Much has been made of evangelical pastors gathering last week in the Oval Office to pray for President Donald Trump. The tweet below has made waves:
Such an honor to pray within the Oval Office for @POTUS & @VP . pic.twitter.com/JrDOSJyFeN
— Johnnie Moore ن (@JohnnieM) July 12, 2017
The left has mocked the pastors which doesn’t surprise me. I am a little surprised that some consider this heresy, however.
Another cleric saw something else, what he called “theological malpractice bordering on heresy.”
The Rev. William Barber II, a Protestant pastor in North Carolina and a member of the national board of the NAACP, said on MSNBC’s AM Joy that the ministers should be challenging the president and his political allies instead of trying to appease them. The pastor pointed to the Republican health care bill, which is predicted to leave 22 million more people uninsured.
“When you can p-r-a-y for a president and others while they are p-r-e-y, preying on the most vulnerable, you’re violating the most sacred principles of religion,” Barber told TV show host Joy Reid on Saturday.
I was not a fan of President Trump’s. I did not vote for him. I have criticized him since he took office. I also am concerned about how evangelicals are perceived to be just a voting block of the Republican Party. I was also concerned about what evangelical support, particularly among pastors, of Trump would communicate.
Barber, quoted in the excerpt above, is right that pastors should be challenging the President. That goes for any President, in any party. His statement, unfortunately, comes out of partisanship, not principle.
I disagree with those who interpret this event to mean that Trump has some strong faith. Of that God should be the judge, but I will say I have not seen any fruit. I do know in my experience people don’t turn down prayer. And we shouldn’t withhold it from them either.
Praying for the President or any leader is not heresy. We are commanded to do it. Regardless of the president, irrespective of the party. I would venture to say if evangelical pastors had been invited to meet with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office we would have seen a similar picture.
And that’s fine with me provided pastors don’t get infatuated with power and boldly speak truth to whoever is in the Oval Office. If that happens, that is the issue, not the act of prayer.