Hebrews 10:23--Obama's formal faith statement

Many in the audience in Denver and at home probably noticed how Barack Obama's cadence changed toward the end of his acceptance speech as he took on the tone of a preacher.  It might take some discussion to understand the signficance of his closing line, one that may have been offered as a central statement of his faith as well as the message of his campaign.  "Let us hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess."

The reference is to Paul's letter to the Hebrews, Ch. 10, v. 23.  This section of the epistle is a celebration of possibility, how all Christians can now, through the sacrifice of Jesus, enter "boldly into the sanctuary," which was previously reserved only for the priests of the Hebrew covenant. This chapter endorses a radical equality, the priesthood of all believers.  With this radical equality comes a mutual responsibility.  In the lines following those quoted by Obama is this exhortation: "We ought to see how each of us may best arouse others to love and active goodness." And Paul also exhorts his audience to boldness, as in the last verse of the chapter: "We are not among those who shrink back and are lost; we have the faith to make life our own."

I believe this was not a scriptural reference offered by a campaign religious advisor.  This reference seems an absolutely sincere expression of faith and the spiritual grounding of Obama's bold endeavor.

-J. Hannon

Tags: Obama's speech; Obama's faith statement; Obama and Christianity (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

Re: Hebrews 10:23--Obama's formal faith statement

The most interesting post-script to the speech for me was that both religion (by choosing a more uncommon but salient quote) and patriotism were shown to be something not limited to the Right.

If the Right loses the stranglehold on those two topics, they'll have to run on (gulp) their ideas.

by TCQuad 2008-08-28 09:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Hebrews 10:23--Obama's formal faith statement

"More uncommon," indeed -- and it suggests that Barack Obama has actually read his Bible, not just memorized a bunch of proof-texts pulled from a book by Pat Robertson on the just-around-the-corner apocalypse.

by JDWalley 2008-08-28 09:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Hebrews 10:23--Obama's formal faith statement

NO, NOT THEIR IDEAS! ARRRRGH

:-)

by xodus1914 2008-08-29 06:01AM | 0 recs
Wow

That's something you will never, ever see from about 90% of the speakers next week at the GOP death march. I didn't even realize that. Damn.

by vcalzone 2008-08-28 09:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

who will bother to watch? LOL

by zerosumgame 2008-08-28 10:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow
You're absolutely right. The only ones watching it will be ones who are looking to get pumped up. Swing voters will look to see more about John McCain's policies, only to find that he doesn't actually HAVE any beyond just not changing a damn thing. I just posted this in another comment, but screw it, I'm proud.
by vcalzone 2008-08-28 10:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

more ratings abuse. You really need to talk to your buddies ;p

by zerosumgame 2008-08-29 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

Not my buddies. If you want praise, change your mind or lie. You have kept my respect, though, for what little that is worth.

by vcalzone 2008-08-29 03:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

change it from what? and I try to avoid lying, i leave that to ones like turtlemolestor that kind seem to enjoy it a lot.

by zerosumgame 2008-08-29 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

No, I mean that because you differ in opinion from the prevailing trend, you're gonna face the resistance. Many people here are here to talk, but some people are here to police teh interwebs.

by vcalzone 2008-08-29 10:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Hebrews 10:23--Obama's formal faith statement

I have a hard time (as a pastor) when politicians on both sides of the party line quote Scripture and replace faith in Christ with faith America.  The easy interchange of America and Jesus is troubling politically and religiously.  While I loved Obama's speech, this piece was my least favorite part.

by proseandpromise 2008-08-28 10:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Hebrews 10:23--Obama's formal faith statement

I don't think he used it in his speech to say that faith in jesus should replace faith in America. It is a nice turn of phrase, whether it comes from the Bible or Shakesphere, to me, is not relevant.

Besides that, if a politician is going to be religious, I would rather have it be known because of the occasional dropping in of a phrase from Scripture then because he wants the laws of the country to be re-written to satisfy his religious beliefs, ala Rick Santorum.

by JENKINS 2008-08-29 01:31AM | 0 recs

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