McLean Bible Church Pastor David Platt has responded to murmurs from his congregation that some people were upset by President Donald Trump’s surprise visit on Sunday afternoon.
According to a letter Platt wrote to the church, the congregation has “over 100 nations represented… including all kinds of people with varied personal histories and political opinions from varied socioeconomic situations.”
This diversity is likely to lead to someone or some people being offended or upset by Trump’s visit. Rather than apologize to his congregation, Platt reminded them in a letter that their God and their faith transcends politics and political parties. It supersedes offense and instead maintains a higher standard of doing what God calls, regardless of whether it is socially convenient.
In the letter addressed to the “MBC Family,” Platt wrote: “Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that we didn’t see coming, and we’re faced with a decision in a moment when we don’t have the liberty of deliberation, so we do our best to glorify God. Today, I found myself in one of those situations.”
At the end of my sermon at the 1:00 worship gathering, I stepped to the side for what I thought would be a couple of moments in quiet reflection as we prepared to take the Lord’s Supper. But I was immediately called backstage and told that the President of the United States was on his way to the church, would be there in a matter of minutes, and would like for us to pray for him. I immediately thought about my longing to guard the integrity of the gospel in our church. As I said in the sermon today, Christ alone unites us.
It’s clear in our church that the only reason we’re together is because we have the same King we adore, worship, fear, and follow with supreme love and absolute loyalty, and His name is Jesus.
That’s why, as soon as I heard this request backstage, the passage from God’s Word that came to my mind was 1 Timothy 2:1-6:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
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Platt said it was that scripture that encouraged him to pray for Trump and to do so “pleasing in the sight of God.”
“So in that moment, I decided to take this unique opportunity for us as a church to pray over him together. My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies, or his party, but to obey God’s command to pray for our president and other leaders to govern in the way this passage portrays,” Platt wrote.
Platt, an accomplished author and whose name in the Christian community spreads much further than his local church, concluded:
I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision. This weighs heavy on my heart. I love every member of this church, and I only want to lead us with God’s Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God. So while I am thankful that we had an opportunity to obey 1 Timothy 2 in a unique way today, I don’t want to purposely ever do anything that undermines the unity we have in Christ.
In the end, would you pray with me for gospel seed that was sown today to bear fruit in the president’s heart? Would you also pray with me that God will help us to guard the gospel in every way as we spread the gospel everywhere? And finally, I’m guessing that all of us will face other decisions this week where we don’t have time to deliberate on what to do. I’m praying now for grace and wisdom for all of us to do exactly what we talked about in the Word today: aim for God’s glory, align with God’s purpose, and yield to God’s sovereignty.
I love you, church. Your Pastor, David.
As the Federalist reports, Politico misreported that Platt apologized to his congregation for Trump’s visit. He did not.
The Federal reports:
On Monday, Platt wrote to his church members with an explanation of Sunday’s prayer, but Politico reported that Platt “has apologized to his congregation after praying for the president during the unscheduled visit.”
Platt did address members who may have been “hurt” by his prayer, but did not apologize. He simply explained how making petitions to God about those in authority is a command from God, and one that guided his response to the president’s surprise visit. “My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies, or his party, but to obey God’s command to pray for our president and other leaders to govern in the way this passage portrays,” he said.
Nevertheless, that not-so-minor detail missing from Platt’s statement didn’t stop Politico from running with it as the headline and framing of their story. Pitting evangelicals against the president they elected was too good of an angle to pass up. Instead, their lazy reporting portrays a pastor apologizing for practicing God’s word.