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ELECTION 08: Huckabee says faith in Christ is what matters

PLANO, Texas (BP)–Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told a large audience at Prestonwood Baptist Church Nov. 4 he wasn’t there to deliver a political speech, but the congregation nevertheless responded with a reception that would make any politician envious.

Receiving two standing ovations, Huckabee avoided political issues and instead spoke about the promises of God found in the famous verse, Jeremiah 29:11. The Plano, Texas, church has approximately 25,000 members.

“There’s no guarantee that following Jesus means that we’re going to be wealthy,” Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist pastor, told the congregation. “Neither is it His goal to make us poor. His goal is to make us like Jesus, and that is prosperity — to put in us the character of Christ so that whatever happens in our lives, we’re able to reflect the personhood and the very life of the Savior who is in us.”

An alumnus of nearby Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Huckabee added, to applause, “The only thing in this world that really makes sense is to follow Him. If you lose everything but you still have Jesus, you have what you need to finish at the finish line with success.”

In introducing Huckabee, Prestonwood pastor Jack Graham said the church doesn’t endorse candidates, although Graham made it clear he admires Huckabee’s beliefs.

“It’s very important that we vote our values, that we select folks and nominate folks who stand by principle and who live and proclaim and legislate according to the values we cherish,” he said to applause, according to The Dallas Morning-News.

Graham added, “Here’s a man who comes and says: ‘I’m not looking for your endorsement. I endorse what you believe. I endorse your values.'”

A former Arkansas governor, Huckabee drew a spiritual parallel to a time in the 1980s and 1990s, when his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks’ basketball team was a national powerhouse but wasn’t always televised live within the state. If he knew they had won, Huckabee would watch the replay of the game beginning at 10:30 that night. He said he never became nervous during the game, since he already knew the outcome.

“There are a lot of uncertainties in my life. There are a lot of uncertainties in your life…. But here’s one thing — if you’re in Jesus Christ, we know how it turns out at the final buzzer,” he said. “I’ve read the final chapter in the Book, and we do end up winning at the end…. [T]he game’s already been played at the cross. Jesus paid the price that has to be paid for us to have eternal life and for us to have victory.”

Huckabee urged the church to pray for America, which he said he believes was not the result of “human wisdom” but instead “the result of divine intervention.”

“[I]f His people will pray, will turn from their sins, will seek His face, [then] He will answer our prayers,” he said.

Huckabee seems to be gaining some momentum nationwide. On Nov. 1, Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America and himself a former Southern Baptist pastor, used a WorldNetDily.com column to endorse Huckabee.

“If he fails to secure the nomination, then we can regroup and do something else, but right now we have a great chance to give him what millions of dollars cannot assure … tens of millions of faithful and God-fearing Americans who want a godly leader,” Scarborough wrote. “I hear from many of them daily, and they are looking to us for affirmation and leadership. I acknowledge that Huckabee is not the perfect candidate, but I believe that in him we have a legitimate candidate who will listen to wise counsel and who shares our core values. This is the primary season where little is much in terms of turnout, and now is the time for us to rally our people.”

PRO-LIFE GROUP DEFENDS BROWNBACK — The National Right to Life Committee has come to the defense of U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback after he was criticized by some for meeting privately with presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, who is pro-choice. A staunch pro-lifer, Brownback said after the Oct. 25 meeting he was “much more comfortable” with Giuliani’s position on abortion.

“All of us who know you personally recognize that your commitment to the pro-life cause is deep and heartfelt,” the committee wrote in a letter to Brownback, as reported Oct. 30 by The Hill newspaper. “We know this because we have worked shoulder to shoulder with you on such important pro-life issues as partial-birth abortion, fetal pain, ultrasound and human cloning. We reject emphatically anyone’s suggestion that you have sacrificed or would sacrifice the interests of the unborn in order to garner some ‘personal political benefit.'”

The letter was sent to Brownback after Jim Bopp Jr., an attorney who represents National Right to Life, was quoted as saying, “Brownback is angling for some personal political benefit by cozying up to Giuliani.” Bopp supports presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The National Right to Life letter said if Bopp’s quotes were correct, “we disagree with them.”

IOWA POLLS SHOW DIFFERENT RACE — Republican Rudy Giuliani and Democrat Hillary Clinton are leading their respective parties in national polls, although polls in Iowa — site of the first presidential test, the caucuses in early January — show a different race.

In fact, Giuliani trails in every Iowa poll. A RealClearPolitics.com average of the six most recent polls there has Mitt Romney leading at 28.0 percent, Mike Huckabee second (14.5 percent), Giuliani third (13.7), Fred Thompson fourth (13.2) and John McCain fifth (8.0).

Clinton leads in Iowa, but not by the margins she does nationally. The same website’s average of the five most recent polls has Clinton first at 30.2 percent, Barack Obama second at 23 percent and John Edwards third at 20.0 percent.
Michael Foust is assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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