Let me start off by making two statements, just to clarify.
- I want to see a new occupant in the White House in 2013, in the worst way. I think Barack Obama’s policies are dangerous and destructive to the future of America.
- I don’t have a huge problem voting for a Mormon to be the next president. Romney was not my first choice (Tim Pawlenty), my second choice (Herman Cain) or my third choice (Rick Santorum – for whom I caucused). His false religion was a part of my desire to find another candidate. But when he became the nominee, I made peace with that.
So, I am a conservative Christian ready to vote for a Mormon to be the next president of the United States.
But I am deeply disturbed by some things that are going on among conservative Christians. In our desire to “save America” and to advance our political agenda, are we in danger of giving up something more valuable than the White House.
“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?”
I would ask conservative Christians in America,
“What does it profit us if we gain the White House and lose the soul of our faith?”
Politics is about compromise, but there are certain compromises we cannot make without sacrificing the essentials truths of our face. A disappointing and disturbing example of this took place at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association recently. A few days ago, Billy Graham and his son met with Mitt Romney. Pictures of this meeting appear when you go to their site. Also appearing there is a thinly veiled endorsement of Romney. Graham exhorts voters to focus on biblical values, especially the sanctity of life and preservation of traditional marriage. Romney’s platform supports both of these things, while Obama is against them. Obama is also perceived as less friendly to Israel than Romney would be.
Here is what Graham said:
“As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election may be my last,” Graham says in the ad. “I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.”
It is certainly Billy Graham’s right to make such an endorsement, even if it is something of a departure from his lifelong trend to focus on the gospel and proclaim it to those in power on both sides of the aisle. He shared Christ with Democrats and Republicans and did not endorse either side. For a man whose entire life has been about the gospel, that seemed like a wise choice. But I actually agree with him on the importance of this election, the key issues on which Christians need to focus and the need for us to stand and be counted.
But then came the problem.
The Graham website had a definition of cults and listed Mormonism as one of those cults. But at some point recently, they removed the mention of Mormonism as a cult – at just about the same time that Graham gave his tacit Romney endorsement.
What can we believe but that Billy Graham, the greatest proclaimer of the gospel in the last century, has compromised biblical truth – no, GOSPEL truth – for political reasons. To help elect Mitt Romney, they softened their stance against the false religion he professes.
A representative of the BGEA tried to put a positive spin on this. Ken Barun, chief of staff for the BGEA wrote this statement.
“Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign.”
I am sorry, but I do not buy it. This waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck. Don’t tell me it is an eagle. To claim that removing the statement identifying Mormonism as a cult was done to prevent politicizing the issue defies logic and insults our intelligence. Mormonism is a false cult that damns souls to hell for eternity. I pray that Mitt Romney will see the truth before his life ends. But for Billy Graham to walk back his clear statement that this religion is false is sad and indefensible.
Bart Barber’s response to this is pretty much spot on. He said, to close his hard-hitting post:
“I’ve got my priorities straight. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association doesn’t. I’m worried about some of the other institutions of Evangelicalism around me.
I’m worried about some of you.
Prove me wrong. Prove the BGEA wrong. Prove Mitt Romney wrong. Come out HARD against this terrible mistake, and do it BEFORE the election.”
Well, Bart, count me among those who want to call out the BGEA and “come out HARD” against what they have done.
I do not plan to punish Mitt Romney (nor America) for Billy Graham’s folly. But I do not intend to soften my conviction that his faith is founded in falsehoods. He may be a great president, but unless he repents of his sins and trusts Jesus Christ by grace through faith alone, he will be condemned. His Mormon faith, no matter how sincerely held, will never save him.
American evangelicals, let us not seek to gain the White House by losing the soul of our faith in the process.