Looking for a Saviour in all the Wrong Places



November 5, 2008

By Mark Penninga (

The United States has a new president. Obamamania has swept the nation. Tears of joy covered the faces of many in the crowds who celebrated when Barack Hussein Obama won the election. The mainstream media was in a frenzy – finally a politician that they can embrace and rejoice in! This is the beginning of a new era of hope and change and freedom.

Or is it? How can one man change history and bring hope? Obama’s campaign was built on the slogan “CHANGE We Can Believe In.” But we know that the Bible says that One man has already come to bring hope and freedom. Jesus Christ solved humanity’s real problem – sin. He could only do so because he was God Incarnate. Sin was and always will be the ultimate problem that we face both individually and as a nation. It manifests itself in many forms: greed (think of the massive personal debts that plague the economy), selfishness (think of the culture of rights that has swallowed up much of our legal system), lust (the objectification of women or the demand for more toys) are but a few examples. These are ultimately spiritual, not political, problems.

America has woken up with a renewed hope because of its new president. Hope is a good thing, but hope placed in human strength will only disappoint. Obama has not demonstrated a faith that recognizes Christ’s sovereignty over all things. On the contrary, his platform has been based on human achievements. It is the religion of secular humanism.

The Western world is more and more pushing Christianity out the back door and ushering in this new religion. It is a religion based on concepts like respect, tolerance, compassion, choice, and diversity. These doctrines sound quite appealing. In fact, many Christians are buying into them as well because they seem to reflect the fruits of the Spirit and Christ’s teachings about love. A growing sentiment in many churches is that traditional “right wing” issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage should be dropped and replaced with more compassionate issues such as homelessness, poverty, and the environment.

The problem is that when the secular humanist doctrines are examined in any depth, it quickly becomes apparent that they are empty. They lack any sort of moral foundation. They glorify our own choices rather than God. Concepts such as tolerance and compassion are being hijacked by the secular humanists. Tolerance ends up being a license for doing whatever one wants to without being told that it is wrong. But tolerance ends when a view that disagrees with it is brought forward. How dare we say that some things are right and others are wrong! Secular humanism also claims to be compassionate and yet marginalizes all humans who are an inconvenience or who don’t demonstrate certain abilities (abortion for the unborn, “mercy-killing” for the disabled, euthanasia for the elderly). Christians who think that the church has to buy into these doctrines of secular humanism are deceived. The Bible is very clear in what it requires of us as citizens of earth and citizens of God’s kingdom. We must be voices for truth, justice, and righteousness. But we also have to be people of grace and compassion. These concepts can only be properly grounded in God’s Word, not the whims of our secular society.

In times like these, Christians must be a loud and clear clarion, sounding forth the hope and freedom that come from Christ alone. God’s salvation alone brings real joy. It is not based on change but rather the same certainty and truth that will always be. No, politics is not the main venue to bring this message of hope. It must permeate every sphere of life. Praise be to the King who is really in control. It is He who raises up earthly rulers (see Romans 13). What a comfort.

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