Dobson questions Thompson’s Christianity

Dobson questions Thompson’s Christianity

Momentum is gathering in an effort to draft actor and former Senator Fred Thompson to run for the Republican nomination for president, but not everyone is a fan. Including some who you’d expect to be his biggest fans: evangelical Christians.

Unfortunately, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family questions whether Thompson is a Christian. He is quoted in a US News and World Report article as saying:

“Everyone knows he’s conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for. … [But] I don’t think he’s a Christian — at least that’s my impression.”

Keep in mind that when Evangelicals talk about “he’s a Christian,” they have a very specific act in mind: Someone publicly and specifically claiming Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. Thompson is a member of the Church of Christ.

So who does Dobson prefer over Thompson and his questionable Christianity? Would you believe Newt Gingrich?

What’s good for the goose is good for the Gingrich

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  • Typical “salvation is assured because I claim Jesus as my Lord and Savior” heresy from Dr Dobson.  Why can’t all of us Christians (Catholics, Evangelicals, fundamentalists, etc) who share most if not all of the same values in the culture war just put aside the petty “are you saved or not” hogwash and fight this war to win!  The stakes are too high for this.

  • Sorry for the double post, but I bet Dobson would have less problems with Thompson if he were a pro-marriage, pro-life conservative Jew, than a pro-marriage, pro-life Not Christian enough Christian.

  • Thanks for bringing this to light Dom.  I wondered first at questioning his Christianity, but the support for Gingrich really threw me. 

    Maybe I am holding a grudge, but I see gingrich as the essential wrench in the cogs that sidetracked the 1994 conservative revival.  His contract with America was more politics as usual and sidetracked many a good fresh conservative.

  • Dig around the links above a little, and you see the comment by his spokesman that Dobson confines the definition of Christian to “Evangelical Christian.” I thought he was above all that, but I guess I was wrong. I wonder whether he considers Catholics to be Christian.

  • The link to the blogpost at the Loft reveals a set of quotes that show pretty clearly that Dobson’s comments were pretty mild, and pretty unexceptional.

    His comment on Thompson’s faith bviously is in the context of evangelical Protestantism, as several have noted and hardly constitutes an attack. You have to stretch the meaning of “at least that’s my impression” even to say to say Dobson is “questioning” Thompson’s Christianity, in my opinion.

    It seems fair to observe that Thompson apparently has not publicly articulated an understanding of faith that guides his political and public thinking and actions. In other words, he’s not given much evidence that he “thinks Christianly” about such matters. (Yes, I know: the fact that he hasn’t does NOT make him infidel.)

    Nor do Dobson’s mild comments that Gingrich is one of the smartest guys on the stump, and really articulare, constitute an endorsement of or even enthusiasm for Gingrich.

    The casual dismissal of the Protestant understanding of salvation is a mistake, I think, in so far as that understanding does emphasize the importance and the call to 1) a thoroughgoing and ongoing renewal and reformation of one’s life in keeping with the Faith; and 2) a zeal for those who are, in fact, unsaved, for whom we are to have a sacraficial compassion.

  • Evangelical leader warms to a run by Thompson in ’08

    It looks like the Baptists don’t have any problem with Ole’ Fred:

    The president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Religious and Ethics Liberty Commission, Land said Thompson would be a formidable candidate and more likely to shake up the top tier than an entry by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.)… 

    “Fred Thompson reminds me of a Southern-fried Reagan,” Land said. “To see Fred work a crowd must be what it was like to watch Rembrandt paint.”


  • According to Wikipedia (always the reliable source, right?), Thompson was married a second time at a United Church of Christ, which leads me to believe that is what he is. They’re not as conservative or fundamentalist as the “Church of Christ,” for what it’s worth. In any case, I don’t doubt Thompson’s Christian commitment, even though he’s not Catholic (all in good time…). He’d make a better one than that pro-abortion, pro-gay Guiliani, wouldn’t he?

  • All of you have posted some very interesting and informative comments to Dom’s blog on Dr. Dobson, and Mssrs. Gingrich and Thompson.

    I have never been a big fan of Mr. Gingrich as there a certain slickness about him that I just don’t trust—rather like a certain former Democratic co-President(the male from Ark) but with much stronger morals and values.

  • Just a brief word here from Tennessee. I was an Alternate Delegate for Ronald Reagan in 1980, and a Presidential Elector for him in 1984. I have not felt like I have had a president since he left office. Fred is the only potential candidate being mentioned this year for whom I could vote with a smile on my lips.

  • The United Church of Christ was formed by the merger of the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches (the descendants of the old New England Puritans—those of them that didn’t go Unitarian in the early 19th century) and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.

    My impression of the UCC today is that they are the Democratic party at prayer.  Thompson may be an exception.

  • Two things:

    1. I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in whoever wrote Thompson’s Wikipedia bio getting the distinction between Church of Christ and United Christ.

    2. Who’s to say that Thompson didn’t get married in his wife’s church?

    There’s not enough fact to make a conclusion.

  • I don’t know much about Thompson, but if his Law & Order character is any indication fo his real politics, I think he’d be great. 
    (Also a slap in the face to another would-be president on an NBC Wednesday night drama).

    We’d be well served by a conservative president who talked constitutionalism rather than Christianity.  Kind of like Abraham Lincoln.

    As for Dobson, I find it ironic that the very religions which condemn Catholicism for having a Pope (whose authority in our lives is really quite limited) will ordain their own self-appointed “Popes” through the court of charisma and popularity.  And then they give men like Dobson the power and authority to rule their lives with declarations on any subject from theology to politics to parenting to what soap to buy, and any personal opinion of Dobson’s is taken as the Gospel itself.

  • I really don’t think that’s an unusual or particularly noteworthy thing for a protestant to say, Domenico.  And I come from a big family of protestant preachers.  I mean, it just sounds like a simple observation from the point of view you’re describing.

    Perhaps the instinctual take on it from a Catholic point of view is different.  I suspect it is, particularly maybe from a cradle catholic’s point of view.