Posts Tagged ‘David’

Obama’s Pastors Don’t Preach the Bible

May 14, 2008

Let me describe the kind of guy whom Senator Barack Obama considers “a wonderful young pastor.”

He’s the kind of man who calls the biblical patriarch Abraham a “pimp,” and says that Noah and Moses were thugs. He’s the kind of pastor who says that Jesus has a “soft spot for thugs,” and assures his congregation that everyone has some “thug proclivities.”

You buy that? Here are some highlights of Barack Obama’s new pasor, the Rev. Otis Moss III:

# “Jesus has a soft spot for thugs.”

# “God is always using thugs to do God’s work.”

# “Everyone has a little bit of thug in them.”

# Noah was a “thug” who “was drinking much gin and juice and got drunk on the eve of reconstruction.”

# Abraham “pimped his own wife.”

# Jacob was a “hustler” who “stole his own brother’s birthright.”

# Moses was a “thug” and “if he got mad would give you a royal beatdown.”

# Sampson was a “thug” and a “player.”

# David was a “thug,” a “shot caller,” and a “player,” and a man after God’s own heart.

Strangely, most of these statements actually have a certain legitimacy to them (although Jacob did NOT “steal” his brother’s birthright; Easau sold it to him as per Genesis 25:29-34; Moses gave that “beatdown” early in his life prior to hearing God’s call as per Exodus 2:11-14; and the account of Abraham “pimping” his wife was actually more a tale of a frightened sojourner concealing his marriage in order to save his life as per Genesis 12:10-13.

And I would even acknoweldge the statement that “Jesus has a soft spot for thugs” in the sense that He has a “soft spot” for sinners in need of a Savior.

But – from these relative high points – the sermon goes down hill pretty fast from there.

Ronald Kessler, the chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com, has it this way:

While Moss has not expressed hatred of America and of whites, as Wright did, in a sermon on YouTube, Moss derides middle-class America for not accepting the “prophetic brilliance” of thugs.

Referring to these thugs, Moss says sardonically, “There are times when our prejudice keeps us from hearing ghetto prophets, who preach a brand of thug theology which keeps us from hearing the truth from their lips because of their course language and ragged subject-verb agreement.”

To applause, Moss approvingly cites Tupac Shakur, a “gangsta” rap star with a long arrest record. Before being fatally shot in a drive-by attack in Las Vegas in 1996, Shakur faced a 120-day sentence for probation violations stemming from offenses including assault and battery and a 1994 sexual abuse conviction in New York. Shakur served 11 months in prison for his involvement in the sexual attack on a 21-year-old woman in a New York hotel room.

Judge Daniel P. Fitzgerald of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan described it as “an act of brutal violence against a helpless woman.”

Shakur had also been convicted in Los Angeles of assault and battery on a music video producer and for carrying a loaded, concealed weapon.

Most Americans look to places of worship for inspiration and moral and spiritual guidance. Moss’ message is the opposite. Claiming Shakur’s message speaks to our “current condition,” Moss blurs the distinction between right and wrong: He says those who don’t get that a rapper like Shakur is a prophet and biblical figures are thugs are confined by “bourgeois paradigms.”

Instead of condemning those who break the law, Moss says to exuberant applause, “Our society creates thugs. Children are not born thugs. Thugs are made and not born.” He adds, “This is good news for somebody who has a proclivity for ‘ghettoistic’ conduct.”

Indeed, it is good news for those who do not want to be held accountable for their own conduct. In making that statement, Moss endorses the message of many black leaders who encourage blacks to see themselves as helpless victims of a bigoted society. As outlined in the Newsmax article “Rev. Wright Furthers Black Victimhood,” the victim mentality limits blacks’ aspirations and torpedoes their chances at success.

I agree with Kessler’s assessment, and add to his observations the following:

Contrast Rev. Moss harsh, nearly vindictive assessments of these great men from the Bible with his overly gracious (to say the least!) view of Tupac Shakur as “a prophet.” And then the Reverend Moss – who called the prophetic composer of many of the songs in the Book of Psalms a “thug,” a “shot caller,” and a “player” – proceeded to quote at length his version of “prophetic song.”

Psalms is the longest book in the Bible, with 150 chapters. Maybe it’s just me, but somehow I don’t see this ditty making the cut and becoming the 151st Psalm.

I want you to understand something about the Bible; it is a story of God’s people, who are viewed warts and all. We know how these men started out; we even know how they managed to slip and fall down mid way through the journey of life. But ultimately, these stories are not about the men and women who slip and fall into the mud, but about the glorious God who is at work in their lives, and who brought life after life to triumph after triumph.

So Christians are aware of the dark side of its saints; but they are far more aware of the side that God created and developed in them.

Read Hebrews chapter 11, “the Faith Hall of Fame,” for the contrast of the spiritual Christian view with that of Obama’s new pastor:

# “It was by faith that Noah built an ark to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about something that had never happened before. By his faith he condemned the rest of the world and was made right in God’s sight” (Heb 11:7 NLT).

# It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. he went without even knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith – for he was like a foreigner, living in a tent. And so did Isaac and Jacob, to whom God made the same promise. Abraham did this because he was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. It was by faith that Sarah [the woman Abraham allegedly “pimped out”] together with Abraham was able to have a child, even though they were too old and Sarah was barren. Abraham believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man, Abraham, who was too old to have any children – a nation with so many people that, like the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them…. It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his ownly son, Isaac, though God had promised him, ‘Isaac is the son through whom your descendendts will be counted. Abraham assumed that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” (Heb 11:8-12; 17-19 NLT).

# It was by faith that Isaac blessed his two sons, Jacob and Esau. He had confidence in what God was going to do in the future. It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed down in worship as he leaned on his staff.

# It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be treated as the son of Pharoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasure of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of the Messiah than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the great reward that God would give him. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt. He was not afraid of the king. Moses kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons” (Hebrews 11:24-28 NLT).

# Well, how much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death” (Hebrews 11:32-35 NLT).

These aren’t stories about “thugs”; these are stories about the God who transforms life after life when those lives come into contact with the living God. Trinity United Church of Christ fixates on where the saints of the Bible were at their worst, and leaves them there in an artificial portrait of negativity. And then it’s pastors paint a picture of victimhood and blame to justify that bleak portrait of the world.

Genuine Christianity – whether believers are red or yellow, black or white – fixates on the God who brings His saints to ultimate glory through faith. And when believers see that God, they can look beyond their circumstances and find the positive.

That’s the real problem with Trinity United and with its pastors former and current: there is a presentation of constant, unrelenting resentment, racism, and victimology, a seeing of the world through the prism of Marxist (i.e. liberation theology) thought rather than through the eyes of faith in the Christ of hope.

I don’t know what Trinity United Church teaches, but it isn’t the Christianity of Jesus Christ.

Let me share the real message of hope and change found in the message of Scripture:

Ephesians 1:12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Philippians 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

Colossians 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,

2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,

1 Timithy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope;

Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;

Hebrews 3:6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

Do you see the difference between what the Bible proclaims – and what Christian pastors preach to congregations of every race under heaven all over the world – with the message that Jeremiah Wright and Otis Moss preach?

It’s strange that Barack Obama – as the “candidate of hope and change” – chose to spend so much of his life surrounded by such a toxic congregation, filled with the despair of abandonment and the stagnation of racism, instead of seeking a congregation that genuinely understood the true hope and change found in the Christ he claims to worship.