The President & The Prophet: Obama’s Unusual Encounter with Eric Metaxas

Obama came to the prayer breakfast with a tidy speech that was clearly designed to lay those doubts to rest. He spoke of his daily habit of prayer and Bible reading, his regular conversations with preachers like T. D. Jakes and Joel Hunter, and even told a story of the time he prayed over Billy Graham.

But before the president could utter a word, it was Metaxas who delivered a devastating, albeit apparently unintentional critique of such God-talk, recounting his own religious upbringing which he described as culturally Christian yet simultaneously full of “phony religiosity.”

“I thought I was a Christian. I guess I was lost,” he matter-of-factly stated.

Standing no more than five feet from Obama whose binder had a speech chock full of quotes from the Good Book, Metaxas said of Jesus:

“When he was tempted in the desert, who was the one throwing Bible verses at him? Satan. That is a perfect picture of dead religion. Using the words of God to do the opposite of what God does. It’s grotesque when you think about it. It’s demonic.”

“Keep in mind that when someone says ‘I am a Christian’ it may mean absolutely nothing,” Metaxas added for good measure, in case anybody missed his point.

The eerie feeling that Metaxas was answering Obama on a speech he had yet to give continued, as he spoke about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and the Christian religion. Moments after Metaxas finished his speech and sat down, Obama took great pains to describe the other great religions of the world as mirroring his own Christian faith.

“I believe in God’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself,’” Obama noted. “I know the version of that Golden Rule is found in every major religion and every set of beliefs — from Hinduism to Islam to Judaism to the writings of Plato.”

Translation: Christianity is great and so are the other major religions, which essentially teach the same stuff.

“But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’” he added.

The President & The Prophet

Online Video via C-SPAN

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Joshua Hawn's picture

I thought Mr. Metaxas' speech was very good and that he was courageous to say what he had to say. I am intrigued by his style and will probably go and find one of his books. But I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say that he is a prophet.