Ministers who gathered for a press conference outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center on Wednesday made it clear to the Rev. William Barber that when he speaks out against praying for the president, he is in direct contradiction to the Word of God.
The Press Conference was organized by the Christian Action League.
“The Scriptures are exceedingly clear that we are to pray specifically for our leaders. The apostle Paul spoke of this in his epistle to Timothy, noting that we should pray for them without qualification,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. “I remind you that when Paul wrote this the kings that were ruling at that time were mostly tyrants.”
Dr. Creech and four other ministers were among a group reacting to statements made by Barber last weekend on MSNBC’s “AM Joy.” Barber is president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP.
“[I]t is a form of theological malpractice that borders on heresy,” Barber said in reference to ministers who met with President Trump on July 10. “When you can p-r-a-y for a president and others while they are p-r-e-y, preying on the most vulnerable, you’re violating the sacred principles of religion.”
At Wednesday’s press conference, Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, said he and other faith leaders invited to Washington for a workday were briefed on issues and were able to give feedback and express concerns. He said the event involved no taxpayer funds and that, after a short visit with Vice President Mike Pence, the group had about 10 minutes with the president, during which time they prayed for him.
“When I read Rev. Barber’s comments, I wondered just what part of ‘praying for all those in authority’ does Mr. Barber miss. That is in the Bible, and it is a command,” Dr. Land said. “We were being obedient to the command.”
He challenged Barber to follow the advice of Martin Luther King Jr., who said “Whom you would change, you must first love.”
Dr. Land said he never voted for President Obama, but that he prayed for him every day he was in office.
Clarence Henderson, a well-known civil rights activist who serves as president of the Frederick Douglas Foundation, issued a question to Barber.
“What better thing could these men have done than lay hands on President Trump… that they would impart unto him the Holy Spirit to guide the president to lead our nation?” he demanded.
Henderson reminded those at the press conference that the very first president relied heavily on prayer during the nation’s founding.
“We must do as George Washington did. When he held his first meeting with Congress, the first thing they did was pray,” Henderson said.
Others speaking out against Barber’s ludicrous comments included former Congressman Robin Hayes, chairman of the N.C. Republican Party, and the Dr. Mark Harris, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte.
Prior to Wednesday’s event, Hayes had issued a statement accusing Barber of “using his role as a supposed faith-based leader to falsely drive citizens away from praying for the good of our nation and our nation’s president.”
“The idea that it is a sin to pray for any individual, much less the commander-in-chief of our country, goes against any religious teaching that I have ever heard of,” read Hayes’ statement. “Rev. Dr. Barber is spreading a repulsive lie, and he should apologize immediately.”
Dr. Creech said Barber’s push for “social justice” is influenced “more by socialistic and Marxist principles, progressive politicians and pastors, than by what the Scriptures actually teach about charity, compassion, and helping the poor and the vulnerable.”
He warned that anyone supporting a government bent on confiscating wealth and using its coercive powers to give it to people believed to be in need is in danger of breaking the eighth commandment, “thou shall not steal.”
“Perhaps Dr. Barber would do well to remove the plank from his own eye that he might see clearly how to remove the speck from the eyes of those who recently prayed with our President, or Christians who stand to the right of him,” Creech concluded. “We’re not the ones guilty of theological malpractice, nor are we remotely near what it means to be heretical.”
Ministers who Spoke at the Press Conference
- Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Raleigh-based Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.
- Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte. Dr. Land was on one the clergy recently praying with President Trump in the White House.
- Clarence Henderson, renowned civil rights activist – one of the brave souls who in 1960 participated in that historical sit-in at the Woolworth Diner in Greensboro, and today serves as president of the Frederick Douglas Foundation for North Carolina.
- Rev. Leon Threatt, pastor of Christian Faith Assembly and a former Republican candidate for Congress
- Dr. Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte and a former Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate
- Robin Hayes, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party
SOURCE: Christian Action League