"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
First Amendment vs. Faith?
The newly elected Governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, is coming under fire for some comments he made regarding his faith in the former church of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For context here’s what he said:
”I was elected as a Republican candidate. But once I became governor … I became the governor of all the people. I intend to live up to that. I am color blind… There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit, but if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister. Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So 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.”
People are claiming that this alienates non-Christians… maybe it does… After all, the scripture says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18) and Galatians 5 calls the cross offensive… Jesus said that because the world hated Him they certainly would hate those who follow Him…
In Gov. Bentley’s defense, he made these comments in a church! And the comments themselves were very inclusive and loving. You may say they seem very much the opposite, but consider this: Noted atheist Penn Gillette pointed out in his video blog that he doesn’t respect Christians who will not try to evangelize… Because if they truly believe that there is a Hell why would they not want to spare someone from it… He himself said that if he urged someone to get out of the way of a bus they didn’t believe was bearing down on them there would come a time when he’d just push them out of the way… and if Heaven and Hell are real, the Christian message is much more important… (Click Here for this Vlog entry).
I respect Gov. Bentley for telling the truth and for saying it in an open, honest, and loving way (“I want to be your brother”). As we’ve said before in this blog, we believe that your faith must permeate your whole life – Jesus doesn’t call us to compartmentalize our existence, He’s to be the center and purpose of everything. Bravo to Robert Bentley for following through with this regardless of the firestorm it started!
Will this affect his ability to govern well? Absolutely! However, I actually have much more confidence that he will be able to govern as he should now that he’s made these remarks than I would have had he not… Why? Because this same Jesus he boldly proclaimed in this speech as well as in his inaugural speech died out of love for all people… A man patterning his life after Christ’s example and seeking to be lead by the Holy Spirit will certainly be a good leader. I believe that Gov. Bentley is seeking just that… Here’s some other things he said on Monday:
“I am the governor of all of Alabama — Democrat, Republican and independent, young and old, black and white, rich and poor. My job is to make all of our lives better together.”
“You have heard me make this promise: I will not accept a paycheck until we reach a level of defined full employment… I challenge every elected official to join me in pledging to be a true public servant — a servant leader — for the people of our state… Jesus showed his disciples by example, that in order to be a great leader, you must first be a servant. And he demonstrated this, with the lowly act of washing the disciples’ feet. As public officials, now is not the time to be self-serving. It’s not the time to remain silent, inactive or apathetic. Now is the time for us to come together, take on the challenges we face and make life better for the people of our state.”
“The challenges are great, but as Mordecai told Esther as she placed her life in jeopardy to save our Jewish brethren, how do we know that we have not been placed here today for a time such as this?”
I hope and pray that Bentley will keep this type of humility and focus on Christ… it will make him a better leader… I also hope and pray, as a church leader, I will do the same… Follow Christ’s example, exude servant-leadership, love and work for others without being self serving and be bold about the Gospel… Lord, help more leaders rise up to do the same.
Social Commentary 1st Amendment, Alabama Governor, Christian Politicians, Faith and Politics, faith in government, First Amendment, Free Speech, Gospel, Government, Governor Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr., MLK, MLK Speech, religion in politics, Robert Bentley, you're not my brother, you're not my sister