Berean Fundamentals
9/12/17 at 08:58 AM 0 Comments

When a Preacher’s Words and Actions Confuse the Message

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An interesting moment came about during a panel discussion at the Religion News Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee, on September 9th, 2017.

Televangelist and pastor at New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, Paula White, tried to clarify what she meant by some controversial comments on the Jim Bakker show recently. On the show she said it was God who raised up Trump, and suggested that any resistance to the President is tantamount to fighting against God’s plan, and is therefore “fighting against the hand of God."

Her clarification came in response to Jack Jenkins of Think Progress who wanted to know if she “believed all leaders, including former President Barack Obama, were anointed by God,” because of her comments on Bakker’s show.

Her clarification proverbially raised more questions than it answered. She said, “I'm a preacher and I got a little fired up and I said some things invariably that I wish I wouldn't have said" and "I don't believe that just for President Trump. I would believe that for President Obama, I would believe that had Hillary been in."

Here is the problem. If she really believed Obama was anointed by God, and that fighting against him is fighting against God, why didn’t her words and actions demonstrate that during the years of the Obama presidency? For that matter, if evangelicals believe as she does, they also must answer the question.

By and large, the evangelical establishment hissed at the Obama presidency. There were no shortages of condemnation and resistance to almost everything the Obama administration did. The question, then, is, weren’t they fighting against God’s plan and against the hand of God if they believe as Paula White does? They cannot have it both ways.

Should we now consider them to have been enemies of God over the past eight years because they fought relentlessly against Obama? And how should we think about their moralizing during that time? What does this do to their message now?

It is true as she said. Preachers do get fired up and say things they should not. Think Pastor Burns’ embarrassing comments about Hillary Clinton. His were the very words, actions and sentiments condemned by scripture (Ephesians 4:25-32). His apology, as is Paula White’s mea culpa, is a recognition of saying the wrong thing. Yet they both act as if they believe what they said. Which brings into question their own understanding of scripture. That is the reason why preachers must be careful about their public comments, especially in an emotionally charged atmosphere. They get “fired up,” and before they know it, they start operating in their own wisdom, and speak their own words – words that are often mistaken for the Gospel truth.

The zeal with which evangelicals both oppose Obama and embrace Trump is confusing if they truly believe both are God’s anointed. Trump, who on present evidence is the moral antithesis of Godliness – especially compared to his predecessor – may well have been raised up by God for such a time as this. But resisting him is not necessarily fighting against the hand of God. Think of the Pharaoh whom God raised up during Israel’s captivity in Egypt. Even God fought against him.

There are so many ways to interpret today’s events in light of scripture that it is imprudent for preachers to make public pronouncements about who, why and how God may raise up a leader. Do not forget the many who interpreted scripture to proclaim the time of the end of the age, and were so wrong.

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