Beliefnet
The Bible and Culture

In the truth is stranger than fiction category is the story that my friend Bill Barnwell sent me about a Southern Baptist pastor in California.

Here is the link to the story that made headlines out there:

This pastor has urged his congregation to pray imprecatory prayers against some folks that blew the whistle on his violations of the separation of church and state laws (i.e. he endorsed Mr. Huckabee on letterhead church stationery and urged his congregation to do the same).

His supposed Biblical precedent for this is the imprecatory psalms of David. I don’t know what seminary this pastor went to, but boy has he misunderstood those psalms. They don’t reveal the will of God in such matters, rather they shed God’s light of truth on what is in the wicked heart of human beings, including in David’s heart, that old murderer and adulterer. Praying for someone to bash the Edomite babies’ heads on the rocks ought to even give Brother Dobson the willies.

How in the world could this pastor have been a one time leader of the Southern Baptist convention? He certainly needs to repent and rethink. Most disturbing is his grand-standing remark “I was just doing what God was telling me to do.” Not even close brother, unless that is your God is Allah. Our God is the God who sent his Son to die on the cross for everyone’s sins, not the God of jihad and cursing one’s enemies.

The real disaster in this whole situation is the complete failure to follow the teachings of the NT when it comes to dealing with one’s tormentors or persecutors. You may remember these words from Jesus– “love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.” Notice it does not say pray against those who persecute or even pray about those who persecute you, but instead pray FOR those who persecute you. Or perhaps you will remember the little episode when the disciples ask Jesus whether they should call down destruction on those who had rejected them. I trust you remember Jesus’ response to that.

At the heart of the Gospel is forgiveness, and non retaliation, and even praying for and loving one’s enemies, which is the polar opposite of what this pastor urged his congregation to do. Paul puts it this way “bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them” (Rom. 12.14). In other words— Pastor Drake is in direct violation of the teaching of Jesus and Paul, and certainly did not get it from ON HIGH when he asked his congregation to curse his enemies!!

I am afraid this pastor needs a refresher course in Gospel ethics, for the question he should have asked was not what DID David do, but what would Jesus and the apostles say and do in such a situation– HAVE MERCY! ‘Nuff said.