i have never been a george w. bush “fanboy”. i did vote for him, but have often stared blankly or shook my head in frustration at some of the things he has said and done, or didn’t say or do. he has had one of the most trying presidencies in the history of the nation, and like him or not, his days as president are almost over.

president bush has long been said to have been in the “religious right’s” pocket, and he has spoken openly about being a christian. his faith based initiatives, fight against a.i.d.s., and stance against abortion have been some of the more visible manifestations of his faith.

recently however, he gave an interview with abc’s nightline in which he gave some answers that were not at all on par with the base he is supposedly controlled by or at least catering to.

regarding the inerrancy of scripture bush answers the question “is the bible literally true?” with:

You know. Probably not … No, I’m not a literalist,
but I think you can learn a lot from it, but I do
think that the New Testament, for example is …
has got … You know, the important lesson is
“God sent a son.”

that is a troubling response on a lot of fronts, but it begs the question, “if the bible is not literally true (1), then how do you decide which parts are true?” so, if bush doesn’t think the bible is literally true, how does he know the parts about jesus being the son of god are true?
baptist press reports that when asked if he believes that the god he prays to is the same god of other religions that the president said “i do”. he goes on to say:

“I do believe there is an Almighty that is broad
and big enough, loving enough, that can encompass
a lot of people. I don’t think God is a narrow concept.
I think it’s a broad concept. I just happen to believe
the way to God is through Christ, and others have
different avenues toward God, and I believe we
pray to the same Almighty — I do.”

this must be where mr. bush’s loose view of scripture comes in to play where such explicit texts as the following must be dismissed by some other rationale other than the plain meaning of the text.

john 14:6 – “… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man can come to the Father, but by me.”

rom. 10:9 – “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

acts 4:12 – Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

of particular interest regarding the false god of islam, allah, is this text.

1 john 2:23 – Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

muslims, who explicitly and emphatically deny that jesus was/is the son of god, cannot by this standard truly worship the same god. paul, author of more than half of the new testament preached and taught an exclusive gospel- that it is only through faith alone in jesus christ that one can be saved. concerning any other gospel he writes emphatically:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (gal. 1:6-9)

so mr. bush is wrong. as i said earlier about barack obama, i am in no position to know mr. bush’s heart – he has certainly been known for a certain inability to articulate. so i cannot say that he is *not* a christian.(2)he certainly has made statements concerning his sin and need for forgiveness, which are essential to the gospel. but his statements in this article are certainly outside the bounds of historic christian orthodoxy and the plain reading of scripture.

for a related discussion, i wrote on a similar topic (“god’s name is not allah”) here.

(1) – by “literally true” i do not mean that every single world was intended to be taken completely literally. the bible obviously uses hyperbole, simile and metaphor, and other literary devices in which exaggeration and over/under simplification are completely acceptable, and common to all forms of communication. the bible certainly used language that was expected to be “interpreted” as illustrative or explanatory for the sake of communicating well. we expect the same thing from our own literature, even historical, educational, and journalistic literature…all of which are included in scripture. it is curious that the demands of “literal-ness” that are placed on scripture are never demanded in the same way of any other historical document.
 i am simply refering to the historic and evangelical christian view that scripture is completely true and without error. see the
chicago statement of inerrancy or the baptist faith and message’s statement on scripture.

(2) though mr. bush’s statements regarding his view of scripture and the common god of the faith of others is troubling indeed, mr. obama’s statements regarding the content and meaning of his own faith leaves a much more vague view of what it is he actually believes- and that view looks very little like historic/orthodox christianity. still… my inability to judge and know hearts, especially through the information given through the media remains. see previous post on obama’s faith here.