President Obama claims to be baffled as to why religious leaders view themselves as being under attack by his assault on the 1st Amendment.
That’s probably because Obama’s understanding of faith, salvation and the gospel message itself are very different from the way most American Christians understand it.
President Obama when asked about the attacks from conservatives that he is waging a “war on religion” said that he finds it “puzzling,” particularly because of his first job as a community organizer in Chicago, working with churches where he says he spread the “social gospel.”
In an interview Monday with Des Moines television station WHO he said of the charges, “I find this very puzzling, because my first job, my first real job out of college, was working with churches in low-income communities, trying to make sure that the social gospel was made real, that people were getting help.”
So Obama proudly admits he used to partner with Leftist churches to spread the “Social Gospel.” And what exactly does the “Social Gospel” teach?
Flourishing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Social Gospel Movement was a Protestant intellectual phenomenon headed by clergymen who sought to reconcile Christianity with a progressive social agenda; who saw the state as the instrument by which God could intervene in human affairs and promote the collectivism supposedly advocated by Jesus. This collectivism, said exponents of the Social Gospel, held the keys to the eradication of all manner of societal ills – inequality, alcoholism, crime, racism, poverty, ignorance, exploitation, and violence.
Whereas conservative theologians saw redemption and reconciliation strictly as matters between each individual and God, progressives in the Social Gospel Movement held that redemption could only be achieved collectively, by means of unified, social and political activism. They maintained, moreover, that the Second Coming of Christ could not occur until humankind had eliminated all social evils by means of such activism. One notable mouthpiece of the Social Gospel was the Baptist minister and theologian Walter Rauschenbush, who said: “Individualism means tyranny.”
To adherents of the “Social Gospel” heresy, salvation is achieved (yes, achieved, not received) collectively rather than individually, and Obama himself has expressed this belief publicly. It has to do with people trying to create – through human effort and state coercion – a world where God’s “will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 16:10). In other words, trying to create Utopia…heaven on earth. And the Utopia they seek, of course, is Socialist.
The social gospel is not new to this president. It is largely a creation of 20th-century Protestants who believed in applying “Christian principles” to rectify society’s problems. Deeds quickly supplanted faith, evolving into a “works salvation” theology, which says if you do enough good works, God will be pleased and let you into Heaven when you die. This contradicts biblical teaching that it is by faith and not works that one is saved from judgment (Ephesians 2:8-9). Some verses teach works as an extension of faith, revealing its depth and seriousness, but they equally teach that works without faith in Jesus is not enough. This is traditional Christian theology. Accept it, or not, but the president is mistaken when he interprets Scripture to achieve his political goals.