“Yes, I do!”
That is what Russell Vought should have answered. But, he can be excused for trying to deflect the question, because it was outrageous and unconstitutional. Bernie Sanders, asked the nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget if he believed non-Christians are condemned to Hell. When Vought replied that, as a Christian, he believed Jesus was central to salvation, Bernie said he therefore was unfit for the office, that he was “not someone this country was supposed to be about.”
Leaving aside the issue that the Constitution forbids such a religious test as a qualification for office, and the question of whether he would have asked a similar question of a Muslim, it is troubling that Sanders implied Christians would discriminate against those who are so condemned. We are called, instead, to love, serve, sacrifice and possibly die for them. Perhaps Bernie has seen the John 3:16 signs behind the goal posts, but he obviously has no understanding of the heart of Jesus, revealed in what He said.
Here are Jesus’ own words:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
Jesus stood before a government official who grilled Him about His fitness – not to serve in government but to live. In that setting, Jesus said this:
For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)
Do you believe Jesus spoke the truth? Bernie won’t be the last person to misunderstand or accuse. How would you answer?