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http://www.christianchronicle.org/modul ... le&sid=662

News - Future president? Fred Thompson's church roots draw interest

By Tamie Ross
and Bobby Ross Jr.
The Christian Chronicle

Is Fred Thompson a member of the Church of Christ?

As the 64-year-old former Tennessee senator reportedly mulls a bid for president, a number of readers have e-mailed The Christian Chronicle with that question.

The 106th Congressional Record listed Thompson’s religious affiliation as “Church of Christ (Stone Campbell).†In an interview with the U.S. News and World Report this week, Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo said: “Thompson is indeed a Christian. He was baptized into the Church of Christ.â€

Corallo did not immediately return calls from the Chronicle seeking additional information about the politician and Law and Order actor’s religious background.

David Pinckley, treasurer of the Pulaski Street Church of Christ in Thompson’s hometown of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., said the two grew up together.

“We went to school together, played football, went to church for many years here in Lawrenceburg,†Pinckley told the Chronicle on Friday.

“I don’t know his religious status right now, but we were both baptized around 1951-1952 maybe,†Pinckley added. “We were either 10 or 11 years old. He was baptized at the First Street church in Lawrenceburg. It’s a non-institutional church now, but it wasn’t then.â€

Thompson spoke in 1997 at a fund-raising event at Freed-Hardeman University, a Henderson, Tenn., college associated with Churches of Christ. Thompson used his speaking fee to create an endowed scholarship at Freed-Hardeman for history and political science students, said Stephen Morris, assistant professor of political science and university counsel.

The Robert and Ruth Thompson academic scholarship â€" named after Thompson’s parents â€" offers freshman scholarships worth between $2,500 and $5,000. His father died, but Ruth Thompson lives in Franklin, Tenn., and is a member of the Brentwood Church of Christ, Pinckley said. The Chronicle has received several e-mails from those who attend or have visited the Brentwood church saying Thompson has worshipped there on occasion with his mother.

Thompson’s faith became an issue in the national media when Focus on the Family founder James Dobson appeared to throw cold water on a Thompson candidacy in an interview with U.S. News.

“Everyone knows he’s conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for,†Dobson said of Thompson. “(But) I don’t think he’s a Christian; at least that’s my impression,†Dobson added, telling U.S. News that such an impression would make it difficult for Thompson to connect with the Republican Party’s conservative Christian base and win the GOP nomination.

Focus on the Family later issued a clarifying statement, saying that in the U.S. News interview, “Dr. Dobson was attempting to highlight that to the best of his knowledge, Senator Thompson hadn’t clearly communicated his religious faith, and many evangelical Christians might find this a barrier to supporting him. Dr. Dobson told (the reporter) he had never met Senator Thompson and wasn’t certain that his understanding of the former senator’s religious convictions was accurate. Unfortunately, these qualifiers weren’t reported. … We were, however, pleased to learn from his spokesperson that Senator Thompson professes to be a believer.â€

According to U.S. News, Thompson has said he is leaving the door open for a presidential run and has won plaudits from conservatives who are unenthusiastic about the Republican front-runners. A Gallup-USA Today poll, released Tuesday, showed Thompson in third place among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, behind New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Divorced since the mid-1980s, Thompson married Jeri Kehn, a political and media consultant 24 years his junior, at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Naperville, Ill., in 2002. They have two young children. Thompson also has two grown sons and five grandchildren.

All the discussion about Thompson’s possible Church of Christ ties prompted a humorous challenge on the blog of Mark Elrod, a Harding University political scientist, at www.markaelrod.net.

In a post titled “The ‘I Saw Fed Thompson at a Church of Christ’ Challenge,†Elrod offered Web immortality to the first person to provide him “with a somewhat believable Fred Thompson sighting at an assembly of the Church of Christ (Stone-Campbell) in the last 20 years.â€

Elrod asked specifically for any information on Thompson teaching a Bible class, presiding at the Lord’s table or leading singing.

“If it was 728b and you can prove it,†Elrod said of Thompson leading singing, “I’ll give you $100.â€

Meanwhile, a few readers have contacted the Chronicle asking if Democratic president candidate Barack Obama, an Illinois senator, is a Church of Christ member.

The answer on that question is a bit clearer: Obama belongs to the United Church of Christ, a liberal denomination that ordains women and gays and supports same-gender marriage equality. The mainline Protestant demonination was formed in 1957 when the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reform Church merged.

March 30, 2007
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, I did not post it for that reason, but to fill in information from what I posted last time.

Some people DO care, of course, but I was more interested in setting the record straight. He does not appear to have remained steadfast in his faith (divorced, remarried in a "United Church of Christ"- if you pplug that and child molester into the search engine . . . , and nobody has seen him in a congregation in 20 years, it looks like).

I stated that Dobson may have been influenced by the fact that Thompson was a member of the church of Christ when Dobson made his statement, but it appears that Dobson may have hit the nail on the head, as it appears that Thompson has failed to remain faithful - I say "appears" because I am just reading stuff off the internet.
 

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glockgirl said:
I don't hold a divorce against anyone... sometimes life's events make you do things you wish you didn't have to.
life forces people to get married?
 

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what is church of christ? are they even more crazy or something?
 

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Rammstein said:
what is church of christ? are they even more crazy or something?
I have a couple of friends who go to a church of Christ. Don't confuse this with the United Church of Christ.

church of Christ people usually don't hold to a specific doctrine other than the Bible. They typically don't have creeds and statements of faith other than the Scriptures. They also don't have a central headquarters like most denominations do, like Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, etc... They are usually locally run and independent of one another, yet connected because of the Bible. Usually more conservative people.

The United Church of Christ is more of a progressive/liberal organization. They "embrace" all people regardless of their beliefs. A very inclusive group.

I believe Fred Thompson goes to a church of Christ (conservative)
I believe Barack Obama goes to a United Church of Christ (progressive/liberal)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Rammstein said:
what is church of christ? are they even more crazy or something?
Crazy, crazy! :screwy: You may examine their crazy views here.

(I am kidding, of course).

In fairness, though, it does not look like he is currently a member. I do not know for sure.
 

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glockgirl said:
Rammstein said:
glockgirl said:
I don't hold a divorce against anyone... sometimes life's events make you do things you wish you didn't have to.
life forces people to get married?
no butthead you know what I mean!
:rotfl:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
glockgirl said:
I don't hold a divorce against anyone... sometimes life's events make you do things you wish you didn't have to.
I do not kow whether it will matter in terms of running for President (I think we had one divorced President before - Reagan). But divorce is extremely uncommon within churches of Christ (which is unusual compared to denominational churches, in my experience). I pointed to his divorce as only one indicator of whether he is still a member (the others being his marriage in a United Church of Christ building, of all places, and the fact that people do not report him attending local congregations of the church of Christ in the areas where he is living). These all tend to indicate negatively.

As to the actual divorce issue, I have no idea whether his divorce was sriptural:
Matt. 19:3-9 (ESV)

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."
The force of the original verb, "commits," in the original language connotes a continuing action.

I repeat this here only because so few people with a religious affiliation understand what Jesus taught on divorce and remarriage, in spite of the fact that there are only a few simple verses addressing the subject, and, as iwb32 pointed out, members of the church of Christ "don't hold to a specific doctrine other than the Bible."

Again, I have no idea if his divorce was motivated by his wife's adultery.

I was only pointing these things out as evidence tending to show, one way or the other, whether he is indeed, currently a faithful member of the church.

And the only reason for pointing this out at all, i.e., whether he is currently a member, is that I had earlier accused Dobson of simply having a bone to pick with Thompson for being a member of the church of Christ. Now I am not even sure that he is . . . I reacted only to Thompson's staff person's answer to the press . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Rammstein said:
glockgirl said:
I don't hold a divorce against anyone... sometimes life's events make you do things you wish you didn't have to.
life forces people to get married?
:lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
He was a cosponsor of McCain-Feingold. :shock:

That is a deal buster for me.

I am leaning toward Duncan Hunter.
 

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Why?
I will admit that I don't really know much about that Bill other than it was for campaign refinance (and Wiki isn't helpful at all).

I'm seriously leaning towards Thompson at this point.
Heard on Rush today that in the latest pole he is pulling 14% & he has not even officially announced yet.
 
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