Monday, January 24, 2011

Bravo Brother Bentley

Shortly after being sworn in as the new governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley spoke at a local Baptist church. The following comments he made there caused a stir in the media…

“There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit. But if you have been adopted in God's family like I have, and like you have if you're a Christian and if you're saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.”

Bentley then stated, “Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”

Not surprisingly, the secular press had a field day with the governor’s remarks. One reporter wrote, “Elected officials should not be perpetuating prejudices.” As a result, Governor Bentley issued an apology two days later. Among the things he said was, “If anyone from other religions felt disenfranchised by the language, I want to say I am sorry. I am sorry if I offended anyone in any way.”

I don’t think Robert Bentley needed to apologize at all. He was making an appeal for salvation inside a church and not the governor’s mansion. Notice Robert told the non-Christians, “I want to be your brother.” That’s the heart of an evangelist. The gospel message will always be offensive to those who refuse to accept it.

Since Robert Bentley is a public official representing all the people of Alabama, perhaps he could have taken the time to clarify the definition of Christian brotherhood. Jesus did that in Luke chapter 8…

19 Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd.
20 And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.”
21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

At the same time, Christians should always act Christ-like toward every human being whether they are saved or not. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), Jesus lauded the Samaritan as the “true neighbor” to the man in need, not the Jewish priest who ignored him. Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

In this age of political correctness, it’s encouraging to see authorities like Robert Bentley speaking openly and boldly about their faith in Jesus. Let’s pray that God will give the governor and other born again leaders wisdom to communicate the gospel in ways that will produce more brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”
- 1 Peter 2:17

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