I don’t usually comment on current events, or the antics of the more notable individuals in this society, however, what has come to light of late begs for comment. This is especially true when no one bothers to even find out what the Scripture actually states concerning the statement or event that created such a stir.
In this Presidential campaign there has been a return to some unpleasant ugliness that one would have hoped didn’t exist in America. However, if you know and understand the nature of man, then you know what an impossibility that is. However, aside from the mainstream media’s censorship of Ron Paul on the Republican side, the Democrats have had their circus going to full effect with the “conflict” between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And now, there is this latest event precipitated by Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
Now, Pastor Wright was the pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and is the man Barack Obama looks to for guidance in spiritual things. This would not be altogether bad, except for two glaring things:
1. The apparent heart and attitude of Pastor Wright.
2. The unscriptural approach to the doctrines of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What brought this to light are some of the statements made by Pastor Wright during his messages delivered from the pulpit. Now, to be certain, the pulpit is not the place for personal opinion. It is the place where one is to expound upon the subjects the Lord has for His people to instruct, to reprove, and to exhort them to serve Him better; and to clarify His doctrines in accordance with His word, which is the Scripture. For one to go beyond that and put words in the mouth of God, or to demand God’s wrath upon a nation is egregiously wrong and tantamount to blasphemy.
The following was reported as direct quotes made by Pastor Wright from the pulpit. I will leave blank the offending portions of the statements made.
“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, G__ ___ America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “G__ ____ America for treating our citizens as less than human. G__ ____ America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”1
You know, I don’t find this attitude anywhere, in any of the prophets of the Old Testament, and I certainly do not find this attitude in the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Remarkably, though the apostle Paul was arrested, beaten, imprisoned unlawfully, I do not find this attitude in him either. Do we find condemnation of the nations of ancient time in the Old Testament? We certainly do. But not with this kind of heart and attitude.
Moreover, no one, but no one, tells the LORD God who He is going to condemn, and who He is going to bless. All we can ever do is ask. We are told expressly to ask for the LORD to bless, but conversely, we are not told to ask for condemnation of someone, or some nation:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)
What the Lord Jesus Christ instructed on the mount is a far cry from the attitude and heart expressed by Pastor Wright. It does make one wonder who Pastor Wright is following doesn’t it? After all, his attitude is more akin to the attitude expressed by James and John, which was rebuked by the Lord Jesus Christ:
And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. (Luke 9:51-56)
Of course, that Pastor Wright should have such an attitude is not surprising as he has turned away from the Gospel of Christ as the focus of his ministry, and replaced it with something else – social justice. In a statement from John Thomas, the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, the promotion of “social justice” is prominent:
“But on the gritty streets of Chicago’s south side where Trinity has planted itself, race continues to play favorites in failing urban school systems, unresponsive health care systems, crumbling infrastructure, and meager economic development. Are we to pretend all is well because much is, in fact, better than it used to be? Is it racist to name the racial divides that continue to afflict our nation, and to do so loudly?”2
You know, when you abandon the gospel in favor of social justice, don’t expect the LORD to bless, and don’t expect the hearts of individuals to change. When you go further and demand that God condemn a nation, you are of another spirit, which is not of God. It is sad that the President of UCC attempted to paint the prophet Jeremiah with this heart and attitude, and then identify with him in an attempt to justify the words of Pastor Wright. What is missing here is the distinction between acknowledging the judgement levied by the LORD God, and the demanding of God’s judgement upon a nation. Plainly, Pastor Wright would be happy if God judged America and destroyed her. What he seems to have missed is the fact that the LORD God is unhappy with him as well, and Pastor Wright’s anger at America for social injustice may bring about the opposite effect.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him. (Proverbs 24:17-18)
It makes one wonder who is the head of the UCC and Trinity Church of Christ – the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Devil. After all, they are interested in social justice, and not the gospel of Christ.