Obama’s race speech and missiology

… for over thirty years [Jeremiah Wright] led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth — by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Thus saith Obama. There have been many criticisms made of Wright’s church, Obama’s association and now his speech distancing/defending. But I have a missiological criticism to make.

This criticism will never make the NYT nor the conservative blogs. I’ll continue to run below the political radar. Just as well.

Note what Obama calls God’s work here on earth. Benevolence. Doing good. And good it is. Helping homeless, needy, suffering, the disadvantaged and the down-and-out.

But these are not God’s work on earth. His work on earth is saving souls for eternity.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going” (John 14:1-4).

You may house the homeless, but unless you give him hope of an eternal abode, you have not done God’s work on earth.

You may give bread to the needy, but until you offer the bread of life, Jesus the Christ, you cannot say you have done God’s work on earth.

You may offer scholarships to students, but until you teach the necessity of obeying God’s command to receive eternal life (John 12:50), you’ve failed to do God’s work on earth.

You may help the suffering, like those with AIDS, but until you have held forth the sure remedy for the soul’s malady, you’ve failed to do God’s work on earth.

God’s work on earth is not to change a person’s material or economic status, but to transform the inner person and introduce him into the divine fellowship, to prepare him for the great off-world experience of living under the effulgence of the Creator.

Obama’s missiological mistake will not keep him from getting chosen as a political party’s candidate or advancing in his campaign. It, among other errors, will keep him from entering into other blessings.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?