William said this in a comment
Obama is… a kind of secular god-as-government messiah.
I was listening to James MacDonald’s Walk in the Word from a day or two ago. He was talking about an exchange he had with John Piper at a conference. Piper talked about being a Calvinist. MacDonald took issue with that word. In an exchange of letters after the event, MacDonald explained that he believed John Calvin, John Wesley, Augustine, Apostle Paul, etc… were brilliant men who helped to enrich our faith, but to refer to ourselves as anything other than a Christian was wrong. It was elevating a human to a place reserved for Christ alone.
He also warned of placing our hope IN people for provision, salvation, etc…
I had to pause the audio, sit there, and think. I never liked the term “Obamessiah” because I thought it was way too over the top and divisive. His campaign slogan is “change we can believe in.” This implies that he is the agent of that change. Believe in him and off we go to a glorious new future.
However, given the reaction by ardent supporters and the every day people I ride the bus with… it isn’t too far off from the expections people have of him. This has caused a change of rhetoric from him – being very cautious with his words about how fact the economy will recover (for example).
Their hope is IN him – to fix, to provide, to save them and the US from complete and total destruction. I would hazard a guess that their faith in Obama is equal or greater than their faith (speaking of those that are Christian) in Jesus Christ.
Where is the line between supporting someone (a candidate or past0r) and putting your faith, hope and trust in a created being rather than God? I am not sure. It did cause me to reflect on how I view certain pastors – that maybe I was a bit starry eyed and let myself get swept away with their words rather than those of the Bible.
Back to what MacDonald said, I don’t think it is wrong or bad to use terms like Pauline (to refer to the Apostle Paul and his teachings) or Calvinist (those of John Calvin) and so on. If you are using them as a descriptor of their teaching and position, ok. When you start to go into “If you aren’t a Calvinist, you are going to hell” then…. we may have some problems.