Social media pastors cast stones on Obama’s faith

As millions watched President Obama take a public oath of office, popular mega church pastors sought to cast some social media stones on our president’s faith.

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, set off a social media firestorm with this tweet:

That message was retweeted over 3,000 times and favored over 1,000 times on Twitter.

Now, I think it is just great that Driscoll prayer for our president. Thank you, Mark. However, what is extremely troubling and ugly is that Driscoll has no understanding of Obama’s faith. Our president has publicly and privately shared his faith. Not only was he a long time member of a church in Chicago but has shared about his personal relationship with Jesus Christ over the course of his adult life.

In the beginning of 2012, Obama gave the keynote speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. Obama said,

“For me, as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required… I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.

The facts are overwhelming despite Mark Driscoll’s ignorance. The president is on record proclaiming his faith and belief in Jesus Christ. Obama has spoken at length about praying and reading a personal Christian devotional everyday. In addition, our president regularly praying and meets with Christian pastors for spiritual advice.

In 2011, Obama responded to the questioning of his faith at the National Prayer Breakfast:

My Christian faith, then, has been a sustaining force for me over these last few years, all the more so when Michelle and I hear our faith questioned from time to time. We are reminded that ultimately what matters is not what other people say about us, but whether we’re being true to our conscience and true to our God. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you, as well… As I travel across the country, folks often ask me, what is it that I pray for? And like most of you, my prayers sometimes are general: Lord, give me the strength to meet the challenges of my office.

Still, other mega church pastors have commended Obama’s faith on inauguration day. John Piper, a popular mega church pastor and author, tweeted:

I don’t agree with 100% of President Obama’s stances on political issues but that doesn’t mean I need to publicly bash his belief in Christ. This type of Christian stoning is ugly. It in no way furthers the Kingdom of God. It is easy to lob stones across social media and never face the person who you defame. On social media it is just too easy to be snarky, rude, or just plain uncouth. Anyone who is in Christ needs to resist the temptation to hurl a stone at another on social media.

Driscoll and Piper have very successful ministries that have brought thousands to Christ. I commend them for that. They reach the unchurched.

However, is it possible to live a life of ministry without bringing down others who’s Christian beliefs don’t match up with ours? Yes! I may not be particularly pleased with an organization’s or church’s stance on an issue or two but I can still support the fruit of their work.

We Christians must strive to end the questioning of another’s faith in Christ. God is the ultimate arbitrator of who is and is not a follower of Christ. Let’s put down the stones. As Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Alan Rudnick

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About the Author
Alan Rudnick has been featured on television, radio, print, and social media and serves as the Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ballston Spa, NY. He has quickly established himself as a leader, blogger, and commentator in the areas of faith, Christianity, ministry, and social media. He is the author of, “The Work of the Associate Pastor”, Judson Press. Alan’s writing has been featured with the Albany Times Union, The Christian Century, Associated Baptist Press, and The Fund of Theological Education. http://alanrudnick.org

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  • MichaelPoole777

    Alan. You are much too kind. While I can appreciate that, it’s not going to matter… in my opinion. These guys are playing to a religious (and political) audience which craves certitude. They offer certainty about who’s in and who’s out. People pay for that “comfort.” In return they get book deals, speaking fees, notoriety, etc.

  • bearbaker

    If all we Christians spent more time and effort reaching others and stayed away from critical politics, the Kingdom of God would be strengthed and growing.

  • CherylRThomas

    Excellent essay Alan.  Thank you for writing it.  I first learned of Obama from his active engagement in  A Call to Renewal conference with a keynote that made it very clear that he was a believer in Jesus Christ.  In his book “Dreams from my Father”  Obama describes his conversion experience in detail.  Driscoll and Piper seem to have forgotten that there is a judge of the living and the dead and they are not Jesus Christ.

  • Steve Turner

    And yet, isn’t that what the author of this article is doing? He’s guilty of the same thing.

  • Jennifer Harris Dault

    Steve, Alan doesn’t question the faith of Mark or John — in fact, he commends them for it. So no, not the same thing.