Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Friday, May 18, 2007

    Will Faith or Politics Win the Day with Sharpton?

    Why don't I have a good feeling about this one?

    It is reported that Rev. Al Sharpton asks to meet Mormon church leaders after his controversial comment about Mitt Romney.

    The question concerning the outcome is this: Will Sharpton cave in and come away professing Mormons to be true believers (though they are not) in order to maintain his political clout, or will he stand upon the truth even if it causes him to lose credibility and popularity in the eyes of the populace?

    Sharpton's handling of his response to the issue (that he "wasn't saying that Mormons didn't believe in God" but that "we weren't going to have to rely on atheists to defeat Romney")is going to be both the battleground and the proof of the pudding.

    .....Will he sidestep the issue of the Mormon beliefs (and will the Romney campaign, the Mormon Church, and the press allow him to do this) by continuing to cast his remarks in the sense that Mormons were not under consideration but only atheists (which is questionable since Mormonism rather than atheism was being discussed), or
    .....will Sharpton state that his belief is that Mormons are not true believers (having to say this is either an additional declaration or detract his original statement of response), or
    .....will Sharpton cut a deal with the Romney and Mormon camp so as to soften or backpeddle concerning the Mormon faith so as to help both the Romney campaign and Mormon religion as well as his political standing, or
    .....will Sharpton completely cave and proclaim Mormons to be true believers?

    Why does "Islam is a religion of peace" come to mind?

    This much is true: If Sharpton, who is not new to politics, is not able to use his political maneuvering to avoid addressing issues of the Mormon faith, we'll see not only where his priorities lie, but what kind of a "Rev." he really is.

    My concern in all this has nothing to do with the politics, but whether politics or the truth will win the day. Praise God that his truth and kingdom depends not on the outcome of this controversy or meeting, but on the surety of what he has done in providing for his people based fully on mercy and grace (and not at all upon our own merit or works) and in establishing his king on Zion.

    I bet Sharpton now wishes he had listened to the words of Galatians 6:1 (Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.) Had he heeded this, he would not be in the situation he now faces.

    As with others, Sharpton now needs the gospel and grace himself in order not to deny the truth, but to stand in the face of testing. His politics aside, both for his sake and the sake of the kingdom (including those who now belong to Mormonism but through all this may come to examine the issues and embrace Christ through the true gospel), I pray the Lord gives it to him. The last thing we need is another situation where a false religion is given national/international press and promotion because of pressure, the promotion of ideas which could be interpreted various ways (such as "Islam is a religion of peace") or the caving in of an individual during political standoff.

    Not only I, but the nation will be watching to see how this story unfolds.

    With Sharpton requesting the meeting, I just don't have a good feeling about this one. Perhaps, not only I, but we all will be pleasantly surprised!

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