Is Barack Obama a Christian?

This perennial question came to the fore recently after American President Barack Obama endorsed same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts. Speaking of his views on the issue as the result of "an evolution," Obama relayed that he had decided that it was "important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married." Referencing the ethical witness of his daughters, the President made his argument on biblical grounds, specifically the "golden rule," the idea that we should "treat others the way you'd want to be treated," as he paraphrased Matthew 7:12. 

The question of whether any person is a Christian is important, not just a President or celebrity. Scripture offers numerous examples of people who claim faith and yet are not necessarily converted (Matt. 7:22; Luke 8:4–21; 2 Tim. 4:3–4). Christians and local churches act biblically when they examine a confession of faith to see if it is backed up by a holy, God-pleasing life (1 John 4:1; 1 Thess. 5:22). Though a vocal Christian contingent argues that such analysis is hostile, it is necessary for us to examine the faith of those who profess it.

At first blush, President Obama can certainly sound like a Christian. As seen above, he cites Scripture as an inspiration and moral guide. At the 2012 Easter prayer breakfast, he explored the "all-important gift of grace" that came through the endurance of "unimaginable pain that wracked His body and bore the sins of the world." At the 2011 prayer breakfast, he spoke of how he came to "know Jesus Christ for myself and embrace Him as my lord and savior." The President had sounded similar themes in his 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani. 

Yet ...

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