Praying at the DNC

Tim Brister —  August 29, 2008 — 22 Comments

For the past six weeks I have hunkered down into the prayer life of the apostle Paul.  The majority of my time has been studying, meditating, and preaching on his prayers.  Therefore, I find it fitting to look at the prayers of two “evangelicals”.  I post the videos; you interact. I will reserve my commentary for the time being.

Donald Miller Praying Monday Night


Joel Hunter Praying Thursday Night

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22 responses to Praying at the DNC

  1. Well, that was educational. See, I always thought that prayer was talking to God, not to an audience.I also thought Jesus claimed exclusivity. Now I know better.

  2. David, tell that to all the preachers that feel the need to hit their three points during the benediction.

  3. For those interested in reading an email exchange between Donal Miller and Barack Obama, go here:

    http://donmilleris.com/2008/08/27/donald-miller-barack-obama/

    The whole exchange is rather funny. I think my favorite line in the exchange actually came from Michelle Obama who wrote:

    “Seeing it in person will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m excited about being there, and if you make a donation of $5 or more before the deadline, you could join Barack backstage. Donate today and you will be registered to join us!”

  4. I only listened to Donald Miller. I wasn’t aware that prayer was simply repeated to God the agenda of one’s political party. It seems the Democrats are making the same mistakes that some Republican’s have made over the years. Also, I didn’t know that Jesus’ death was simply to fight social injustice.

  5. looking forward to your thoughts on this Ed! …Do tell!

  6. Nice reading, Don. Is it from your next book, “Blue Like Democrats”?

    I like how Joel interrupted his prayer to make sure that it was as inclusive and meaningless as possible.

  7. David & Adam,

    Interesting points. Why? Well..I’m glad I asked! :)

    A couple of years ago a good friend of mine mentioned something to me which he called “prayer sermons.” This happens during the prayer after the sermon. The prayer is basically a summary of the sermon where the basic points get prayed. The kind of prayer where the preacher tells God what He already knows. Or the preacher tries to emphasis a point to the congregation even though he’s supposed to be praying to God i.e. “God, You know some people here need to follow my leadership…”

    Once my friend told me this it took a while for me to undo listening to prayers with this filter.

    Yeah…we’re still good friends!

    Mark

  8. I would not spend an hour in a church pastored by either of these men. It was a bunch of political drivel.

  9. Wow, just listened to Joel Hunter. He mentioned babies…ironic with Obama’s comments about abortion last night…

  10. There’s plenty that could be mentioned, but what sticks in my mind was Joel Hunter’s last statement: “Let’s go change the world for Good!” My first thought was that he just needed to drop one “o” and say: “Let’s go change the world for God!” But then I remembered something I once heard J. Piper speak about: Even the word “God” would not have been enough, because a even a Muslim would be fine with that. I wonder what kinda clamor it would have caused if Hunter had said: “Let’s go change the world for Jesus!” Of course we know that Hunter never would have said such a thing since he already asked people to personalize his prayer by closing it in the tradition of their own faith.

  11. Timmy,

    Excuse my naivete, but the link to the email exchange was simply a writers fictional cleverness, right? I’m embarrassed to even have to ask. I read the Christianity Today interview and I am still wondering what is fiction and what is non-fiction.

    Seriously, help me out here. If it is satire (the email exchange); does Mr. Miller actually think this will help the cause–whatever the “cause” is in his mind.

    Help!!!!!! Seriously–I am totally 100% confused.

  12. D.L.,

    I understand your confusion brother. But I am inclined to believe that the email exchange is real. But then again, I could be played the fool as well! I have another video of Miller that I will post in a couple of days where he speaks about abortion just prior to his prayer at the DNC. Miller is wildly popular among the 20-somethings who have read his books, most notably Blue Like Jazz. I don’t agree with him on a lot of things, but his influence is real nonetheless.

  13. thomastwitchell August 30, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Interesting that Miller gives the moral government theory of the atonement that Jesus is an example and not the Biblical doctrine subsitutionary atonement . He also includes, not that Jesus came to put to death sin, but that it was to give his life in a struggle against forces of injustice. I thought that he came to carry out justice, “Now is the world judged…It is finished” et cetera.

    The Democrat Gospel of Obamesiah, is quite a differnt Gospel.

  14. Many of you have brought out some of the things I have been thinking. Allow me to offer a few other things that came to my mind:

    1. You will continue from the evangelical left a lot of emphasis on inclusivism and an over-realized eschatology (kingdom-now). For so long, I have heard about the syncretism of conservatives who merge Americanism with Christianity. Ironically, I am see the same syncretism of American politics with our Christian identity, only this time it is from the left.

    2. Regarding the closing of Dr. Hunter’s prayer, I found something really perplexing. While he directed everyone to pray in whatever name to whatever god they desire to, he himself prayed in the name of Jesus. Does anyone else find this hypocritical? You prescribe inclusivism but you practice (in prayer) exclusivism. In the very effort to be “tolerant” Dr. Hunter was being offensive and intolerant by praying in Jesus’ name. You cannot have it both ways. Scripture offers no alternative but for the exclusivity and supremacy of Jesus Christ, and to subordinate him as though he has an equal is to capitulate on the foundation of our Christian faith. Jesus Christ is Lord.

    I share more later. Just wanted to toss a few thoughts into the mix. :)

  15. ok…
    Just wanted to comment on the “email exchanges” that Tim gave a link to above.
    It is Miller’s clever attempt at comedy. The emails from the Obama’s are clearly a “form/bulk” send out for supporters, and he gave some really funny responses.
    I will refrain from commenting on the prayers….you all have summed up my thoughts on those already! :)

  16. graceb4me,

    You are probably right. I should have paid more attention!

  17. Allow me to offer a few more thoughts on these prayers:

    (picking up on my other comment)

    3. Donald Miller and Joel Hunter are presented as evangelicals. In my original post, I put that term in parenthesis because their prayers show they represent more the agenda of a political party than a representation of evangelicals. I feel liberty to speak with some degree of certainty that Edwards, Whitefield, and the Wesley brothers would not prayed thus. Neither would Ockenga, Henry, Lloyd-Jones, Stott, or Graham. I realize it is a shame that the leader “evangelical” spokesman on the right is a psychologist (Dobson), but the liberal counterpart is equally less desirable and reflective of who evangelicals are and what they believe. Miller and Hunter, though presumably considered as mainstream among evangelicals, are at best on the fringe of the evangelical left. The re-imaging and extreme makeover works in politics but not in substance.

    4. I remember have conversations with intelligent, fair-minded liberal friends who sincerely believed that Bush manipulated the evangelical bloc to win the presidency. I don’t know. They may have been right. But there is no doubt that Obama is not an evangelical. The liberation theology he has imbibed from Jeremiah Wright has friendly theological language but an altogether different definition. Incidentally enough, the content of the prayers by Hunter and Miller reflect much of the character of liberation theology and little of evangelical theology. And it is quite remarkable that Miller admits to being used by some politicians and seems to be fine with that. Imagine evangelicals praying a prayer with talking points from the RNC headquarters. I can hear McLaren, Wallis, Sider, and others hollerin’ on MSNBC now.

    5. Prayer is fundamentally vertical. You are talking to God about things that mater to God. Paul’s praying is a great example of this. He prays according to God’s will because he has invested himself in knowing and doing God’s will. Miller’s and Hunter’s prayers were almost entirely horizontal about societal and governmental issues. I am not saying that such issues are not matters of prayer, but they did not speak to God or represent God-like concerns (chiefly the glory of His Son) in their prayers. Christ is only an example, not our one and only Savior. Such talk, I suppose, is reserved for evangelicals who are intolerant by saying that Jesus is the only way. ;)

    For the record, I am not a fan of McCain or the Republican party. I am just tired by the doublespeak on both ends, the misrepresentation of evangelicals by both parties, and the prostituting of the Christian faith for votes. Please don’t drape Jesus in a Christian flag or pretend like he is saying “yes we can!”. My guess is that he is saying, “No you can’t!”

  18. I think John MacArthur is right about the issue of tithing. Cant see how we can say that 10% is req. There seem to be three OT tithes. If the OT tithe law still applies to us why dont we hear from the pulpit to do all three?

    DD

  19. Did either prayer end with the tag: “I’m Barack Obama and I approved this prayer”?

  20. Sad thing is that I don’t think that we will find anything different with the RNC next week. May God give us the strength to preach with boldness the need for Christ and Christ alone.

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  1. Videos of DNC Benedictions « What I’m really thinking… - August 29, 2008

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