Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Imprecatory Prayers & President Obama

One of the very first blogs I wrote in this space was in response to Wiley Drake and others at the SBC. Now here I go again. Wiley, we've got to stop meeting like this.

I listened to Wiley's radio interview with Alan Colmes and was deeply saddened by what he said and by the fact that the media loves to give him a platform for saying these things.

I do not agree with Wiley's contention that God commands us to pray imprecatory prayers. First of all the term imprecatory prayers is a bit in error. The Book of Psalms contains several Psalms (e.g., 58; 68; 109; 137) where the writer of the Psalm calls on the Lord to execute His vengeance on his enemies. It is true that the Psalmist, in each case, is talking to God. But a more correct biblical understanding would be to say Imprecatory Psalms, not Imprecatory Prayers.

Imprecation is, in essence, putting a curse on someone or asking God to curse them. Nowhere in the Bible are Christians encouraged to curse anyone, especially those with whom we disagree or those who would do us harm. In fact, we are commanded not to do so and to do just the opposite.

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them." Romans 12:14

The Bible could not be clearer.

In admitting that he is praying for President Obama's death, Wiley is violating the clear teaching of Scripture. Even if he considers the President to be his enemy, the Bible says to: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).

As President of the California Southern Baptist Convention I am especially saddened by this. The shame is that some will conclude that all of us share Wiley's views. Nothing could be further from the truth. I could not disagree more with Wiley on this issue and I know that Southern Baptists, as a whole, definitely disagree with him. We are to pray for all who are in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

May God forgive us all when we do not display Christ-like attitudes and actions.


Libby said...

That was absolutely perfect. Thank you, Walter.

don said...

Thank you Walter!
God bless you richly.

Don Adam

J E Shelford said...

Goggled Wiley Drake...right on Walter. Praise the Lord the "gates of hell shall not prevail against the heavenly gates."

Praying for the message today to the Middle East pastors.