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I love ya. You know I love ya. I have written to you before thanking you for your work. But you are really out of line regarding your criticism of Rick Warren. Let me tell you why.
First, let me tell you what I love about you, Joseph. I love your willingness to defend what you believe is right. You are not afraid and you will not back down just because someone is popular or powerful. Good for you! Courage like that is rare and is a great trait to have. I also love the fact you want to stand up for biblical truth as you see it. Excellent! The Bible is our standard for faith and practice. I share this love for the Bible and seek to obey it in my own life.
Here’s where you are out of line. Regarding Barack Obama, you write: I’m trying to imagine Jesus giving an invocation at the inauguration of such a man. I think you will agree, it’s unimaginable. I disagree. Jesus did many surprising things. He ate with tax gatherers and sinners. Shameful! He let a prostitute touch him, wash his feet with her tears and dry them with her hair. Shocking! Completely unimaginable! He even turned water into wine after the guests had already “well-drunk.” Scandalous! Jesus received a lot of criticism from people in His day.
My concern is that we do not place our political viewpoints above obedience to God. An invocation is a prayer. If Jesus were to pray at Barack Obama’s inauguration, would you criticize Him, too?
Don’t get me wrong, Joseph. I am not criticizing your heart. I think you want to defend the right as you see it. But I am praying you will be willing to consider this next Bible passage I want to share with you. Please don’t just read it and keep going without slowing down. Read it slowly and come to a full and complete stop at the end. Ponder it. Even read it two or three times. Think about the passage and the historical context it was written in. Will you promise to do that for me, Joseph?
Here is the passage:
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
I know this is tough. It was hard for me when Bill Clinton was president, too. I know how you feel about Barack Obama. My feelings are probably pretty close to yours. I am not convinced Barack is even a natural-born citizen or constitutionally qualified to be president. But that is not the issue. The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case and he will be inaugurated.
I know how you feel about Barack’s position on many things. I agree with you on this, too. Those positions are not just wrong; they are evil. But Barack is no more evil than the Roman emperor of Paul’s day when he wrote to Timothy the passage above.
Rick Warren has agreed to obey 1 Timothy 2:1-2. He has agreed to do it in public. That’s it. If a pastor agrees to obey God in public, should a Christian criticize him for it? I know if you think about it, you will see Rick’s decision to go is the right one.
I do not know Rick Warren well. I have met him on a couple of occasions, shook hands and had a brief chat. I do not work for him and cannot speak for him. But I do think I know something of what Rick will say. He will follow the passage above. He will thank God for Barack. He will ask for God’s blessings on him and will ask for God to give him wisdom in governing the country.
Now let me ask something of you, Joseph. Please send Rick a new letter and encourage him to go and obey this passage. But if you can think of other requests Rick can biblically pray for Barack, let him know those as well. I am sure Rick will do the right thing.