Controversial Obama Tweet

I had a good discussion with a fellow pastor here at LifePoint today about a controversial subject that has been debated in various circles this week.  It involves the pastor of the largest church in our state (Washington), and a comment he posted on Twitter concerning the President of the United States.  On Presidential Inauguration Day earlier this week Pastor Mark Driscoll tweeted this:

“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.”

Christians and non-Christians alike have spent a lot of time debating this comment and the man who made it.  What do you think about his words?  The goal here is not to start a political debate, nor to make it about a specific person involved in this situation, but to foster dialogue on this issue.

What do you think about that tweet?

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About Pastor Andrew

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Carissa, Daddy to four daughters, Lead Pastor at LifePoint Church in Vancouver, WA.
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17 Responses to Controversial Obama Tweet

  1. If you are going to pray for someone, you should leave the judgment up to The Lord. If it were my tweet, it would be: “Praying for our president, that God would open his eyes and fill his heart with His law.” Oftentimes in the political arena, believers, out of frutration, could become quite cynical. This is why we must pray that God have HIS way with leaders he’s called into action, in government and in the churches as well!

  2. Dean Goff says:

    I think Josephine hit the nail on the head. I believe that it is our responsibility to shine our light before men, that we might glorify God. Only God knows the thoughts and heart of man. If he made that statement based on what he may disagree regarding our presidents actions, or policies, then I guess someone could say the same thing about all of us if they just watched us close enough. There is nobody righteousness, no not one. I think we need to be very careful about throwing those kinds of statements to the wind, because It may carry them to a place we never intended. If we spent more time praying for our leaders, rather than being openly critical, then I believe God would honor our prayers as we come to Him in humility, asking for wisdom for our leaders. I am not saying that Christians should not take a stand, I am only saying that we should do it on our knees, before we do it in public. And then hopefully our words will be laced with love and grace lifting Christ up, with the end result of having God draw all men unto himself.

  3. Tom Van Osdel says:

    Looks pretty accurate to me. It also seems to me that My Lord and Savior who floods me with grace abundant also said some very straight forward things about some of the leaders of the time. Also the author of this tweet states he is praying for our President, and then followed that with a fairly accurate statement, nothing more nothing less, unless you want to read between the lines.

  4. Shyla Wade says:

    We should pray for our leaders as only God knows their heart. Posting or tweeting negative remarks only makes us look bad and does not change the situation.

  5. Sam Cassese says:

    Mark Driscoll did well to stand up, use his platform, and boldly draw the distinction between the religious professionalism and pageantry portrayed in that inauguration and the real, life-altering message of the gospel we preach as evangelicals. I agree with Mark. Let no one be confused: the presence of the Bible is not a token used to appease ‘religious’ people and their consciences.
    Yes, we as Christians pray for our leaders (Mark’s first words). Yes, we as Christians shine our light. But we as Christian preachers and teachers are facing a higher judgment as we our entrusted with the gospel and called to rightly handle the word of truth. As shepherds we must preserve the message and protect the sheep. Could that tweet be Mark’s way of warning Christians, ‘Do not be deceived by the presence of a Bible!’? I think so. I can hear his righteous indignation (and feel it!) as he draws the line between the safe and sterile professional religiosity that doesn’t affect me (even when I approach it and put my hand on it) and the all-consuming, life-altering, all-powerful gospel of God that calls me to repent! Again, I think this tweet can be paraphrased as “Don’t be fooled.” As a teacher, Mark is calling people to recognize the difference between touching the Word and letting the word touch you. The presence of the Bible is not enough.

    • Dean Goff says:

      That is a really good question, “Have we let the word touch us?” Another question, “Are we letting the word change us? And if so, is that change compelling or repelling people? I have mine, and that is all that matters. It is my job now to sit back and determine what is in the heart of men. When someone takes communion, do we say, “I bet they do not really know God.” Or do we thank God they are there with us partaking. It is all about our focal point, and Gods perspective. In the 32 years I have walked with Christ, I have watch people earnestly pray for friends, or family members for years. And then when they finally come to Christ, they say, “It is not real, they are just putting on a show.” Mark was probably right, God really could not be working in our presidents life. He is too unlike us. The real Christians.

    • Sam, you had a bright, intelligent and thoughful response that I enjoyed, agreed with wholeheartedly and thought was well spoken!

  6. Heather says:

    Wow, Sam! So well said! I can’t add anything to that, you said it so succinctly. I agree!

  7. Heather says:

    Ooops! I meant to write, “Wow, Pastor Sam!” I’m sorry I left that off. It is a reminder that I shouldn’t post comments when I am in a hurry to do something else:)

  8. Yes, we must be bold. But leaders, especially those who’s said to represent the gospel should use more discretion as to when to be bold and when to “just pray:; It’s called wisdom … How can one “lift up” someone in prayer in one breath and in another indicate its a useless prayer anyway?

    Here’s a question: “How do you think President Obama would feel if he were to read this tweet?”
    Here’s another question: “What impact does the tweet make on non-believers who do support the President?

    Discretion …discretion …discretion….
    In my humble opinion ….

  9. Gene Pearce says:

    So this begs the question, if we are not to openly challenge our leaders regarding their respective relationship with God, was John the Baptist wrong in challenging Herod? Would it have been better to remain silent and quietly pray for Herod instead? If so, what’s the difference?

  10. I hate to sound non pc… ok I’ll do it. 🙂
    If men didn’t stand up against tryranny and the unrighteous – we would still be British living under an unjust tyranny. Also most likely we wouldn’t have been strong enough during World War II to have defeated Germany or Japan and our world would be sadly different.
    We aren’t called to be politically correct. We are called to tell the good news. If we water down what Jesus himself said, are we speaking the gospel or a bunch of gobbledy gook?

    Yes we should speak in love, that is a no brainer, but did Jesus step around the truth, worrying about what poeple would think, or did he tell the truth?

    Should we be so worldly minded, and so worried about what people might think, that we water down the word of God? I’m not standing for a “Sandwichboard” corner preaching screaming in peoples faces, but the world needs truth.

    At What price Discretion? Does the truth save the soul, or does discretion?
    Frankly I could care less what the people who follow Obama think about the truth, the truth is the truth no matter what some one thinks. They are as full of sin and wicked as Obama and as we were before Christ met us and they need the truth. The parable of the seed tells us that not everyone is going to receive it. If we are just like the world, what will call them to something different?
    While I may not agree with everything Mark Driscoll has said in the last 5 years, I totally agree that we should tell the Emperor that his new clothes are vile nakedness and disgusting sin.

    I’m just saying what God said, so sorry if you don’t like my words, talk to God on that one, see what he says?

  11. Great questions Gene! I’m preaching on that passage this week: Mark 6:14-29. I think the first difference in this regard between Driscoll/Obama and John/Herod is the relationship of religion/state in their respective contexts. Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great, an Edomite (half Jew) who called himself “King of the Jews.” John’s rebuke of Herod Antipas was “it is not lawful for you to have your brothers wife.” He was referring to the Levitical law, which prohibited Herod from marrying his brothers wife unless his brother died and he was fulfilling the responsibility to raise an heir for his brother. Herod’s brother, Philip, was not dead, and the divorce and marriage of Herodias was clearly a violation of the Jewish law, which Antipas, if he was going to consider himself King of the Jews, should have been held accountable to. John was playing a role similar to the OT prophet in this context, calling the king on his sin.

    I didn’t have a problem with Driscoll’s tweet. I have met Mark on a couple of occasions, and I know several guys who work for him at MHC. He’s a very legit guy, solid theologically, and pastors a church that is known nationally for its amazing engagement of the mission of God in one of the most unchurched cities in America. He’s also a straight-talker. He doesn’t mince words, and as he talks straight–at times people get offended. He’s also been quick to apologize and humble himself publicly when/if he steps over the line. In regards to his words here, I would agree with Sam’s perspective–thank God that someone with a platform in Christian culture had the laser-sharp perspective to cut through pomp and circumstance and remind us of the reality that the Bible is not a prop for a ceremony, but God’s revealed word for his creation.

    I love Gene’s question here–it makes me think–how would we have responded to John the Baptist, Ezekiel, Nathan, Elijah, or another prophet that we see in Scripture? They said some pretty pointed things in their ministries. They also said them in ways that ruffled a lot of feathers.

  12. Dean Goff says:

    The issue here was not if the bible was being used as a prop, but what was in Presidents Obama’s heart regarding how he felt about God, and the bible. If the question, would have been presented, “Is the bible used in these types of ceremonies more as a prop, then the inspired word of God, then I think that our answers would have been a lot different. He was making a direct statement of what he thought was in President Obama’s heart regarding God, and Gods word. No man can read another mans heart. Do I think that some of the things we do as a nation, are really formalities when evaluating our current moral state, you bet. But suffice to say, I would never think myself insightful enough to know another mans heart. I may be able to determine some information about him by his works, however, I would still lack understanding of what motivates him. We would also have to be careful in having this discussion, we do not become judgmental about pastor Mark, because I do not know his heart, any more than our presidents.

  13. While we indeed don’t know President Obamas heart directly, we are told in the gospels by Jesus and also by Paul that we are to judge a man’s fruit, his character and out of his fruit his actions.

    Not discussing politics because this is a Christian discussion, and because Andrew asked us not to 🙂 one has to look at some of the actions (aka fruit) this man has taken over the last 5 years let alone his whole life.
    He’s been part of an organization during his college years that was legally and morally corrupt. He was and is friends with Bill Ayers and Tom Hayden.
    He has said on numerous occasions that he is a practicing Muslim. He’s also bowed his knee and kissed the hand of a Muslim foreign dignitary. He also embraces a woman’s right to kill a born child up to 30 days after birth. He has pushed for the Euthanasia of millions of elderly including his own grandmother on public radio. He has also stated that Jerusalem is not the valid capital of Israel and he’s going to pull funding for support of Israel. He through his administration, is currently causing the US Government to give millions to Jihadists so that they can do their dirty work against their own people and ours. This is against the US Constitution that he swore to uphold. Not only is he not upholding them (political) but he lied as he swore an oath before God and American’s… TWICE!Thomas Jefferson and the other founders of our country, signed a little thing called the Declaration of Independence.
    In that document they told us as future generations that we are to examine our leaders.

    I don’t think it’s hard to decide where his heart lies and read his fruit. Those aren’t political issues, those are heart issues. Based on comments that have come from his own mouth on National Television and on Public Radio, he has admitted not to believe in the Christian Bible, and he doesn’t believe in a Christian God. Given all of that do we really even need to be having this discussion as a Christian church?

    The things Mark Driscoll said aren’t popular because the truth stings. Why are so many who claim to be bible believing Christians so afraid to speak the truth.
    The bible says in the end days we will be called to be accountable. There may very well be a time where here in America, a land founded on Christian principles by a majority of men who held Christian beliefs, we are asked yes or no, do you follow Christ. There may be consequences physically but who would you rather answer to? The politically correctness department of the US Government or to a righteous God that you stood your ground and were counted for Christ?
    Yes we are to pray for him as the leader of our nation. But we are also called to be salt and light in a world of darkness. The truth of the matter is that truth is never a popular subject.

    Do you people know that Pastor Andrew and others like him in our church and hundreds of other churches around the country put their neck on the line every day to stand on the Bible and the Gospel of Christ? How can we stand and watch them gladly put their neck on the line in defense of their faith and then stand behind the badge of political correctness and say that we should be more worried about what he and his friends think than to tell the truth as Bible believing Christians. Jesus himself says that he would rather we be hot or cold but never lukewarm.

    Don’t speak out against a pastor who speaks in truth about a person who’s life so loudly speaks of the fruit of darkness.

    Most of the disciples were either beheaded or hung on a cross or even more humiliating hung on a cross upside down for telling the truth. Our Jesus hung on a cross, don’t water down his truth. We are not called to judge the person, that is God’s job, but we are called to be diligent in our walk and tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God.

    Amazingly enough in our courthouses today, despite the countries best attempts to wipe God off the face of the earth, they still swear to tell the truth in front of God almighty but how many who call themselves Christians are asking us to water down God’s word and slap the martyrs of God in the face and in reality slap Jesus himself in the face as he hangs on the cross of our hearts.

    Why are we so quick to run from the truth that’s staring us in the face, why are we more worried about what people in the world might think or say than we are what Jesus taught us to think or say.

    I think of all the people from China and Russia and South Korea and even the people in the New Testament church who have been martyred for Christ and it kind of ruffles my spiritual feathers when we pretty much take what they’ve done for Christ and pretty much spit on it because we’re either too afraid or not committed enough to tell the truth.

    Our youth today are being yanked from our sides at earlier and earlier ages. They’re told by their educators and fellow youth that people like Obama are cool and just because they are who they are we shouldn’t question them.
    Yes we need to do it kindly and in love but dogonne it, if we as Christians don’t stand for the Gospel of Christ in an age of extreme darkness, what will bring the unsaved to Christ. If we are exactly like those in the world, what is there for them to change to?
    I saw the lives of those around me at the age of 12 and even then I said these people have something I don’t, I want what they have.

  14. This is Brad –
    It is really hard to be quiet while the tyranny of evil wins, while Christians either stand idly by, like the 3 blind,mute, and deaf monkeys, or run away in fear.

    I read an article today that breaks my heart and brought me to tears and quite frankly made me angry.
    I think this article totally speaks to the comments by Mark Driscoll and why Pastor’s and pew warmers alike should speak out in truth as we are called to do.

    http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/why-scouts-are-rethinking-gay-policy/

    The above linked article talks about the once beloved, and totally Christian organization that stood for morals, integrity. respect, dignity, and honor.. But now because LGBT insiders have infiltrated the organization… And because the President of the United States has worked against his priviledge of being inducted as the President of the Boy Scouts of America, as the tradition has been for over 100 years, and was sworn in in private in a closed room because he stands for everything that is against what the Boy Scouts originally stood for… now the Boy Scout’s of America are caving in.

    Is this a political statement? No this cuts right to the heart of the matter as to why Pastor Mark not only was right to make his comment but should have. Quite frankly shame on the American Christian church for not standing arm and arm with organizations such as the Boy Scouts and other Christian organizations. We applaud Chick Fillet but how many said to themselves in private, “Wow I’m glad they did that on their own so I didn’t have to come out of the closet as a Christian”?
    This is the kind of thing that comes from Christians not doing what Pastor Mark Driscoll said.

    I think Christians in America should be ashamed of themselves for questioning Mark Driscoll for speaking the truth when things like this are happening to organizations like Chic Fillet and the Boy Scout’s.
    May God give us grace, humility, and encourage us to stand for his name and his gospel. May we be more concerned. This post may sound unkind or unloving. Certainly don’t mean it to be, but my gosh, how much of Christianity and God’s name is going to be ripped away in the name of tact and political correctness when we as Christians are the one’s letting it happen and doing nothing about it and then tsk tsk’ing the ones that are actually brave enough to do it.
    This not only goes to the heart of Driscoll’s comments but also to what Pastor Andrew was talking about last week and the weeks to come.

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