Monday, September 24, 2018

Lunatic, liar, or Lord?

Paul Kengor, author of God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life, writes here about a recently discovered letter from Reagan to his father-in-law who was nearing death. It was hand-written on White House stationary. Kengor writes that "Reagan scholars estimate that our nation’s 40th president may have written more letters than any president since Thomas Jefferson." Reagan was concerned about his father-in-law's atheism. Kengor also quotes from another of Reagan's personal letters:
.... On March 1, 1978, Reagan sent a similar epistle to a Methodist minister from Shell Beach, California who was having doubts about the divinity of Christ (a rather odd predicament for a pastor). This liberal minister accused Reagan of a “limited Sunday school level theology,” and Reagan responded — characteristically — not with vitriol but grace:
Perhaps it is true that Jesus never used the word “Messiah” with regard to himself (although I’m not sure that he didn’t) but in John 1, 10 and 14 he identifies himself pretty definitely and more than once.

Is there really any ambiguity in his words: “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me?”… In John 10 he says, “I am in the Father and the Father in me.” And he makes reference to being with God, “before the world was,” and sitting on the “right hand of God.”…

These and other statements he made about himself, foreclose in my opinion, any question as to his divinity. It doesn’t seem to me that he gave us any choice; either he was what he said he was or he was the world’s greatest liar. It is impossible for me to believe a liar or charlatan could have had the effect on mankind that he has had for 2000 years. We could ask, would even the greatest of liars carry his lie through the crucifixion, when a simple confession would have saved him?… Did he allow us the choice you say that you and others have made, to believe in his teachings but reject his statements about his own identity?
It seems obvious that the President had read C.S. Lewis.