Denying Christ

  "I've made my choice," wrote the young basketball star. "I love Jesus Christ and I try to serve Him to the best of my ability. How about you?" Who is this—David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs? It may surprise you to learn the tract was written 30 years ago by former Senator Bill Bradley. Bradley has since renounced his Christian beliefs, and his actions are a warning of the perils of political expediency—and of not holding our fellow believers accountable. The pamphlet, titled "I've Made My Choice," was published in the 1960s by the American Tract Society when Bradley was a rookie with the New York Knicks. In it, Bradley recounts how he accepted Christ while a student at Princeton. "I knew I had been giving my life to the wrong goals," he wrote. "I knew then that I wanted to give my life to Jesus Christ and His service." Not anymore, it appears. In his 1996 memoirs, Bradley says he was put off by the exclusive truth claims of fundamentalist Christianity. He was also bothered by the uncharitable attitudes and racism displayed by some Christians. Bradley now disavows his Christian beliefs and, according to "Investor's Business Daily," says he "now embraces all religions" from Buddhism to Islam, so long as they seek "inner peace." These are chilling words from a man who was once very active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It appears that he has either renounced his faith entirely—or he has decided, for political reasons, to renounce it publicly. After all, the Democratic Party has never really warmed up to evangelical Christians. And politicians in general are afraid to talk about tough moral issues. Now, since I believe that a person once saved is always saved, I have to conclude that either Bradley was not truthful in his earlier testimony, or that this is purely a political move—that deep down, Bill Bradley does know the truth. But is there anything scarier than someone who knows the truth and yet publicly denies it? One trembles for the state of his soul. Bradley's story is a cautionary tale, not just for Christians who go into politics, but for all of us. Here was a man who was converting others to Christ, and somewhere along the line, he got off the rails. It's a warning that we need to constantly keep ourselves fresh in the faith, to attend discipleship classes, and to hold one another accountable. It's a cautionary tale, as well, as to what the political system does to candidates. It does seem to reward politicians for turning their backs on unfashionable commitments, like Christian faith or pro-life positions. But what kind of "leader" does that produce? Can such a leader ever be trusted? As Bradley rises in the polls, Christians ought to pray that he will come to his senses. I can't think of anything more frightening than knowing the truth, but denying it. As for Bradley, I hope and pray he will to reconsider the words that he himself wrote in that long-ago tract: "The choice is simple. It is between the eternal and the passing, between the strong and the weak... between Jesus Christ and the world."


Chuck Colson


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