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Mark Driscoll’s “Obama Tweet”: How Should We Pray For Our Leaders?

Mark Driscoll’s “Obama Tweet”: How Should We Pray For Our Leaders?

Blessed are the peacemakers,markdriscoll
    for they will be called children of God.

I was disturbed this week to see a tweet which has gone viral by Pastor Mark Driscoll in which he calls into question the Christian faith of President Obama on his inauguration.

Says Driscoll, “Praying for our president, who today will place his hands on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know.”

There are so many things wrong with this tweet I’ve stared at the screen for five minutes just wondering where to begin.

First: Driscoll is not “praying for” the president.  His tweet is nothing more than an attempt to be witty at the expense of the president. (I’m not laughing with you, I’m laughing at you) True prayer by a minister of Jesus Christ would be honoring and any declaration of intercession on the president’s behalf would be to lift him up in the eyes of other Americans…not knock him down.  This tweet was about Driscoll,  and in his world Driscoll must increase and Obama must decrease.

Driscoll-tweet

Second: Although I can’t prove this, I would gamble that President Obama believes more in, and quotes more from, the Bible than the average congregation member at Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church.  To suggest Obama doesn’t believe in the Bible is just petty on Driscoll’s part.  What really irritates Driscoll is Obama believes too much in the parts of the Bible Driscoll  would rather ignore.

Third: On many occasions President Obama has professed his Christian faith and that Jesus is his God.  That makes him my brother in Christ, which makes him Driscoll’s brother in Christ…which…oh my…makes Driscoll my brother in Christ!  But see that’s the beauty of the gospel!  We are ALL called to be brothers and sisters reconciled back to God through Jesus Christ.  Don’t break the bond Mark!

Now understand, I am a registered Republican who did NOT vote for President Obama in November.  I have serious difficulties with SOME of his policies.  Having said that:

  •  President Obama is a Christian who is my brother in Christ Jesus.
  •  I would be honored to share communion and the Table of our Lord together with him
  •  As an American, and as our duly elected president, he has my support 150%

Our country is sitting on a powder keg of hate.  I’ve been accused by other Christians of selling out by the simple fact that I don’t “hate” President Obama enough.

God forbid!

Mark Driscoll is a very influential Christian minister, author, and speaker; much, much more than myself.  The number of people who will read this post may reach 100;  Driscoll has influence over tens of thousands of Christians and has the power to set a better tone for discourse in our United States. He has the ability to help bring peace!

And people who bring peace are blessed and called Sons of God!

Prayer for our government leaders is part of the instruction the Apostle Paul gives to Timothy:

 The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

1 Timothy 2:1-3

Maybe when Mark prays for the President, he should start taking his cues from the Bible he’s so good at believing in he’s become the judge of who doesn’t!

14 comments

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  • On his twitter:

    “In Christ, you’re not a little bit forgiven, you’re totally forgiven.”

    There was a video, as well, but that’s funny because I thought God hated me…..

    Yeah, this week has just been rough when it comes to evangelical Christians and their public image (see the recent New York Times video about Uganda). I’m so glad God cannot be diminished by our inability to love.

  • Steve

    Reply

    Yeah David, in the end it’s not about who we are but who He is!

  • Christine Lilwall

    Reply

    Thanks for this post, Steve, Rob and I find it so refreshing. Have you thought of writing for Red Letter Christians?

    It so saddens and infuriates me to see the polarisation of the church in the States – we’re outsiders of course so we can’t completely understand it, but it’s still very sad and frustrating…

  • Steve

    Reply

    Thanks for the kind comment Christine! Yes, I really think the entire Body of Christ in America has become so politicized people have trouble even seeing straight.

  • Prince Rupricht

    Reply

    Hmmm. There is an apparent and, I believe, very real distinction between American concept(s) of “Christian” and what the gospels and epistles lay out as a disciple and follower of Jesus. Regardless of how American’s feel, this distinction is a lot more obvious to those of us who aren’t from the Land of the Free.

    I don’t know Mark Driscoll and don’t really need to, so I don’t know if this tweet was some perverse platform for a backhanded swipe on the president. Perhaps it was. And, if so, your first point, Steve would be correct.

    But it’s your succeeding points that are most disturbing. Is being able to quote extensively from the Bible (with or without a teleprompter) really are measure of whether someone truly knows God? Even if we’re not talking about “knowing” in any meaningful sense; even if we define it as being born again, can we truly say that President Obama has been and is allowing himself to be being born again in every area of his life? Does he really speak and act as one who has the same nature as God? (After all, isn’t that the true meaning of being “born again”? Isn’t it that one is reborn with the nature of God? At least, that’s how Paul and John define it). Is the kind of legislation he has pushed through the kind that is glorifying to God? Are the people he surrounds himself with and listens to people who will turn his heart to Godly things? If not, one has to ask why a man who has “professed his Christian faith and that Jesus is his God” would do such things. Perhaps there is a legitimate answer to this, but the President has yet to provide one from the scripture he is able to so readily quote from.

    The fact that he has professed this Christian faith I find really quite meaningless (see paragraph one). I profess that I am a lover of football, but I rarely watch a game, have little idea who the current players on any team are, and although I find it enjoyable on the occasions when I do see a match, I really have little interest in following it at all. Nevertheless, I am a lover of football. And I would venture that I am probably a lover of football to a similar extent that Barak Obama is a lover of Jesus.

    I do not take his word for it firstly because I have yet to hear a politician who didn’t use “religion” for political gain but, most importantly, because I have yet to see evidence of any fruit of that belief in his life.

    Quoting a few scriptures isn’t terribly demanding – especially if you have your speechwriter pick the nice ones. I haven’t heard too much from the president’s mouth about sin and its terrible consequences on society, I haven’t heard anything about living holy and Godly lives and what impact that would have on the disintegration of the family or violent crime, or self-interest. I haven’t heard much about humility. I haven’t heard him talk about the significance of marriage in relation to Christ and the Church. I hear a profession that isn’t matched by the kind of life that a real follow of Jesus is called to.

    Having said that, I can’t see his heart. Maybe he really is a Christian.

    And maybe I’m really a lover of football.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t have given Mark Driscoll’s tweet a second look. I really don’t care what he thinks. But this whole postmodern regurgitation of “all you need is love” is as myopic as you accuse Driscoll of being. Yes, we are called to pray for our leaders, but I think you’d have been hard pressed to find Christians offering Nero or Domitian the kind of support and respect you expect Christians today to show your president. I have great respect for the office; the man who sits there has to earn it.

    Quoting a few biblical passages, attending a (somewhat bizarre) church, and telling the world you’re a Christian is insincere without a life to match. Instead of posing as some MLK reincarnated or impressing on us his links to Lincoln, perhaps he could try acting in the same humility as the one he professes to follow. When President Obama claims to be a Christian, he should start taking his cues from the Bible he so frequently quotes.
    – Rupricht

    • Steve

      Reply

      Thanks for your comment Rupricht. Although I have to disagree on some key points.

      * Are you really comparing Nero to Obama? Nero burned Christians as candles for his garden parties and the other is trying to get everyone covered in healthcare. And Paul’s letter to Timothy was written about the time of Caligula and he didn’t make an exception in praying for him. We are called to respect our leaders as Christians…sometimes it may mean respectfully disagreeing.

      * I rather think that rather than contributing to the disintegration of the family he offers up an example of someone who is long faithful to his wife and raising two beautiful daughters who obviously adore their father.

      * I’m not sure where the “postmodern regurgitation of ‘All you Need is Love'” figures into this post. I have gone to lengths to say where I disagree with the president even to the point of not voting for him.

      * There is not a person alive who could live under the public scrutiny the President of the United States lives under and not come up wanting in many areas. It is for that reason I choose to give him some extra grace in keeping with Paul’s encouragement to Timothy.

  • Rupricht

    Reply

    * Are you really comparing Nero to Obama? Nero burned Christians as candles for his garden parties and the other is trying to get everyone covered in healthcare. And Paul’s letter to Timothy was written about the time of Caligula and he didn’t make an exception in praying for him. We are called to respect our leaders as Christians…sometimes it may mean respectfully disagreeing.

    No. The reference was made because there was an implied connection in your post between praying for rulers and your 150% support for the president. I don’t see that those two things are related nor indeed need to be. My point was that it is possible to pray for rulers but still oppose them.

    Paul’s reason for praying for rulers was so that “we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” By way of illustration, policies that require a registered minister to marry homosexual couples in his church (the kind of laws the U.K. is now considering) would make it very difficult for that minister to live a godly and dignified life if such a union was contrary to his conscience. That minister may feel justified in opposing such a law, praying for it to be rescinded, or praying for the removal of those who drafted and passed it…so that he might live a godly and peaceful life.

    I have no desire to compare Obama to anyone, least of all a malevolent tyrant. I do not believe he is one. Neither do I condone the kind of vitriolic rhetoric so often spewed from the mouths of well-meaning but often self-righteous Christians. In the same way that I doubt Mr. Obama’s faith, I have doubts about some of these. Hence the first paragraph of my first post.

    Nevertheless, my point remains that prayer for our leaders does not necessarily equate to believing whatever comes out of their mouth (as Dietrich Bonhoeffer would readily avow). Americans have an odd adoration for the office of President. He assumes almost demi-god status. When he travels somewhere, crowds throng to see him; when he speaks they hang on every word, applauding with great approbation, not because he is loved (as the British monarch is) but because he is believed to be great and powerful. Such an attitude should give any Christian pause.

    I am quite willing to pray for him, but I am not so naïve as to believe that he is my brother in Christ merely because he claims to be, especially when his life shows so little Christlikeness.

  • Steve

    Reply

    Rupricht, Just to clarify I did not mean to suggest that my 150% remark should be connected to Paul’s call to prayer. It was that as and American citizen and as our duly elected leader I will support him, I did not VOTE for him… but I will support him and then I will support the next guy who is president whether I vote for him or not. Support should not be seen as unthinking support for every policy. I oppose many things this administration has done…but my body language and tone I project is (hopefully) always of love and respect…as my Lord asks of me.

    I think you have to be careful about claiming who and who is not IN by our notions of Christlikeness. It is about what Christ has done not what we do. I’m sure if my life, or yours, was held up to the same scrutiny at President Obama’s others would have enough evidence to question our Christianity…but again, aren’t we blessed because the focus is on Jesus and not us?

  • Rupricht

    Reply

    OK, I think I understand the tone, despite the fact that you now seem to equate your formerly gung ho 150% support with a kind of generalized love and respect. I’m not sure what these translate to in concrete terms, but I think I understand your general meaning.

    Now let me clarify. I don’t look on Christianity as some kind of in/out club with me as the bouncer at the door. There is no way one of us can truly know a person’s heart. And for all I know, the president may well be a believer. However, by the same token you have no way of knowing whether Mark Driscoll is wrong in his assessment.

    My comments about Obama’s lack of witness are not really dissimilar to your own thoughts on salvation:

    “Change your direction….Then be submerged in his character and likeness (i.e. take on his name) ‘transformed into the same image from glory to glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18)”
    [Pt 4 of your series on salvation]

    Do you really see a man submerged in the character and likeness of God; being transformed into the image of Christ from one glory to the next? I’ll make allowances for the enormous pressures of work and the relentless public scrutiny; nevertheless, that’s a fairly large stretch for any imagination.

  • Rupricht

    Reply

    OK, I read your post on 1 Cor 13 after I posted that, and think I better understand what you mean. In that regard, my comment last night about your support for the president was unfair. My apologies.
    – DRS

  • Steve

    Reply

    Rupricht,

    I realize in stating 150% in my support for the president as opposed to saying 100% would seem like an over enthusiastic endorsement of the president’s policies. I was trying to make a point but can see where it could be misunderstood. Cheers…

  • Melas

    Reply

    I went through the article, but was touched by the exchange (between Steve and Rupricht) in the comments. How I wish such maturity is displayed among majority of Christians when they disagree on “Christianity”. Thanks guys, I pray I do same.

  • Miracle

    Reply

    Thank you for writing this article. God bless you. You are speaking truth despite how hard it maybe to swallow for many brothers and sisters in Christ.

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