Well doesn't this all reveal the jumbled state Christians are in concerning how they view our current president. While President Trump claims to be a Christian and has done numerous things to defend Christian rights and values (upholding religious freedom, standing against abortion, pushing back against the transgender agenda), still many Christians and conservatives aren't sold.
And it's to the point where they are forgetting (or ignoring) their biblical call to pray for the president, no matter who it is. This was vividly depicted by the reaction to Pastor David Platt's prayer for Trump last Sunday.
Earlier in the week, Franklin Graham had invited Christians and pastors all over the nation to pray for the president on Sunday, citing the many "enemies" out to get Trump. "We need to pray for President Trump as he carries out his duties leading this nation, that God will give him wisdom in every decision he makes and protect him from his enemies who would like to see him fall. I have reminded many that if the President succeeds, we all succeed—not just Americans, but freedom-loving people around the world," said Graham on Facebook.
Hundreds of thousands of Christians stood in agreement with Graham, but many others said he was pandering to Trump and abusing his platform. But Graham defended his call to prayer, citing the verse in the Bible mandating prayer for leaders. "1 Timothy 2:1-3 instructs us that, 'supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,'" reminded Graham on Facebook.
A number of prominent Christian leaders signed the petition to pray for Trump on Sunday, but it is very interesting that President Trump chose to visit (unannounced) a church in Virginia led by a pastor who did not publicly pledge to pray for him that Sunday.
Pastor David Platt of McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Va, shared (https://www.mcleanbible.org/prayer-president), after the fact, that he was told during the service that Trump would be soon be arriving at the church. "At the end of my sermon at the 1:00 worship gathering, I stepped to the side for what I thought would be a couple of moments in quiet reflection as we prepared to take the Lord’s Supper. But I was immediately called backstage and told that the President of the United States was on his way to the church, would be there in a matter of minutes, and would like for us to pray for him," wrote Platt in his blog post.
"That’s why, as soon as I heard this request backstage, the passage from God’s Word that came to my mind was 1 Timothy 2:1-6:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
"Based on this text, I know that it is good, and pleasing in the sight of God, to pray for the president. So in that moment, I decided to take this unique opportunity for us as a church to pray over him together. My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies, or his party, but to obey God’s command to pray for our president and other leaders to govern in the way this passage portrays," explained the pastor.
Platt prayed a very nonpartisan prayer for President Trump, one that was undeniably biblical and sound: "O God, we praise you as the one universal king over all. You are our leader and our Lord and we worship you. There is one God and one Savior—and it’s you, and your name is Jesus. And we exalt you, Jesus. We know we need your mercy. We need your grace. We need your help. We need your wisdom in our country. And so we stand right now on behalf of our president, and we pray for your grace and your mercy and your wisdom upon him."
Platt went on to pray that President Trump would know God's love for him and also prayed for all leaders of congress. One might think Platt would be commended, especially for being put on the spot. But no. Not in America.
Platt was confronted by members of his own congregation, saying they were "hurt" by his prayer; in addition, Platt was of course criticized in the media. So Platt wrote an open letter to his congregation, explaining his heart.
"I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision," he wrote. "This weighs heavy on my heart. I love every member of this church, and I only want to lead us with God’s Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God."
While thankful for the opportunity to pray for the president, Platt said, "I don’t want to purposely ever do anything that undermines the unity we have in Christ." He asked his church to pray with him for the "gospel seed that was sown today to bear fruit in the president’s heart."
That's where Jerry Falwell Jr., head of Liberty University, came in. Falwell, a very public Trump supporter, tweeted, "Sorry to be crude but pastors like @plattdavid need to grow a pair. Just saying." After people criticized his crude language, Falwell deleted the tweet but then went on to defend why he can speak that way, since he is not a formal minister.
"You’re putting your ignorance on display. I have never been a minister. UVA-trained lawyer and commercial real estate developer for 20 yrs. Univ president for last 12 years-student body tripled to 100000+/endowment from 0 to $2 billion and $1.6B new construction in those 12 years," Falwell wrote in response to criticism.
You can just imagine some of the responses to that.
In any event, the main point is the controversy surrounding Platt's prayer for Trump and his defense of it. Do you think he should have defended his prayer to his congregation? Share your thoughts in the comments! We want to know what you think Thank you!