Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ligon Duncan on Praying for President-Elect Obama

from here

We ought to commit ourselves to pray for our new President, for his wife and family, for his administration, and for the nation. We will do this, not only because of the biblical command to pray for our rulers, but because of the second greatest commandment "Love your neighbor" and what better way to love your neighbor, than to pray for his well-being. Those with the greatest moral and political differences with the President-Elect ought to ask God to engender in them, by His Spirit, genuine neighbor-love for Mr. Obama.

16 comments:

  1. Hmmmm! Pray for "his administration" Perhaps you could explain to me exactly how German Christians of the late 1930's and early 40's exactly how they should have been praying for Hitler. How would the words have gone in that prayer?

    Obama's human rights stance on aborting the unborn is much like Hitlers on the Jews.

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  2. Wouldn't it be better to pray that his polices that go against life and liberty be defeated? IOW pray that God would give us the courage to lawfully oppose and speak out against the agenda that will remove any restrictions from abortion and severely hinder the freedom and liberty that we secured through the Declaration on Independence and Revolutionary War. Should we silently pray for an adminstration to undo what our Christian forefathers secured when they established this country?

    I can pray for God to change him, give him wisdom, defend the country, for his salvation, etc., but don't ask me to not begin immediately trying to thwart his ungodly and unrighteous agenda.

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  3. "Perhaps you could explain to me exactly how German Christians of the late 1930's and early 40's exactly how they should have been praying for Hitler."

    Jazzycat,

    OK, I'll bite. In exactly what way is Obama like Hitler? Hitler came to power by creating fear in the German people. He refused to listen to or tolerate people who disagreed with him. He was a socialist economically and an arch-conservative socially. Except for the socialism, that reads like the political strategy of Evangelicalism, not Obama.

    Skeptimal

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  4. Skeptimal,
    There have been around 40 million or so abortions in the US. This is certainly comparable to the holocaust. With Obama’s record of promising Planned Parenthood that he would push for a federal law that would remove any restrictions on abortion and his record of opposition to the infants born alive protection act, I would say that we have a moral equivalency with Hitler’s human rights record.

    While those who favor unlimited abortion do not impose it on people, the bottom line for the murder victims is the same.

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  5. Jazzy,

    In reference to the original post and your response, there's nothing wrong with doing both: praying for them, AND praying for life and liberty.

    Regardless of the person or administration in power, they are in need of God's grace ... to see things in light of the truth and not be deceived, to not be taken aside by sin and evil, etc. Certainly there reasons to pray for our leaders. At the same time God commands us to pray for those things in keeping with his will/word.

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  6. Jazzy,

    Thanks for answering the gentle way you did. I could probably list a hundred ways that the two situations are different, but our main disagreement is that you think abortion is always murder. If I believed that, I might agree with your comparison.

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  7. Sword,
    My frustration with Ligon’s statement is not so much with his pro-active view of praying as it is with it’s failure to assert that we should immediately not only pray for the defeat of ungodly and unrighteous polices, but actively work to oppose and defeat these policies. Ligon said the following in the article:

    Thus, where our new president opposes or undermines biblical moral standards in our society, fails to uphold justice for the unborn, undermines religious liberties or condones an ethos that is hostile to the Gospel, we will pray for God's purposes to triumph over our President's plans and policies.

    First of all Obama and his party have already done this. What do we need to wait on? Second, we need to do more than pray and we need our religious leaders to do more than pray. We need to gird it up, oppose, and actively shine the light on what is going on just as Eph. 5:11 calls for us to do. We need a religious leader in our domination to take over for D. James Kennedy. Someone who will be salt and light. Someone who will confront the world. It has been done many times in church history...........

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  8. First of all Obama and his party have already done this. What do we need to wait on?

    Response: I think you take the context of Ligon's statement into account. Only a day or two after the election, there's the need to deal with those who (1) think all is hopeless and lost and our nation is doomed; (2) will oppose the president elect on all points and fail to pray; as well as the need to communicate and show that as believers whether leaders are godly or not we still honor God's Word, believe in the necessity of prayer for those in authority over us, and look to God for grace (even that of directing leaders decisions, etc.)

    Jazzy: "Second, we need to do more than pray...

    Response: I do not doubt Ligon would agree with you on this.

    Jazzy: "... and we need our religious leaders to do more than pray. We need to gird it up, oppose, and actively shine the light on what is going on just as Eph. 5:11 calls for us to do. We need a religious leader in our domination to take over for D. James Kennedy. Someone who will be salt and light. Someone who will confront the world. It has been done many times in church history...........

    Response: As you know, the responsibility of righteousness is upon everyone, not just religious leaders. While Dr. Kennedy was a godly man and while one must take into account the role of pastors (prayer and the ministry of the word) as well as the distinctions between the church and the civil government and our nation's interests and needs, we must be careful not to politicize the pulpit or to allow political groups to either highjack religion or pressure the church to become what it was not intended for. This is not to say that pastors should not speak to issues of ethics and morality, justice, economic principles, stewardship, etc.; yet care must be taken by pastors both the issues they address as well as the context/mediums in which they address them.

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  9. Sword,
    Point well taken. I certainly realize the limitations that pastors have for taking direct action. In all of my statements on this subject, I have used the word lawfully to describe the actions we need. This would certainly include pastors doing everything lawfully and addressing issues in a non-partisan way.

    Church members have far less restrictions to engage politically with the culture. When such members (myself not included) hear only a message of pray for these ungodly officials without encouragement to also get involved and be active in lawful opposition to ungodly moral values, then I believe the result will be apathy and inaction on the part of the body of Christ. The view that God will take care of it providentially without our involvement, other than prayer, would be same view with the culture war as the hyper-Calvinists take with evangelism. Pray for souls, but don’t get involved as God will save whom he pleases.

    One final thought that could have been added in Ligon’s statement. He could have encouraged prayer for the decreased number of political leaders we have that do oppose such moral wrongs as abortion. Don’t they need our prayers as well as our enemies? Lord, I pray that you would encourage and bless the political leaders that are opposing the ungodly and unrighteous practice of abortion. They are under attack from some of the elites of their own party. They need support now!

    I personally believe the window of time is closing on our freedom to even talk about moral issues that are not politically correct in our post-modern culture. We should use it before we lose it in my opinion. Pastors only need to lawfully address the moral issues and the need for action. We in the flock are fully aware of who are our political friends and enemies.

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  10. Jazzy,

    Well spoken. Nothing to add, except that it is noteworthy to recognize that the ban on homosexual marriage passed in three states including California.

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  11. That was certainly surprising in California. The momentum of the homosexual issue has been toward acceptance of homosexual marriage and the propaganda that is driving the ever increasing percentage of Americans that favor it is growing and will eventually win the day unless those who oppose it become as passionate about defending Biblical marriage. Many are doing that, but this is another issue where prayer should be backed up with lawful action. I think just in the area of education we have a tremendous opportunity to stop the momentum.

    FOR EXAMPLE: The visual images, signs, and activities of a Gay Pride parade should be made know by Christian groups. The liberal main stream media certainly does not cover or show this debauchery. They will swarm Alaska like bee’s on honey looking for dirt on Sarah Palin, but will conceal anything that makes their PC agenda look bad. We must fill the void. Many are doing it such as Michelle Malkin and others.

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  12. "it is noteworthy to recognize that the ban on homosexual marriage passed in three states including California."


    See, this is what I was talking about when I said the election was not a referendum on the culture war. Religious hatred will continue to flourish well into the future. You guys are going to be all right.

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  13. Skeptimal,
    If our opposition to homosexual marriage is considered hate, would it also be hate to oppose marriage as being hetrosexual only?

    Why must it be hate to oppose homosexual marriage? For example must one hate nudists to oppose public nudity?

    Does partial birth abortion demonstrate any concern and love for the victim? Did you watch the video I linked to in an earlier comment?

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  14. "If our opposition to homosexual marriage is considered hate,"

    How does it affect your marriage one way or the other if gays are allowed to marry? It doesn't. At all. So you're going out of your way to limit the rights of others when it harms no one. That's pretty much a red flag that hatred is the motivation.

    If you're going to say that marriage is a sacrament, then shouldn't it be denied to all non-Christians? Muslims worship the wrong version of Jehovah. Jews haven't recognized Jesus, so they can't be sacred. Let alone buddhists, hindus, wiccans, atheists or skeptics.

    "would it also be hate to oppose marriage as being hetrosexual only?"

    Can you flesh out that question for me? I'm not sure what you're asking.

    "Does partial birth abortion demonstrate any concern and love for the victim?"

    These are, of course, two separate issues. The only connection is that both of them offend you.

    "Did you watch the video I linked to in an earlier comment?"

    Yes, I did, because you asked. I do understand why you oppose abortion. I understood that before I watched the video.

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  15. "The ones who are wanting to claim exclusive authority are those who want change what has been place for thousands of years."

    Of course, no one is redefining your marriage, which would continue unchanged. That being the case, it's hysterical behavior to say that anyone is forcing anything on anyone by extending rights to gays.

    "...the family is a basic fundamental and necessary unit of a successful society and anything that is done to re-define this basic family unit is harmful to this truth..."

    Families have been present in every society. I don't think they'll benefit from your "protection."

    "One thing that advocates of evolution and creationists can agree on is that the human body was not designed for homosexual sexual activity."

    As you no doubt know, that's an oversimplification. There is no evolutionary benefit to oral sex, heterosexual sodomy, or recreational sex either, but I don't see you trying to legislate those out of existence. (Although to be fair, if you get your way with gays, you'll probably go after unmarried straight people too.)

    "This is absurd to claim these two (mixed-racial marriage and gay marriage)as equivalent...many black civil rights leaders are offended when gay rights is equated with civil rights."

    Well, that settles it. I mean, black people can't have prejudices, can they?

    "Christians are the reasons that America has the freedoms we do and are very strongly for freedom of religion!"

    I won't oversimplify my response to this, because I believe you *are* supportive of freedom of religion to a good degree. Since you're in the majority, it would be difficult for you to understand that when you oppose separation of church and state, you are opposing freedom of religion. Were Scientology or Islam the majority religion, I think your view might be different.

    As for Christianity being demonized, I don't know where you get that. Certain groups are criticized from time to time (as are unbelievers and groups of other faiths), but there's no widespread discrimination against Christians. If there is, I haven't seen it; maybe you can point it out to me.

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  16. "Obviously you do not watch much entertainment television, Hollywood movies, or interviews with liberals if you have never seen Christianity mocked and demonized! These are the kind of statements that harm your creditability and/or discernment."

    I guess I'm just not that threatened by what comes out of the entertainment industry. I find some of it disagreeable (like Ben Stein's recent movie, the Scientology fad, or Madonna's embrace of Kaballah), but that's par for the course.

    You may not realize this, but it's much more fashionable to be Christian in Hollywood than to be a skeptic. Generally speaking, free thinkers only appear in movies or on TV as two kinds of plot device. First, we might be the arrogant skeptic that is about to become the next victim of the ghost, monster, demon, space alien or other bogeyman. Otherwise, we are actually believers only claiming not to believe because we're "angry at god." Usually, in that group, the skeptic experiences a tearful epiphany that returns him or her to the faith.

    You can believe in any kind of magic in Hollywood: Christian, Scientologist, New Ager or otherwise, but if you don't claim a religion...well, then you're just heartless and probably evil.

    And as for liberal interviews: give me a break. Which is worse, Bill Maher saying something crude or Jerry Falwell blaming 9/11 on liberals? And don't tell me that was an aberration, because I've watched CBN, TBN, and the others, and I've listened to Christian radio.

    If this country is so biased against Christians, why did Liddy Dole think she could get herself elected by calling Hagan's Christianity into question?

    I think of these things whenever one of you complains about how you're presented in a movie here and there.

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