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At a recent fundraiser in California, a heckler called President Obama the antichrist.  Such hateful rhetoric about this President has not been uncommon since his election.  There are Evangelical conservatives who believe that Obama is the antichrist because of his health care legislation, his popularity among world leaders, his “position on Israel,” and on and on.  However, Evangelical conservatives have also labeled other world leaders as the antichrist including popes of the Catholic Church, former President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others.  So, what does the Bible say about the antichrist?

The Apostle John uncovers the identity of antichrist when he wrote, “Who is the liar?  It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ.  Such a man is the antichrist––he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:22-23 NIV).  In his second epistle, John also writes: “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 1:7 NIV).  John taught that anyone who denies the legacy and deity of Jesus is the antichrist.  However, in the book of Revelation, John mentions both an individual and an institution that represents what John describes as “a beast that deceived the inhabitants of the earth.”  (Revelation 13:12-14)

According to Wikipedia, the term or title antichrist, in Christian theology, is a leader who fulfills Biblical prophecies concerning an adversary of Jesus Christ, while resembling him in a deceptive manner.  The antichrist will seemingly provide for the needs of the people but deny them ultimate salvation.  In the second chapter of Second Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul summarizes the nature, work, coming and revelation of the “Man of Sin” – a passage often regarded as referring to the same person that John describes as the antichrist.  (2 Thessalonians 2:3-10).  So basically, the so-called “antichrist” or “beast” is someone or something who doesn’t believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  Therefore, given this definition, a “Christian” cannot be the “antichrist.”

President Obama is “a Christian by choice,” a conscious decision he made after growing up in a family that didn’t practice its religion, the president told a group of Albuquerque, N.M. residents during a backyard discussion.  When asked about his spiritual beliefs during a question and answer session, the president said the church came “later in life.”  Obama said, “My mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew but she didn’t raise me in the church.  So I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life I would want to lead.”  Obama went on to say that, “Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings — that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God.  But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace.  And so that’s what I strive to do.  That’s what I pray to do every day. I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith,” President Obama said.

Obama made these comments because of controversies over his religion including comments about the construction of a mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero.  The Pew Research Center poll released in August 2010, found that one in five Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim and only a third believe he is a Christian.  Forty-three percent of respondents said they had no idea what religion Obama practices.  This shouldn’t be a surprise since this same group of people didn’t believe that he was born in the United States even though he supplied two copies of his birth certificates.  And even now, some still do not believe that he is a US citizen.

Although the President has made it clear that he is a Christian, he also emphasized his appreciation for tolerance of all religious beliefs.  “I’m also somebody who deeply believes that part of the bedrock strength of this country is that it embraces people of many faiths and of no faith,” he said. “This is a country that is still predominantly Christian.  But we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists and that their own path to grace is one that we have to revere and respect as much as our own.”  Remember, Obama is the President of the United States of America who happens to be a Christian and that role must embrace all people.

Apparently, Obama’s organizing days helped clarify his sense of faith and social action as entangled. “It’s hard for me to imagine being true to my faith—and not thinking beyond myself, and not thinking about what’s good for other people, and not acting in a moral and ethical way,” He “felt God’s spirit beckoning me,” he writes in “The Audacity of Hope.”

“It wasn’t an epiphany,” Obama says, “A bolt of lightning didn’t strike me and suddenly I said, ‘Aha!’  It was a more gradual process that traced back to those times that I had spent in New York wandering the streets or reading books, where I decided that the meaning I found in my life, the values that were most important to me, the sense of wonder that I had, the sense of tragedy that I had—all these things were captured in the Christian story.”

Obama became a Christian at the controversial Trinity United Church of Christ.  “That community of faith suited me,” Obama says.  “For one thing, Trinity insisted on social activism as a part of Christian life. It was also a family place”.  The Pastor of Trinity, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, “became a friend after he married”, Obama says.  At the point of his decision to accept Christ, Obama says, “what was intellectual and what was emotional joined, and the belief in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, that he died for our sins, that through Him we could achieve eternal life—but also that, through good works we could find order and meaning here on Earth and transcend our limits and our flaws and our foibles—I found that powerful.”

There should be no question in anyone’s mind that President Obama is a Christian and has accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior.  The “antichrist” would never acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, but that’s my take.

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