrs in Scotland, as men, women, and children were tortured, many unto death, for their refusal to submit to government tyranny.

    Many observers today would say that the Reformed Presbyterian position on Christ’s kingship is actually its distinguishing characteristic. Forged in the fires of persecution, this doctrine proclaims that as the mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ rules over all things. This mediatorial kingship means that there is not one aspect of reality that is outside of the reign of the One who died on the cross, rose again from the dead, and is ascended into heaven.

    This truth obviously has political implications. One of them has to do with whether a Christian can participate in the American political process, since to do so entails supporting a constitution which declares that its source of authority is “We the people” rather than the King of kings and Lord of lords.

    For much of its history, the RPCNA, because of the failure of the U.S. Constitution to recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ, refused to allow its members to vote in elections or hold office. However, in the twentieth century, an accommodation was reached whereby someone taking an oath of allegiance to the Constitution could also append an Explanatory Declaration, as follows:

    “In taking this oath I make no mental reservation. I am a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and I declare that I owe a supreme allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in making that declaration I take the same God as my witness, invoking His assistance to help me to render due obedience to my country in all temporal matters. And I do further declare that I do not now know any matter in which I intend actual disobedience to any command of my country now known to me.”

    In allowing members to vote, however, the RPCNA specifies that “the Christian should support and vote only for such men as are publicly committed to scriptural principles of civil government. Should the Christian seek civil office by political election, he must openly inform those whose support he seeks of his adherence to Christian principles of civil government” (Reformed Presbyterian Testimony, Chapter 23, #29).

    This statement is the practical outworking of a position that maintains that the Lord Jesus is the sovereign ruler in church and state, and that we dare not be ashamed of Him. In this election year where the leading candidates do not fit the qualifications of office as defined by the RP Testimony, Reformed Presbyterians are urged not to compromise, but to follow the principles mentioned above and to leave the results to God.

    For Christ’s crown and covenant,
    Frank J. Smith, Ph.D., D.D.
    Pastor, Northminster Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPCNA), Suwanee, Georgia

    • Dr. Smith,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and leave a comment today. Thanks also for sharing the post that you had shared with your congregation regarding political duty and the election. In this election, I think that Evangelical Christians (including Reformed Presbyterians and Southern Baptists) cannot discount Mr. Romney’s false religious beliefs when voting. Based on your last paragraph, would it be your position that, given that both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney do not “fit the qualifications of office as defined by the RP testimony” that it would be better to not vote for either candidate? I know some Baptists have quoted the great 19th century British Baptist pastor, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, in his admonition, “When faced with a choice of two evils choose neither.” I don’t know that I will follow that advice in this election, but I believe that Christians should not be faulted if they do. Thanks again for stopping by today. God bless,

      Howell

      • Thanks for your kind response. To answer your question, I believe it would be better not to vote for either Obama or Romney. It is obvious that Mr. Obama, despite his claim to be a Christian, has opposed various Christian positions, including with regard to abortion and homosexuality. However, Mitt Romney as President might actually do more harm to the church long-term.

        We are in serious trouble in this country. Our nation is in decay. We may very well not survive as a nation. However, much of the blame lies with the church, considered both corporately and as individuals. We have not been the salt and light influence we should have been. We have not proclaimed the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all areas of life. We have not engaged in worship as we should have, but have allowed entertainment to take the place of coming reverently into the special presence of God and offering worship in accordance with divine command (cf. Lev. 10:1-2).

        All of these factors lead me to believe that we will soon be facing widespread persecution throughout our land, as God’s way not only of chastising us (God is not mocked) but also purging us. It is not that I welcome that prospect. However, this is one method the Lord may use in order to bring us to our senses and to repentance.

        Having a conservative Mormon in the White House may bring some relief temporarily. However, it would almost certainly have a greatly deleterious effect. For one thing, this highly deceitful group would be afforded a higher profile and a respectability which it would not otherwise enjoy. Beyond that, the Christian community would be tempted to think that Mormon teachings are not all that bad, and to tone down the labeling of Mormonism as a cult.

        In brief, we don’t know what God’s will is for this country: His providences are mysterious. Who knows but that maybe His will is to convert Barack Obama to a genuine faith in Christ? Who knows but that maybe it is His will to destroy this nation? Who knows but that we will go through the fires of persecution in the near future? What is important is not what happens to the United States of America, but rather whether we will positively and self-consciously glorify King Jesus. And one of the ways in which we do that is by not supporting a deceitful man such as Gov. Romney for high office.

        We are told in Psalm 122 to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (i.e., God’s people, the church). Paul picks up on that theme in I Timothy 2:1-2. But we are not told to seek peace through compromise.

        Therefore, we should simply do our duty, and leave the results to God.

        As for myself, I most likely will vote for the Constitution Party candidates for President and Vice-President. Here in Georgia, with its very restrictive ballot access, that will mean casting a write-in vote.

        Cordially in Christ,
        Frank J. Smith, Ph.D., D.D.
        Pastor, Northminster Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPCNA), Suwanee, Georgia
        http://www.northminster-church.com
        770-241-3946

  3. It would be unreasonable to expect that a President would check his religious beliefs at the door to the White House. There is no religious test to serve, but we don’t expect, nor have we experienced, a President who could neutralize his faith perspective while in office. That’s not going to happen regardless of who is elected.

    For Southern Baptists, and other Evangelical Christians, the issue of support for Romney when his Mormon faith is an extremely complicated one that should be carefully considered, and weighted honestly. It doesn’t mean that you have to vote for President Obama, nor that voting for a third party candidate, which is what I will most likely do, will lead to Obama’s re-election anyway. But, as he alluded to last night, Romney is a faithful Mormon, meaning that he accepts doctrines that essentially categorically deny all of the major essentials of the Christian faith, from the divine and human nature of Jesus, to the virgin birth, to the atonement, to salvation by grace through faith, and just about everything else. He served a mission, and a stint as a bishop, which means he’s been through the Temple ceremony in which he swore a blood oath to the church and was inducted into one of its priestly societies. It means that he very likely believes, along with most Mormons, that his election will be at least partial fulfillment of the prophecy that the Mormon church will be given the rule of the United States, and that his election may be the first step toward that end. It is not out of the realm of possibility to think that he would use the office, and power, of the Presidency, to do other things leading to “self-fulfillment” of Mormon prophecy. In his foreign policy remarks, he talks a lot about the US “shaping events” in the middle east, rather than reacting to what happens. That should cause alarm bells to go off for any knowledgeable Christian.

    • Lee,

      I think you make some excellent points regarding how Evangelical Christians — particularly Southern Baptists — should approach the upcoming election. Mr. Romney’s involvement in the Mormon religion has not been tangential, but rather deep and wide. To believe that he will check his religious beliefs at the White House door is naive. As Christians, we should be concerned about not just a President’s public policies, but also his core beliefs and values, especially when those beliefs and values are informed by a religion that most Bible-believing Christians believe to be antithetical to orthodox Christianity. I’m afraid that the number of “knowledgeable Christians” is not as big as it used to be. Thanks and God bless,

      Howell

  4. Romney’s Mormonism is worth considering and I think a lot of us considered it more during the primaries. But now that he is the nominee we now have to compare it to Obamas Black Liberation Theology. Do you have any thoughts about that?

    • Dan,

      Wow! What a question :-) I think that any theology — Black Liberation or Feminist to name two — which, like Mormonism, denies the central tenants of an orthodox, Biblical faith should be rejected as the false gospels that they are. Both Mormonism and Black Liberation Theology are a perversion of the Gospel. Therefore, I believe Christians should be concerned when elected leaders espouse these philosophies, whether in the primaries or general election. Will Romney’s Mormonism prevent me from voting for him? Probably not, although I don’t think it would be wrong for Christians to follow the advice of Charles Spurgeon which I shared in my comment to Dr. Smith above. If we are going to have a President who believes a false gospel, I would rather have the one who at least has social policies closer to Biblical Christianity. I think. Thanks and God bless,

      Howell

  5. Romney lied?
    That is a very harsh indictment, especially since a strong argument could be made that the Apostle Paul made a similar claim when he addressed the pagan Stoic philosophers of Athens:

    “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone — an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”
    — Acts 17:26-30

    • Paul,

      Thanks for reading and for the comment. I suppose I could have used a less harsh word in describing what I believe to be a “mistake” or wrong interpretation of Scripture. As I believe that Scripture interprets Scripture and clearer Scripture interprets less clear Scripture, I do not believe that Paul had in mind that we become “children of God” or “sons and daughters of God” in the sense that the New Testament proclaims. In the argument that Paul was making, I believe he had in mind what I mentioned in my post — that everyone who has ever been born can be considered the creation of God (i.e., “offspring”). However, that does not mean that we automatically become “children of the same god” as Mr. Romney stated. We become God’s children only through faith in Jesus Christ when we are born-again and adopted into His family as sons and daughters of the King. That theological principle, IMO, is fairly clear throughout the New Testament, including in the Gospels. Hope that helps clarify what I was trying to convey. Thanks and God bless,

      Howell

    • John,

      Good to hear from you. Hope you are doing well. I figured that one of my Phi Sig RI brethren would have caught that :-) I will definitely get in touch with you if I am out your way. If you ever find yourself out in NM or in El Paso, TX (about 1 1/2) from where I live, let me know. Would love to get together. Take care and God bless,

      Dixie

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