Some Thoughts on Rick Warren Praying for Obama

We can all be happy that Obama didn’t ask Jeremiah Wright to pray. I mean, Rick Warren is no John Piper, and Warren has rather questionable theology and pragmatics, but at least Warren isn’t a total nut case.

Both sides are defecating in their pants again on this one. Warren’s acceptance is seen as some sort of support for a baby-killing, embryo-destroying, homosexual-promoting man. Obama’s extension is seen as some sort of support for a gay-hating, choice-denying, freedom-squashing, right-winged barney. It may very well be that this is the case, but the reactions on both sides are ludicrous.

If Obama had asked Billy Graham to pray, as Graham had done for 11 other presidents, then I’m sure that the furor would not be the same. Yeah, the homosexual agenda would be up in arms, yeah the uber-conservatives would be writing blogs left and right, but it wouldn’t be the same. The point is, Graham showed true tolerance, he confronted presidents whom he disagreed with yet still sought influence with them.

I’m not the biggest fan of Warren, he downplays portions of the gospel to make it more digestable. Sinners do not enjoy going to church and hearing that God’s wrath is on you and that you are a sinner and need to repent. Sinners don’t like hearing about a bloody, crucified savior who tells you that you must do the same, every single day of your life, no matter what it costs you. But as far as Warren’s decision to pray at Obama’s inaguration is concerned, i sit a little more ‘liberal’ than some of my Christian brothers.

First, a quick praise for Obama (WHAT! praise for OBAMA!!! are you out of your mind?????? Yeah, a bit). Obama is showing in this act true tolerance. I know, tough pill to swallow all you conservatives, that someone we couldn’t love to disagree with more is holding out some sort of hand of fellowship to us. At least he’s not holding a gun to our head and telling us to recant… But Obama’s act here is a positive sign. Apparently God is already answering some of our prayers, in that he has got an evangelical still praying for the nation, not some wack-o like Jeremiah Wright. But on to other things…

As Warren has quoted, Scripture tells us to “pray for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. this is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 1:2-4). The problem is not with Warren being the one asked to pray. The problem is not even with Warren accepting to pray. If God has opened a door for Christians to pray infront of America, then praise God for the opportunity.

The problem is what Warren will pray.

Given Warren’s less-than-stellar track record for speaking prophetically and not “not holding back all the counself of God”, the problem we will have is whether Warren will speak God’s truth, whether America wants to hear it or not.

Will Warren confront America’s sins? Will he name her gross immoralities and idolatries? Will he pray for God’s forgiveness upon our wicked nation? Will he pray first and foremost that “all will come to a saving knowledge of the truth”? Will he pray that Christians will be kept safe? Will he pray that Jesus Christ will be exalted in this land above everything else, even iPhones?

That’s the tipping point. If Warren dishes out some, “Oh Lord, please bless our nation” without one ounce of prophecy, then Warren will have squandered his opportunity. If John the Baptist were here, who got his head cut off by Herod for telling him how sinful his deeds were, I’m sure he would have no problem knowing exactly what to pray for, namely, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

Praise God that he has opened an opportunity for a bible-believing evangelical (no matter how we disagree with Warren) to stand before America and pray for her and her leaders. No may we pray that Warren will use that moment to exalt Christ above all and not simply try to maintain some equalibrium of false tolerance.


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