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Sen. John McCain: God measures a great man by his Faith

Written By | Aug 27, 2018
Sen . John McCain

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FLOWER MOUND, TX: With the passing of Sen. John McCain (1936-2018), America has lost a modern-day patriot. The Senator from Arizona ran for President, losing twice, but always gently speaking his message. Until he was pushed the wrong way, and then the fire would spark and tough talk would begin. He gained the mantle “Maverick” for his willingness to vote his convictions rather than go along for political expediency.  For his ability to stand up, when standing up to whoever was necessary

Tributes from around the world are pouring in with high praise for what the Maverick has done for America.
“He was a man of great courage and conviction.” Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia.
 “John McCain’s life is proof that some truths are timeless. Character. Courage. Integrity. Honor.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Each of us must strive for his [McCain’s] dignity, his service,
his commitment to [the] country.” Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“John McCain was a great statesman, who embodied the idea of service over self.”
Teresa May, Prime Minister, Great Britain
“John McCain was a man of honor, a true patriot in the best sense of the word,”
Jimmy Carter, former President

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“His support for Israel never wavered. It sprang from his belief in democracy and freedom.”
Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, Israel
“In a world searching for examples of political integrity, he was such an example and a supreme one at that.”
Tony Blair, former Prime Minister, Great Britain
“I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years.”
Cindy McCain, spouse of 38 years
“In the thirty-three years we shared together, he raised me, taught me, corrected me,
comforted me, encouraged me, and supported me in all things. He loved me, and I loved him.”
daughter, Meghan McCain

Nearly every tribute praises his notable actions.

The traits people admired in John McCain are often the same traits that the Scriptures laud.

His daughter, Meghan’s words elevate the Senator as an admirable father.

“The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!” (Proverbs 20:7 all scriptural quotes from NIV) “… bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” “Honor your mother and father.” (Ephesians 6:2, 4)

As fathers, we would do well to have our children say such things about us.

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The Senator’s wife testifies to his loving relationship with her. The Bible speaks often about this relationship between husband and wife.

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33) –another biblical injunction men should strive to emulate.

Other terms attributed to Sen. John McCain: honorable, self-sacrifice, integrity, respectable, and a truth teller. All are words that the Bible considers the characteristics of a “good man.”

By all appearances, John McCain was a “good man.”

But those characteristics alone do not make a “great man.” God measures a great man by his faith.

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalians 1:3)

McCain did not speak much about his faith, but over the years he has made declarations. In his own words he has reportedly said:

“I meant to say [when asked if he had said he was an Episcopalian], that I practice in a—I am a Christian and I attend a Baptist church.”
“I have attended the North Phoenix Baptist Church for many years and I am a Christian. In the meantime, I am a practicing Christian.”
“I came into that [North Phoenix Baptist Church] church, I sat down, I got the message of redemption and love and forgiveness, and it resonated with me.”

It is reported that he said he is “not born again” “just a Christian.” It is unclear what he meant. Was he denying the principle of “born again” (John 3:3) or did he not want to identify with a group who used the term to restrict Christianity to their narrow belief system?

As Pastor Noe Garcia reflected on Sen. John McCain’s life:

“Senator McCain was a man of courage and faith and he loved his family. He and his wife Cindy have been part of the North Phoenix community for many years and we are committed to ministering and praying for them during this difficult time.”

When Rick Warren asked what being a Christian meant to Senator McCain, he replied,

“It means I’m saved and forgiven.”

Quoted in Three Lessons We Can Learn from the Brave Life (and Quiet Faith) of Sen. John McCain by Ed Stetzer and Laurie Nichols.

No one knows the heart of another but by all indications, John McCain will face God with a resume of Christian characteristics and the faith that he practiced. Being acceptable to God is not based on what one has done, no matter his distinctions, but that he believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Bible says,

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

May John McCain rest in peace and his family be comforted by memories of his life, faith, and love.

Lead Image: "Photo by: River Bissonnette".  Attribution,



Donald Brake

Donald L Brake, PhD is Dean Emeritus of Multnomah Biblical Seminary, past president of Jerusalem University College; and is author of: They Called Him Yeshua, How 30 Missing Years Changed Human History, a novel coming in 2018 (with Shelly Beach) Jesus, A Visual History, Zondervan 2014 (with Todd Bolen) A Monarch’s Majestic Translation: The King James Bible, Christian Faith Pub, 2017 A Visual History of the English Bible, Baker Books 2008 A Visual History of the King James Bible, Baker Books 2011 (with Shelly Beach) A Royal Monument of English Literature 2011 (Leaf 1611 KJV) Wycliffe New Testament (facsimile) 1986, IBP