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Book Review: The Faith of Barack Obama

Faith_of_Barack_ObamaA few weeks ago, Michael Hyatt, the President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, offered a free copy of the new book, The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield, (released August 7, 2008 ) to the first 100 (later extended to 200) bloggers who promised to read it and post a review of it on their blogs.

Of course, I jumped at the chance. (Note: This is my review of the book, not my opinion about Obama’s faith.)

It seems to me that Senator Obama is one of those people that you either love or hate. I find very few people (who actually know enough about him to hold an intelligent conversation) who are straddling the fence.

To some he is the face of the new America – the voice of reason, hope, and change that we have all been waiting for. To others, he is just another politician selling a cure-all tonic to whoever will show up at his traveling sales stand.

I know what I think about him, so I wasn’t sure what I expected to find in Mansfield’s book. But whatever it was that I expected, that’s sure not what I found.

Review

In six short chapters (the book is only about 150 pages, including the introduction) I was shown a side of the Senator that has not yet been seen by the public – not through his voting record, not through the primaries, and not yet in the 2008 presidential campaign. What I discovered was a man with a long, lonely journey in his past, who found a faith that today shapes everything he does – including his politics.

When Obama’s faith is mentioned, most “informed” Americans will immediately think of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, whose incendiary messages, statements, and actions have haunted Obama through his race to become America’s first black president. Little do they (or did I) know just how much Rev. Wright helped make Senator Obama into the man that he is – both the good and the bad.

I particularly enjoyed chapter five, “Four Faces of Faith,” where Mansfield compares and contrasts the four very different faiths (and their ramifications) represented by this year’s political heavyweights – Senators Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain, and President George W. Bush.

I wish I could quote all of the sections of this book that I found significant, but there are far too many. I learned a great deal in this short book.

Conclusion

This is a book, not so much about Senator Obama’s politics, but about his heart. And as Solomon reminds us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23, New Living Translation)

The Faith of Barack Obama is an excellent exposé of who Senator Obama is and how he would govern if elected president, unless he is changed deep within his heart.

I believe this book is a must-read for anyone who has not yet decided who will win their vote this November 4th. And it is a must-read for anyone who claims to follow Christ in this age of American history.

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