Earlier this week, Shane Vander Hart applauded Pastor David Platt for setting a biblical example on how Christians should pray for their governing officials. While I also find Platt’s prayer for President Trump commendable, Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, did not.
He tweeted, “Sorry to be crude but pastors like (David Platt) need to grow a pair. Just saying.” (His tweet has been deleted, but you can see a screenshot below.)
We could analyze so much of what Falwell Jr. says, but this specific insult stood out for one clear reason: not only was it unkind, it was unbiblical.
Platt could have responded in many different ways when he was told that the President of the United States wanted prayer and would be unexpectedly arriving at his church within minutes. He chose to listen to the words of the Apostle Paul:
“First of all, then, I urge supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 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,” (1 Timothy 2:1-3, ESV).
Surely Falwell Jr. can have no problem with a prayer that was encouraged by and rooted in Scripture. If so, this specific incident is of less concern than Falwell Jr.’s profession of faith without adherence to the word of God.
It is more likely that he is referring to Platt’s letter to his church following the service. Platt did not apologize for praying over President Trump but instead took the time to explain to the congregation what happened. He wanted them to know the whole story, to have their questions acknowledged, and to be given a Scriptural basis.
Platt was right to do so; pastors should jealously guard their pulpits against messages that detract from the Gospel and that certainly includes endorsement of political leaders. It was good that he took the time to explain walk through it with the people he shepherds, and it is even better that he did not hand the pulpit over so President Trump could address the congregation.
If Falwell Jr. professes Christ, if he reads Scripture, he should be able to easily see that Platt’s motivation was pure, his thinking was biblical, and he exercised wisdom the moment and afterward in an effort to glorify God. That is commendable, and to insult Platt for it is wrong.
Shame on you, Jerry Falwell Jr. – I sincerely hope your eyes are opened and that you will apologize for the crude tweet about a brother in Christ.