A Mormon as VP?

John McCain will announce his Vice-Presidential pick on or before August 29th. With all of the speculation that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is on the short-short list, I’m reposting the excerpts from the interview I did with Ravi Zacharias from July 2007 on the subject of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism:

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zacharias_ravi.jpg Internationally renowned Christian apologist and theologian Ravi Zacharias raised a bit of controversy in evangelical circles back in November of 2004 when he accepted an invitation to speak at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, UT.  He chose for his subject “The Exclusivity and Sufficiency of Jesus Christ.” I asked Dr. Zacharias recently if he were at all concerned about the potential for a Mormon becoming president in the person of Mitt Romney:

What we want is a politician who will understand the basic Judeo-Christian world view, and on the basis of that  the moral laws of this nation are framed, and then run this country with the excellence of that which is recognized in a pluralistic society: the freedom to believe or to disbelieve, and the moral framework with which this was conducted: the sanctity of every individual life.

If we are looking for a minister to run this country just look back and see what havoc sometimes has happened when the church got aligned totally with the state. That’s not what we want. We want political leadership that is wise, political leadership that frames itself on the moral framework of God and recognizing that you cannot dictate political ideaology to all of humanity. That’s why Jesus refused to run for office, that was not what his mission was about. His mission was to change hearts.

But as you look back at the book of Kings and Chronicles you see one difference between every king: either they followed the Lord with their whole heart and blessing came; or they turned their backs upon God and then the entailments were there. And that’s what will happen to this country.

Would we rather have someone who is a total secularist? Is that what people are asking for? Are we looking for someone who would run this the way he would run a bishoprick or something? I think we should ask the hard questions of everybody, be it Mitt Romney or anyone else and see if the framework of the value of human life and the moral framework of the Judeo-Christian world view, (which is the only moral framework under which this country could have been framed. It was not framed under a Hindu framework. It was not framed under a Muslim framework, not framed under a Buddhist or a naturalistic framework) that we are all created equal, that liberty and justice and all of those terms that I’ve given only make sense within the Judeo-Christian world view.

Created? Equal? Naturalism does not tell us we are equal. Naturalism does not tell us we are created. Liberty? Islam does not believe in the total liberty of the individual. Equal? Hinduism believes in the caste system. The Judeo-Christian world view is the only world view that could frame this country. And so I think as we elect, we go before God and see out of the candidates who will be the best one to represent the values and at the same time be a good leader for the country whose first responsibility should be to protect its citizens.

This is a great country and the challenges we face are immense to a point where this country could be totally mangled with the onslaught of a rabid atheism ala Christopher Hitchens, Samuel Harris, Richard Dawkins, those kinds of vociferous, acerbic writers in our time who would like to strip the notion of God completely from our culture. For Sam Harris to actually say if he had a magic wand to eradicate religion or eradicate rape, he would eradicate religion tells you the kind of mindset, and his book is in the top ten bestseller list of the New York Times. There’s a rabid atheism out there and there’s a rabid Islamic extremism out there and the secularism combined with that. I’ve responded to Sam Harris in a book which will be released in the early part of next year. I’ve said to him basically his choice is not going to be between religion and secularism. His choice is going to be between Islam and Christianity. Secularism has no staying power and has proven itself in Europe today. Europe is on the decline and on the demise and it’s only a matter of time before Islam would take a foothold there unless the Christian world view reemerges.

Ravi Zacharias responds to NDP criticism

In his first public statement on the controversy surrounding his prayer as Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer, Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias strongly responded to criticism that his prayer intentionally excluded the name of Jesus while a guest on The Paul Edwards Program in Detroit.

The transcript is below. The audio is here.

EDWARDS: You conclude your book, Dr. Zacharias, The End of Reason, by saying that “in the end the choice we face is really not between religion and secular atheism” but rather “between Islam and Jesus Christ,” a very bold statement for Jesus Christ. I know that you are a man committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and committed to the person of Jesus Christ, you have defended Jesus Christ ably as a Christian apologist around the world. I don’t know if you are even aware of the controversy that’s surrounding the National Day of Prayer and the way that prayer was concluded. Could you bring some clarity to us around that issue?

DR. ZACHARIAS: I don’t read and track all those things because…you know there’s a story, Paul, that when Christians are attacked, how they react. One of my friends years ago told me, he said, “Ravi, remember how donkeys fight and how horses fight.” He says, “When donkeys are attacked they turn their backs to each other and face the oncoming onslaught and end up actually kicking each other to death. When horses fight they form a circle, face each other and kick against the attacks.”

Whatever attacks have been coming, they’re fighting, really it’s a donkey-type battle; and it is so tendencious, so distorted, so false that it’s really not worthy of my response. I have not read them directly but people, my friends, have sent it quoting to me. Some of my Indian convert friends are horrified at this kind of behavior by so-called “Christians,” and they even wonder, you know, if some of them would have ever come to Christ if this is the version of Christianity they’d seen. This is the version of Christianity, by the way, Mahatma Gandhi saw, this kind of hostility even within the ranks. If they had an issue I think they could have dealt with it in a gracious way.

Here’s the story, Paul: When the National Day of Prayer was formed, Yvonette Bright struggled with bringing this in, and after President Reagan got it through – barely got it through in time, Evangelical leaders got together and realized that the ONE prayer that had limitations, just the one prayer of the Honorary Chairperson, would be limited because it goes into the Congressional Record; that no distinctive name could be used that would make it appear that Congress is supporting one religion over against the other, face a law suit and it would be finished.

My messages are not controlled. All of the venues that people pray, all of the other prayers there are not controlled. The Honorary Chairperson is restricted in this one protection, this distinctive, so that it doesn’t get banned. And people like this who cry out don’t realize the privilege we have of being there. And if they keep on crying out we’ll be evicted and ultimately it will be a hostile voice and a foreign voice of a different god that will take over in a totalitarian way.

I began my prayer with “Holy Father.” No other worldview will begin that way. And actually the way I prayed it at the White House itself (it was the only venue I prayed it at) was “In your precious and Holy Name.” And “God’s Holy Name” is revered. And “Holy Father” has only one Name. It is not the Islamic god. It is not the pantheistic god. It is no other reference. It is, I think, people who really want to argue on the minutia and forget the bigger picture. They want to win a battle and lose a war.

I risk my life every day, Paul. When I’m overseas (I could play some of my voicemails to you), threatened because of my defense of Christ all over the globe. To be hit by a group like this is so pathetic that I have received letters from friends all over the world, especially those from other faiths, who are shocked at what they hear. And the comments I will not even repeat sometimes on the air because of what it is they have been astounded it at.

I’m sorry that this has happened. They will not hear from me. You are the first one to ask me publicly on this and I appreciate it. But I don’t go to their blogs. I don’t go onto the Internet at all. If they want to make a living off something like this it’s their perogative. My staff is just shocked at it. We will march on. Christ is the only way to salvation and we only come to God through His Son, and that’s why we call Him, “Holy Father.”

EDWARDS: One blog actually reported, Dr. Zacharias, that you did not pray in the National Day of Prayer official event, but you’ve just said that you did.

DR. ZACHARIAS: I prayed at the White House. I prayed at the White House, which is the only place where it officially then actually goes into the record. I went from there over to the Pentagon, Paul, to be rushed through there. We got in late. It was raining. I literally had one minute to sit down.

When I finished at the Pentagon we were whisked back, Beth Moore, her husband, my wife and myself; got in to the Cannon House (Office Building). I was to come on in half an hour, so even the program was not given to me. And I just leaned over and noted quickly… said, “Will you be able to deliver your keynote right now?” So I quickly picked up my Bible and notes and delivered the keynote. I didn’t even know I was supposed to pray. Had I known I was suppose to pray I would have been happy to do that. No problem with it, because all of the other prayers were going to be given the liberty, mine was going to be “In God’s Holy Name” or “Your Holy Name” after I addressed Him as “Holy Father.”

It was thirty minutes later after I sat down when I was looking at the program and finally asked why and where all this was adjusted and found out Congress people could not show up, that I found that it said, “Message” or “Keynote and Prayer.” I had no idea. I was just given…my idea was to pray at the White House, to speak at the other two (the Pentagon and Congress). Had somebody even whispered and said, “Could you please close in prayer with your prayer?” I would have been happy to do it.

How these contingencies are taken and distorted into the image that is given, it just tells you what a deadly force the media can be when they take issues and distort them.

I’m not ashamed of that prayer. I hope and pray that they ask me again someday, and I will comply wih their strictures again, for the privilege of preaching the Gospel. Next Thursday Focus on the Family will be broadcasting that message. Anybody who has a problem with that message, and thinks the trade-off is not worth it, then I will just take issue with them and wish them well on a different path. It is not mine.

Ravi Zacharias Today

Christian apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharias will be my guest this afternoon (Thursday, May 9) at 4:00 pm on The Paul Edwards Program. We will be discussing The End of Reason, his response to the New Atheism, specifically Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation.

Dr. Zacharias has been the subject of some controversy over a prayer written for him to pray as the Honorary Chairman of The National Day of Prayer which some say intentionally excluded the name of Jesus. We’ll ask Dr. Zacharias for his response to that controversy.

Stream the program LIVE from 4p – 6p ET at AM 1500 WLQV.

More National Day of Prayer Controversy

Some conservative evangelicals are miffed with Dr. Ravi Zacharias, the honorary chair of this year’s National Day of Prayer. Dr. Zacharias will be present at an interdenominational prayer gathering in Washington, DC today where he will conclude his written prayer, not “In Jesus’ Name,” but rather “In God’s Holy Name.” At least one evangelical group suggests that by not mentioning the name of Jesus Dr. Zacharias is compromising the gospel and violating the explicitly Christian orientation of the National Day of Prayer intended by the Founders…

Zacharias’ prayer stands in stark contrast to the first prayer of the Continental Congress, which was delivered on September 7, 1774 by Reverend Jacob Duché. That distinctly Christian prayer ended with the words: “All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior. Amen.” It is the name of Jesus that separates the Christian faith from non-Christian faiths.