Yesterday, President Obama talked about his faith in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After months of speculation, Obama said he is a "Christian by choice" and expounded on how Jesus' teachings impacted his life. So, that puts this whole controversy to bed, right?
Not so much.
The concept of choosing Christianity flies in the face of Christian theology because it makes you the ultimate authority over whether you believe. Put another way, thinking you choose to be Christian puts you above God. In my particular brand of Christian belief, we don't choose whether to believe; it's the work of the Holy Spirit that opens our hearts to God's word.
Combine the "Christian by choice" comment with another concept Obama has brought into the public eye: collective salvation. Obama has said, "...my individual salvation is not going to come without a collective salvation for the country." He has reiterated the idea of collective salvation in speeches to graduates.
The problem? Under Christian faith, Christ died for our sins, giving us salvation. Once we open our hearts to the implications of His sacrifice, we're saved. We don't have to save everyone to earn our salvation because it's already been earned. If we don't save everybody, we're not doomed to Hell.
As much as Obama wants to put this controversy to rest, when we look at the totality of what Obama has done as President and what he's said about his faith, the questions remain. It takes more than saying "I'm a Christian" to be a Christian. As someone who has fallen out of the Christian faith and returned, my life has been fundamentally transformed by my faith, but I don't see that in Obama. What I see is someone who is trying to portray himself as a Christian as a means to hide his true faith, while at the same time elevating himself to a position above the God he professes to believe.
But I'll pray for him all the same. That's what Christians do.