Wiley Drake, Imprecatory Prayers and President Obama

Wiley Drake made headlines over the last year, not just in national news when he announced that he was praying for the death of the president of the United States.  He claimed biblical authority for his prayers, based on David’s imprecatory psalms.

“If he (Obama) does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death, that’s correct.”

“Imprecatory prayer is agreeing with God, and if people don’t like that, they need to talk to God. God said it, I didn’t. I was just agreeing with God.”

So, what about his claim that he is just agreeing with God?  Does the Word give justification to those who would pray for the destruction and death of the president.  I have a slightly different view of Obama than some do.  I think he is a decent, family man who has political ideas with which I disagree strongly.  I think his politics are destructive to America.  Others, like Wiley (and quite a few friends of mine) believe that Obama is evil.

Drake and others have appealed to the Imprecatory Psalms for scriptural support for their views.  Are they right?  We conservative Christians need to be careful here.  We believe the Bible in all things, even when it does not say what we would like it to say.  Right now there seems to be an inalterable push for the normalization of homosexual behavior and those who call that sin will be vilified.  But we must call it sin anyway.  If Wiley Drake is right, if his use of such scriptures is justified, then we must follow the scriptures even if it takes us to places we might not want to go.

My thesis in this post is that Wiley Drake is using scripture wrongly, that the Imprecatory Psalms, while inspired, do not support his use of them and that we cannot, in this day, use these psalms to justify public prayers for the death of the president or any other political foe.

Imprecatory Psalms

The Imprecatory Psalms are a sub-class of the most common type of Psalm, the Songs of Lament.  Bernard Anderson in his excellent commentary, “Out of the Depths,” identifies three types of laments.  There are Community laments, which call out to God on behalf of his people Israel.  There are Penitential Laments, such as Psalm 51, which mourn sin and call for repentance.  But the most common form of the laments is the personal lament.  David had many enemies who tried to destroy him and called out to God for protection, for deliverance and for justice.  The laments (like most of the Psalms) are prayers, calling out to God from a place of pain to ask him to act.

The Imprecatory Psalms are personal laments on steroids.  In times of deepest pain, David called out to God for his justice, asking God to avenge him and destroy his enemies.  Psalms 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137 and 139 are considered at one level or another to be imprecatory.

Here are some choice tidbits from the Imprecatory Psalms.

  • Psalm 55:15 – Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave.
  • Psalm 58:6 – O God, break the teeth in their mouths.
  • Psalm 69:28 – May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.
  • Psalm 109:9 – May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
  • Psalm 137:9 – How blessed will be the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

Psalm 109 is the king of the imprecatory hill.  That a great man such as David would pray these words makes me uncomfortable.  That they are included in the inerrant scriptures is even stranger. But do they support Wiley Drake’s prayers? Look at the words.

Psalm 109: 9 May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. 10 May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. 11 May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. 12 May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children. 13 May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation. 14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out. 15 May their sins always remain before the LORD, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

The problem is that these words seem to be in conflict with the ethics of the NT, the words of Jesus and the teachings of the Apostles.

Jesus said, in Matthew 5:11-12,  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Instead of calling for our enemies’ children to become wandering beggars, Jesus gave us a different ethic.  In Matthew 5:44, he says,  “But I say to you, ?Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Paul picked up and expanded upon this ethic in Romans 12:20-21.

“To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

In addition, there are specific NT commands about how we are to treat our leaders.  As we read Romans 13, we need to remember that the government that is referenced in that passage was hardly a bastion of righteousness.  The letter to the Roman church (amazing insight alert) was written to the church at Rome, the seat of a wicked, corrupt and ungodly government.

Don’t miss my point.  No matter how much one dislikes Barack Obama, it is hard to argue that he is more wicked than the rulers of Rome.  They were corrupt and vile.  And yet, Paul told the Romans this:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (Romans 13:1-2)

We are not authorized to pray for their demise, but are called to be subject to them.  Fortunately, in America, being subject to authorities does not require us to renounce dissent.  But it certainly does not authorize public pronouncements of imprecation.

I would ask Wiley and his ilk to respond to two statements in these verses.  Paul says that those authorities that exist “have been instituted by God.”  Barack Obama was elected not only by the votes of Americans but by the decree of God.  Sometimes, God raises up a leader to bless a people, sometimes to judge them – I will leave my opinion on that to your imagination.  We are called to subject ourselves to the president, to recognize that he serves at the sovereign will of God.  One more thing – verse 2 says that those who resist the authorities resist “what God has appointed” and will incur judgment.

It is hard for me to see how public, imprecatory prayers meet with this ethic.  Titus 3:1 reminds us to “be submissive to rulers and authorities.”  1 Peter 2:13-15 could hardly be more clear.

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

The early church was often accused of rebellion, since they refused to acknowledge any lord but Jesus.  So, Peter wanted them to be sure to be subject to the rulers as much as possible, except where that required disloyalty to Christ.  This would silence the ignorance of the foolish.

Wiley Drake does just the opposite.  By ignoring the NT ethic of submission to governmental authorities, he gives skeptics and the opponents of the gospel the opportunity to ridicule and belittle the church.

Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:1-3, told us that we should pray for our rulers, those in authority over us.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior…

So, concerning ungodly, evil rulers, the clear testimony of the NT is that we are to be subject to them, pray for them, and seek their blessing.  There is absolutely no justification in the NT for imprecatory prayers.

So, we have two facts that are in evidence here.

1)  In the Psalms, David prayed imprecatory prayers against those who persecuted and attempted to destroy him.

2)  There is no evidence in the NT of any kind of imprecation against rulers.  In fact, the opposite is true.  While they were evil men, the rulers of the day were to be prayed for, submitted to and shown respect.

Is this a contradiction?  Does the NT negate the Old?  What is going on here?  I would make the following observations about imprecatory prayers.

Imprecatory Perspectives

1)  The imprecatory prayers of David arose out of a deep sense of hurt and bitterness.  I love the prayers of the OT.  They were not someone affecting a “godly voice” and praying impressive rhetoric.  They are often raw and unfiltered as a man pours out his heart before God.  Job.  Jeremiah.  Habakkuk.  And, of course, David.  They went to God and said, “I don’t get it.”  “It is unfair.”  “You have tricked me.”  And God never zapped any of them.  He allowed them to pour out their hurt and anger to him, and he brought them perspective and healing.

2)  David’s raw prayers were, in essence, an appeal to El-Naqam, the God of Justice and Vengeance – clearly an attribute of God.  He was practicing the principle, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”  David did not seek vengeance against his enemies, he called out to God for it.

The imprecatory prayers of Psalms demonstrate a God-honoring disdain for evil and wickedness.  In Proverbs 8:13 Solomon makes it clear that the fear of the Lord requires us to hate evil.

3)  Here is the main point.  The imprecatory prayers of David are pretty much uniformly personal laments.  David was injured and assaulted by these evil people and he called out to God to protect him and to punish his enemies.  They are personal prayers not political tactics.  They are prayers, not public or political pronouncements.  Even if a imprecatory prayer is justified (and here, I don’t think it is), it is a private act, not a public statement.

4) So, this is not a case of the NT negating the OT.  Certainly, as Jesus told us, the Christian ethic, both builds on and expands on the OT ethic.  “You have heard it said…but I say unto you.” Yes, Jesus fulfilled and built upon the OT law.

But this is not a case of the NT negating the Old.  These are two different situations entirely.  In the Psalms, David is pouring out his heart to God, asking God to act to protect him and to take vengeance against those who would destroy him.  He is not talking about how we treat rulers or authorities, but how we deal with our enemies.

If someone in my church was sowing discord and causing trouble, I would be perfectly justified in pouring out my pain to God.  “Lord, protect me from this evil man.”  But Jesus did expand on this response in the verses I quoted above.  I would be responsible to pray for this man and seek to love and bless him. I could call out to God, but I would also be responsible to love my enemy.

This has nothing to do with politics.  The scripture is clear on how I should treat Barack Obama. Fortunately, as Americans, we have the right to oppose our leaders.  But while he is president, I must be in submission to him, I must pray for him (and not for his death – that seems pretty clear) and I must demonstrate respect for his office.

Fortunately, in 2012, I will have the opportunity to support someone who hopefully will render Barack a one-term president.  That is a blessing.  But in the meantime, I believe it is a sin against God for me to publicly pray for his death.

So, Wiley Drake and his supporters are violating scripture, not upholding it, when they pray for the death of the president.

NOTE:  This is a volatile subject.  I may regret that I published this. But one commenter on the immigration post began to advocate imprecatory prayers against Obama and even to say that those who did not pray such were sinful, compromising against God and the Word.  I recently preached Psalms on Sunday Night and reworked my sermon notes when I dealt with the Imprecatory Psalms.

I will probably moderate the comments on this more carefully than usual.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Is there any evidence that God answered any of those prayers?

    David seems to have been a man after God’s own heart because of the compassion he showed toward the remainder of King Saul’s family, Mephibosheth. It seems unlikely that a man after God’s own heart would be praying for the death of our own nationally-elected head, doesn’t it?

    Anyway, David isn’t the guy I’m told to imitate, by scripture. Jesus is, and so is Paul (if you believe his own words).

    Such nonsense may be a major contributor to why lost America sees Christians as being silly. And maybe evil.

    • says

      Well, many of David’s enemies were dealt with by God, so in that sense, the prayers may have been answered.

      My key point is that contrary to the assertions of the Imprecatory-lovers of today, these prayers are personal calls to God for justice and protection against those who persecute them and are not justification for prayers against the president.

  2. says

    Dave, I’ve often thought of Paul’s writing in 2 Timothy 4:14 when this topic comes up.

    Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.(ESV)

    It seems Paul left it to the Lord.

    • Dave Miller says

      Yeah, I watched that. His exegesis is weak. He is a conclusion looking for justification and he completely mishandles scripture.

  3. Dave Miller says

    And Jesus did not pray imprecatory prayers. He pronounced God’s judgment.

    If you can demonstrate that you are divine, or at least have a clear prophetic gift, you can claim the right to do as Jesus did.

    In the meantime, you should do as Jesus commanded and love your enemies.

  4. Robert I Masters says

    Maybe I am wrong but in my reading on this topic…Baptist almost universally condemn this action(imprecations). But Presbyterians almost universally agree that it is Biblical.
    See the puritan board on this topic.

  5. Frank L. says

    Good analysis but perhaps does not totally resolve all the issues.

    For one, the Psalms (laments) were meant to be instructive, not just private and personal. Otherwise, they would not have been written down.

    Also, you have a higher view of Obama than he “may” deserve. For example, from the eyes of a child wiggling in the womb to escape a knife, Obama’s (et. al.) policies do appear evil.

    A third issue seems to be: is subjection to any and all rulers in any and all circumstances absolute? This was Bonhoeffer’s inner struggle with Hitler.

    Bonhoeffer not only prayed for Hitler’s removal, he acted upon it.

    I’m not supporting Wiley’s often extreme behavior, but I do want to keep my Biblical options open, even if those options seem extreme.

    I appreciate your analysis and it should inform our behavior. But your hermeneutical approach to these Psalms is not without problems for me.

  6. Robert I Masters says

    David,
    Imprecations Are prayers for Gods Judgments on Gods enemies.

    Did you listen to the whole video David because he answered the precise objection you asked……ie are they for us to use today?

  7. Mary Ann says

    Interesting post! Since most of you who comment here seem to be pastors, I’d like to know how many of you regularly heed 1 Tim. 2:1-3 when your church gathers for worship. I’m 60 years old. If I just count only my adult years, that’s about 2,000 Sunday mornings. I can count on one hand the number of times I recall public prayers in a church setting for government leaders. And those times were mainly immediately after 9/11. Seems like we ought to be praying for our leaders every Sunday. Perhaps if we did, they would be different men and women and the motivation for imprecatory prayers would dry up.

  8. Robert I Masters says

    I like James Adams conclusion

    “A Biblical view of the imprecatory Psalms does not recognize them as problematic. To invoke divine retribution on the enemies of God and His people is to pray in accordance with the revealed will of God. After all, these Psalms are a part of the infallible and inerrant “collection of songs and prayers covering a variety of themes.” And they, being as fully inspired as the rest of Scripture, are “profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

    This being so, Vos correctly concluded:

    Instead of being influenced by the sickly sentimentalism of the present day, Christian people should realize that the glory of God demands the destruction of evil…[therefore] instead of being ashamed of the imprecatory Psalms, and attempting to apologize for them and explain them away, Christian people should glory in them and not hesitate to use them in the public and private exercises of the worship of God.(15)”

    Soli Deo Gloria

  9. says

    I am preaching thru each Psalm on Wednesday nights. It is more of a devotional thought from each. But on Sunday mornings i am preaching thru 1 and 2 Samuel. This week we are in 1 Samuel 25 where Abigail stops David from taking out his anger on Nabal. He says: ““Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. ” (v. 32-33)

    David does indeed pray down God’s wrath on his enemies. But there are times when I believe David is simply letting off steam as he speaks with his heavenly Father. I am not sure that any of these imprecatory Psalms are prescriptive, but are descriptive of how David felt as he he poured out his heart to God.

  10. says

    Dave, I’ve understood the imprecatory Psalms to be peculiar to Israel as a theocracy. Since there are no theocracies on earth today, imprecatory Psalms should not be prayed. David has specific promises that the church today doesn’t; of course, it depends on what we believe about Israel’s relation to the church. Although David’s imprecatory prayers were personal, he was the king of Israel, which makes his prayers both personal and national. As the representative of Israel, wickedness toward David was peculiarly wickedness toward God. Also, I believe the church can pray for justice while still loving her enemies.

    How has Obama attacked the church? He’ll answer for not being a good minister (Rom. 13:1-7); however, we cannot pray for his death since he indeed has authority over us. What kind of ungodly leader was in power whenever Paul wrote Rom. 13:1-7?

    The Obama/Hitler analogy doesn’t work because Obama isn’t commanding people to abort their babies.

    Now, here’s another question: “What does loving my unborn neighbors look like fleshed out?” If I knew of a place where teenagers were being murdered, and the authorities didn’t care, am I responsible to pick up the sword out of love for my neighbor? So, should I pick up the sword against those that murder the unborn?

    • Dave Miller says

      The imprecatory prayers I read were very personal. David was.responding to injury, not political matters.

  11. says

    I appreciated this post and agree with most of it. I think we do need to keep in mind that up until fairly recently the Book of Psalms formed the backbone of the songs of the church. I don’t think we can pass them off as only pertaining to the OT. But I don’t think that praying imprecations against Obama in this case are appropriate. If Obama was trying to kill you personally I think that they would be entirely appropriate.

    I think the fact that so many of the Psalms are laments should tell us something. The tendency in many churches is to focus exclusively on hymns and songs of praise and worship. It’s almost as if they meet together to deny reality. They will talk about their problems and anger with their friends but they wouldn’t think of complaining to God. There is a false piety associated with this that pretends that we do not complain to God because “God is good all the time.” But in reality we don’t complain to God because we don’t think God cares. In reality God is the only one who can do anything about our complaints and He is the one we should be complaining to. When the Psalmist complains He assumes God’s goodness and complains to God that God has not acted. He leaves judgment in the hands of God. He knows that God is big enough to take his complaining. We almost act as if God is to weak to be able to handle our complaints. We act as if God needs our praises to keep Him going.

    The way that God has chosen to reveal Himself is in His crucifixion where he suffered all kinds of mockery for us. And the Psalms are all about Jesus. He prays them perfectly. We enter into His prayers when we pray them.

  12. Robert I Masters says

    The Biblical View

    A proper view of the imprecatory Psalms recognizes the following Biblical principles:
    1) First, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q. 1) says: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” Commenting on the imprecatory sections of Psalm 69, John Calvin wrote: “It was a holy zeal for the divine glory which impelled him [the Psalmist] to summon the wicked to God’s judgment seat.”(11) This being the case, the imprecatory Psalmists are to be seen as men who expressed a burning desire that God be glorified. They earnestly sought the vindication of God’s name (Psalm 9:19-20; 83:16-18). As sin is an affront to the holiness of God, states David, it must be judged accordingly (Psalm 139:19-20).

    2) The authors of the Book of Psalms were fully aware of the fact that the meting out of vengeance is a divine prerogative. In Deuteronomy 32:35, we read: “Vengeance is Mine [God’s], and recompense.” The imprecations are to be understood as prayers to God, not the intended actions of the Psalmists themselves. This being so, the Psalmist’s cause is identified with the cause of God (Psalm 139:19-22).(12) The Psalmist, then, is duty bound to pray for the overthrow of God’s enemies. Johannes Vos said it this way:

    The total destruction of evil, including the judicial destruction of evil men, is the prerogative of the sovereign God, and it is right not only to pray for the accomplishment of this destruction, but even to assist in effecting it when commanded to do so by God Himself…. God is both sovereign and righteous; He possesses the unquestionable right to destroy all evil in His universe; if it is right for God to plan and effect this destruction, then it is right also for the saints to pray for the same.(13)

    3) Contrary to the criticism of the skeptics, the attitude of the Psalmists is not one of vindictiveness. David disclaims any such notion in Psalm 109:5, where we read: “Thus they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.” On two occasions, when opportunity availed, David declined to take Saul’s life (2 Samuel 24, 26). Moreover, he even prayed for his enemies when they were in need (Psalm 35:12-14). And in Psalm 83:16-18, we read that the Psalmist sought the ultimate salvation of the wicked: “Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Your name, O LORD…that men may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, are the Most High over all the Earth.” Todd Ruddell commented:
    The words of the Psalter ought to be understood…not as an expression of an angry author or fulminations of a firebrand, but as the sentiments of God Himself, the thoughts of the Psalmist being raised by that powerful Spirit of prophecy, above mere human vendetta and cursing. The expressions of the Psalmist against sinners are God’s expressions. They are the thoughts of His heart.(14)

    4) To pray the imprecatory prayers is to pray for the overthrow of Satan and his minions. If God’s kingdom is to advance, in accordance with the Lord’s Prayer (which believers are enjoined to pray): “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10), then the kingdom of the evil one must be destroyed. God’s glory necessitates the destruction of the wicked. Imprecatory prayers aim at just this. The Lord’s Prayer is itself a prayer for the overthrow of evil.

    5) Along this same line of thought, the inspired writers recognized that God is the only true defense for the elect, as they are being assaulted by the reprobate. Hence, to pray against the Psalmist’s enemies is to pray for the help of God’s people. In Psalm 7:9-10, for instance, we read: Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just….My defense is of God, who saves the upright in heart.”

    from James Adams
    “War Psalms of the Prince Of Peace”

  13. Jim G. says

    Wow…People who claim the name of Christ who pray for the death of the President???? Just…wow.

    I assume that those who conjure up imprecatory prayers against the President assume he is also unsaved. So they are at ease (in their minds) condemning him to hell, too? Nothing like being the eternal judge and jury, huh?

    I think it is fine to disagree with the policies of our elected officials and to work against them being elected again. But this man is our President, like him or not. This makes us all look pretty ridiculous.

    Jim G.

  14. Debbie Kaufman says

    This is just one of the reasons the way our Convention is going now and the resolutions we have passed are the right way to go. We are on the right path. Now one can see why it was necessary.

    I’m with Todd B who said that if we affirm these kinds of prayers, I’m outta here.

  15. Lydia says

    “Dave, I’ve understood the imprecatory Psalms to be peculiar to Israel as a theocracy. Since there are no theocracies on earth today, imprecatory Psalms should not be prayed. David has specific promises that the church today doesn’t; of course, it depends on what we believe about Israel’s relation to the church. Although David’s imprecatory prayers were personal, he was the king of Israel, which makes his prayers both personal and national. As the representative of Israel, wickedness toward David was peculiarly wickedness toward God. Also, I believe the church can pray for justice while still loving her enemies.”

    Bingo!

    This is why mapping some actions in the OC to the NC is very dangerous

    • Robert I Masters says

      Lydia,
      There are two theocracies in the world today!
      Are you going to support the theocracy that has Satan as its god or are you going to support the Theocracy of the One True living God.
      Seek ye First the kingdom of God…….

      • Lydia says

        Robert,

        Let me get this straight. If I do not believe in imprecatory prayers against “Rome” for the New Covenant, then I am automatically supporting Satan’s worldly kingdom?

        I think Jared nailed it since I quoted his comment. I do distinguish between the New and Old Covenants. In fact, God was angry His people wanted a king since He was their King.

        I also do not want to be like David. I can learn about God from David but we have Jesus as perfection in the flesh.

        • Robert I Masters says

          Let me get this straight. If I do not believe in imprecatory prayers against “Rome” for the New Covenant, then I am automatically supporting Satan’s worldly kingdom?

          No I was not implying that at all…Just saying that there are no “theocracy free” domains.

          Point being that there are indeed theocracies in our day. As you said Jesus was angry that they didnt want to worship HIM as King

  16. Robert I Masters says

    Imprecatory Prayer

    Are imprecatory prayers appropriate for the children of Abraham? If so, then they are appropriate for us, for Paul says in Galatians that we are all “sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,” and that if we “belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise.”

    Are imprecatory prayers appropriate for the anointed one? If so, they are appropriate for us, since we are all anointed in the Anointed one, christs in the Christ.

    Are they imprecatory prayers appropriate for Jesus? If so, then they are appropriate to us, for Paul says that, in and with our Head, we the Body are Christ: “even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” Paul says that we are the Bride of Christ, so joined to our husband that we are “one flesh” with Him even as husbands and wives are “one flesh” with one another.

    Paul knew something of the union of Christ and His church. When Jesus confronts him on the road to Damascus, he asks, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Paul knew from the moment of his conversion that an assault on the church is an assault on her Head.

    posted by Peter J. Leithart on Sunday, September 03, 2006 at 07:23 AM

  17. Bill Mac says

    Just because it is in scripture does not mean that it is true in the sense of being an instruction from God. There are many bad and wrong things in scripture that are true records of what has been said or done, but are not necessarily for application. See Ecclesiastes for additional details. The imprecatory prayers are truly recorded in scripture, but are not necessarily what God wanted (even if He inspired the recording of them) or honored. After all, if we are going to follow scripture and prayer i-prayers against the president, then we also don’t want anyone to take pity on his fatherless children, right? And we would want their babies brutally killed (dashed against rocks) right?

    Not everything David did was right. He was a murderer and adulterer. He showed inconceivably bad judgement regarding Saul and Absalom. Scripture truly records all those things. They aren’t prescriptive.

  18. Robert I Masters says

    That’s interesting; because of “Anabapist Absolutism” in their hermeneutics most Evangelicals cannot accept the fact God’s hates people because doesn’t the Bible say “God is Love.”

    From the Reformed Covenanter on the Confessional Puritan Board.

  19. Debbie Kaufman says

    Where would imprecatory prayers not be the same as murder? In my opinion they are about one and the same except the person praying doesn’t actually do the murder.

  20. Robert I Masters says

    Debbie,
    “Where would imprecatory prayers not be the same as murder?”
    In America and in the Word of God.
    In the first the power to kill is only given to the State and to God himself.
    I am not the State and God will do as he pleases…Imprecatory prayers are prayers to God for God to enact His justice.

    • Christiane says

      no, Robert, they are unChristian curses and no amount of quoting Scripture can change that fact

  21. Chief Katie says

    Robert,

    Personally, I’m going to do my best to make sure that BHO is a one term president. Having said that, the whole idea of praying for his death is so far away from Christian charity as one can get. Dave Miller did a great job on this article, and it’s crystal clear that New Covenant Christians are not to pray for anyone to die.

    I have no problem with anyone studying both the Old Testament and New Testament. I think all Christians should work diligently to know what their Bibles actually say.

    “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written , Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he thirsty, give him something to drink, but overcome evil with good”. Romans 2:17-21

    It doesn’t come any clearer. If you can show me ONE example in scripture of Jesus telling us to pray for the death of someone, I might reconsider.

    When I was a baby Christian I used the shot-gun approach to scripture… just as unbelievers do. They make up their minds about some issue and then find scripture to support it, even if the context has nothing to do with their preconceived ideas

    Is this the kind of person you want to be associated with?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIW27p4BI_g

    Steven Anderson has shown America why people don’t want to be associated with Christianity. BTW he also HATES Calvinism and believes if anyone doesn’t use the KJV of the Bible only, that they are doomed to hell. Of course he can’t seem to understand that most of the KJV translators were Calvinsts.

    Perhaps you might want to reread Galatians 5:22-26.

    I will pray for you, that God would show you truth of the gospel.

  22. Robert I Masters says

    Chief Katie,
    1) James Adams is not a baby Christian
    2) Douglas Wilson is not a baby Christian
    3) Dr D James Kennedy was not a Baby Christian and I heard speak on this issue very specifically at the center for Reclaiming America.
    In fact all Reformed Christians that I know believe this is a Biblical position.
    Read what Ligon Duncan teaches on this topic.

    Show me the Bible…properly exegeted!
    Read what Calvin said about it
    Read what Voss said about it
    Read Kuyper
    Read Berkhof

    I am not a Dispensationalist ….Daves view is the Dispy view.

    I am not a New Covenant Christian ….I am a Christian!

    (Link removed by editor)

    Show me the Scripture….my Presbyterian friends have been precise and concise.
    This is a conviction that I have had and practiced since Dr Kennedy preached since 1998.
    Twice only .

    I am convinced its Biblical….I am not a pastor so you will not likely hear about it but I faithfully pray in this day and age.

    Show me from the Bible all else is wothless!

  23. Robert I Masters says

    Scriptural Imprecatory prayer proclamtions against Abortion

    “This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, Who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord , Who has made all things.” Isaiah 44:24

    “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-18

    “All who hate Me, love death.” Proverbs 8:36

    “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed . . . and the land was desecrated by their blood. They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. Therefore the Lord was angry with His people and abhorred His inheritance. He handed them over . . . and their foes ruled over them. Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power.” Psalm 106:37-42

    “You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13

    “There are six things the Lord hates, seven things that are detestable to Him; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood . . .” Proverbs 6:16-17

    “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” Genesis 9:6

    “. . . This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deuteronomy 30:15-19

    “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute . . . defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9

    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you . . .” Jeremiah 1:5

    “. . . it pleased God, Who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me . . .”
    Galatians 1:15-16

    “Listen to me, O islands, and pay attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb; from the body of my mother He named me . . . the Lord, Who formed me from the womb to be His servant.” Isaiah 49:1-5

  24. Robert I Masters says

    The last post was from Frontline Fellowship in South Africa
    link removed by editor

  25. Debbie Kaufman says

    If any Christian has so much hate in their heart as to pray an imprecatory prayer, they are the ones who need prayer. It’s wrong. It could be sin. On that I cannot say for sure, but it should be sin.

    • says

      Sin? Maybe not. Adhering to false doctrine, or not being mature in the fruits of the spirit perhaps.

  26. Debbie Kaufman says

    The word imprecatory means to curse or to invoke evil on a person’s enemies. According to Christ in Matthew 5:44-48 we are to pray for our enemies. We are to bless them not curse them. We are to pray for their salvation. This is also brought out in Luke 6:27-38. Paul says we are to live at peace with all men and God. We are to pray for our hearts to be softened toward our enemies. (Romans).

    To pray for their death is just not natural for a Holy Spirit indwelt Christian.

  27. Debbie Kaufman says

    From this link it says:

    Of course, Christians sometimes get into a mood where they start praying for all sorts of wild things: the conversion of people like Hitler, the conversion of all the members of the U.S. Congress, the coming of Christ at 6 p.m. tonight, and so on. I do not rebuke the naive, immature faith that motivates such prayers.

    Robert: Then let me be naive and immature in my prayers, because I do pray for the salvation of people like this. I believe God can save anyone, which many reformers believe. Its’ why I believe the Reformed view to be so unique. As a reformed believer I believe that God can and does save anyone including a Hitler type or worse. He saved Paul. I’m sorry but this guy is way off base Biblically. Way off.

  28. says

    I don’t like President Obama–not one bit. I can’t stand christians who support him. But I’m not going to pray for his death. I pray that God will grant him faith and repentance that lead to salvation since he merely names the name of Christ and is not a Christian. If that makes me naive and weak, well, I’ve been called worse.

  29. Dave Miller says

    Robert, you seem to have the idea that debate is about lengthy quotes or links.

    It would be better if you dealt with scriptural exegesis in a serious way (I think that would be a great remedy to the false ideas you have formed).

    But please, in this discussion, no more links or lengthy quotes. This is a blog. Tell us what you think. Defend your ideas from scriptures.

    • Robert I Masters says

      I admit I have no original ideas

      a.I was not aware that first hand Scriptural exegesis was mandatory
      b. no one has done any exegesis so I believe it would be fair to demand that of everyone else
      c.If you read or watch what I have posted you will see that those men have exegeted plenty of Scripture.

      David you told me in your email that I was not to write concerning the President …no more …no more… you said!
      Almost all these replies are concerning my application but you have not shackled those firing back at me. That my friend is not right.

      It is also telling that so many Baptist want to condemn based on tradition rather than sound exegetical dialogue.

      • Dave Miller says

        Robert, I did exegesis in the article I wrote – which I can only assume that you didn’t read. You’ve not really interacted with what I wrote, so that would buttress my assumption.

  30. Christiane says

    A word of CAUTION to readers of this blog and to DAVID:

    the advocacy of Prof. John M. Frame by Robert I. Masters raises a huge ‘red light’, in that John Frame has been deeply influenced by Rousas John Rushdoony, whom some of you may know as a Dominionist.

    Here is an example of FRAME’S comments about Rushdoony:
    ” And so, second, as Rushdoony would say, I am also grateful to him for teaching us the law of God.”

    Other comments can be found on

    http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/1996Rushdoony.html

    There are heavy mixtures of politics and religion in the evangelical world, but ‘Dominionism’ and ‘Reconstructionism’ are extremist points of view;
    and that is my reason for the ‘heads up’.

  31. says

    Those who wish to consider making imprecatory prayers must look at the example of Harriet Tubman.

    “In 1849, Tubman became ill again, and her value as a slave was diminished as a result. Edward Brodess tried to sell her, but could not find a buyer. Angry at his action and the unjust hold he kept on her relatives, Tubman began to pray for her owner, asking God to make him change his ways. “I prayed all night long for my master,” she said later, “till the first of March; and all the time he was bringing people to look at me, and trying to sell me.” When it appeared as though a sale was being concluded, she switched tactics. “I changed my prayer,” she said. “First of March I began to pray, ‘Oh Lord, if you ain’t never going to change that man’s heart, kill him, Lord, and take him out of the way.” A week later, Brodess died, and Tubman expressed regret for her earlier sentiments.”

    Always make prudent prayers.

  32. Robert I Masters says

    1)God did the killing and he sovereignly acted

    2) merely owning slaves was moral evil

    • says

      1) I agree.

      2) Show me where the Bible calls owning slaves a moral evil. Chapter and verse. In doing so, please recall that Abraham owned not a few slaves, and this same Abraham is called the father of all who believe, the one whom righteousness was imputed to according to Romans 4:9. Also, in doing so, please recall that Paul sent a runaway slave back to his master in Philemon, and Peter told slaves to be subject to their masters in his epistle.

      We really do have to remove humanistic Enlightenment philosophy from our theology. The philosophy of man cannot exceed the righteousness of God’s revelation.

    • says

      Furthermore, let us assume that owning slaves IS a moral evil. What of it? If merely committing a moral evil makes one worthy of death, then all but Jesus Christ deserve that same fate. Again, modernist philosophy versus divine revelation. I choose the Bible every time on every issue.

  33. John Wylie says

    Robert,

    If indeed you are concerned with bible bible bible what is you take on Debbie’s post #52? How do you exegete those passages? I believe that post was one of the best I’ve read in this thread. Debbie compared it against the meaning of imprecatory.

  34. Robert I Masters says

    John Wylie,
    I have problem with Debbie’s understanding of those verses

    The President is not My enemy.

  35. Robert I Masters says

    John Wylie,
    John Frame is well known in Reformed circles…he did a nice job with those specific Issues as did others.

    See post # 44

  36. John Wylie says

    Robert I Masters,

    I found John Frame very articulate, but actually he did not address Debbie’s issues from # 52. The whole point of the text in Matthew 5:43-48 is that we are to treat our enemies in the same manner God treats His enemies. He sends rain and sunshine on them as well as the just. They are recipients of God’s general goodness to all mankind.

    We are to pray for kings and those who are in authority not because wishes their damnation but their salvation. 1 Tim 2:14 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

    • Robert I Masters says

      I disagree …..he clearly did . To do a Debbie on you please re-read this portion

      What about the “hatred” expressed in the imprecatory Psalms (e.g., 139:21ff.)? How is this compatible with Jesus’ command to love, not hate, our enemies? Again, as we have distinguished between personal and divine vengeance, I think we must distinguish between two kinds of hatred. Love and hate in Scripture are not so much emotions as patterns of behavior. To love is to seek another’s ultimate benefit; to hate is to seek his destruction. When we pray for divine vengeance, granting all the above qualifications on that prayer, we are seeking the destruction of an enemy of God. We are “hating” that person. But in our individual relationships with that person, in which vengeance is excluded, we are to love, to seek what is best for our enemy. So, Scripture similarly distinguishes between good and bad anger: the quickly aroused, difficult to extinguish, murderous anger of personal vengeance (Matt. 5:22), and the slowly aroused, easily extinguished, righteous anger of God’s servants defending His honor (Eph. 4:26), which is like the anger of God itself. With these qualifications, hatred and love are not contrary to one another in every respect. It is possible to have a godly hatred and a godly love toward the same person, paradoxical as that seems.

      I will agree with you he does not use the same passage but the same paradox

  37. Bill Mac says

    Why pray for God to kill someone when you can as easily pray for God to save them. And since God does not delight in the death of the wicked and there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, can’t we be sure that we are more in line with God’s will when we pray for God to save them.

    Paul said he would rather be lost himself if it would save some others, and here we are discussing asking God to kill (and thereby damn) people. As I said, I think we’ve entered the twilight zone.

  38. Jim G. says

    Dave,

    Here is another reason this whole idea of imprecatory prayer against a president is just plain silly. If a president were to die in office (granted it hasn’t happened in almost 50 years), his VP would carry out almost the same platform in his stead. Biden would not greatly deviate from the course Obama charted, nor would Cheyney from W. The leadership of a country such is ours is far bigger than one man.

    We all need to pray for our leaders – for God to grant them wisdom in their decisions and for him to save them if necessary. If you don’t like the policies of elected officials, work to vote them out of office.

    I find it very interesting that a certain multiple-poster on this thread (Robert) seems to be a committed “Geneva-style” Calvinist. Calvin was a true believer in meticulous providence and theistic determinism, which means that nothing happens outside of God’s will. Thus the ’08 election ended exactly as God wanted it to end. Thus, in that system, BHO is God’s man for the USA because nothing happens outside the meticulous providence of God. How ironic!

    Jim G.

    • Christiane says

      It is ironic.

      It is interesting that you mentioned ‘determinism’. I cannot comprehend Calvinism other than I can see that it is a kind of determinism.

      The wisdom of the rabbis was always that God is sovereign, yet permits choice. The ‘how’ of this, they do not presume to know. So Judaism has rejected ‘determinism’ in favor of ‘choice’ and often quotes ‘Choose life’ as an example of this rejection.

  39. Robert I Masters says

    Everyone,
    Despite the attempt by many to force ideas onto this topic.
    Imprecations are not political strategies
    Imprecations do not have to be for death
    Imprecations are practiced by many throughout the Bible including Paul…when is the last time Wade Burleson prayed that a false teacher might be Emasculated.

    oh the anabaptist are driving the SBC to apostasy.
    always the trajectory of Arminianism

    Link removed by editor

    • Bill Mac says

      One: What does Wade Burleson have to do with this topic?

      Two: Paul said he wished that the judaizers would go emasculate themselves. This was no doubt hyperbole and was not a prayer.

      • Bill Mac says

        On the other hand, it’s probably been awhile since WB prayed for infants to be dashed against rocks also.

        I think I’m going to pray that my enemies cut their fingernails too short. That’ll teach em’.

    • Jim G. says

      Robert,

      Mingling Anabaptism with Arminianism is anachronistic. The Anabaptists were a couple of generations earlier than the Arminians.

      I don’t appreciate one bit the sling of “apostasy.” Arminianism, Calvinism, and Anabaptism are all historical approaches to salvation within the bounds of historical orthodoxy. It is fine to disagree, state your case, persuade, and critique. But calling names in my opinion is out of order, especially when the accusation is false.

      Jim G.

  40. Frank L. says

    Just wondering: would it be wrong to practice imprecatory praying against this thread :)

    • Lydia says

      I prayed for rain this past weekend in St Pete because there was a gay pride parade going on while I was there. Was that imprecatory? :o)

  41. Frank L. says

    PS: I have the solution to everybody’s problem. It should not require anymore faith than imprecatory praying and no presidents will be harmed in the process.

    How ’bout we pray that Obama quits?

    • says

      Or we could pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And we could also pray “even so, come Lord Jesus.”

      Nothing wrong choosing the path of caution.

  42. Louis says

    Chief Katie and others:

    It has long been my practice to keep my family and my church out of my blogging life, simply because I do not speak for my church. My thoughts expressed on these blogs are my own, and I don’t want my family bothered. You never know who is on blogs like this.

    Having said that, I note that Robert Masters has stated that his pastor, Scott Patty, preached Luke 11 this week.

    To be fair to Rob, that is all that he has said, that Scott Patty preached on Luke 11. Rob has not said more than that, but more could be inferred by some, I believe.

    Given all the discussion that has gone on above, and to be fair to Scott, no one on this blog should get the idea, in any way, shape or fashion, that Scott Patty or any of the elders at Grace Community Church, support or endorse the things that Rob has said on this blog post.

    We do not practice or advocate imprecatory prayers. I and another elder taught through the Psalms last year. We did not advocate the position that imprecatory prayers should be prayed by Christians today, for the President or for anybody.

    Rob is free to articulate his views. But they are his views. That is true of all our members. Given our size, I can assume that many of our members blog, on all sorts of posts, and that our name has been used on occasion. I would not know one way or the other.

    I would not normally, and don’t believe that I have ever, felt the need to come on here to make an effort to distance myself or our church from any comment.

    But given all the discussion above and Rob’s citation to his church and to me, I believe that an unwarranted connection may be made by some. So I believe it is necessary to say what I have said.

    Scott does not blog or frequent blogs, so he will never see this. But I have, and feel that this should be said.

    We have many members with many different perspectives on things. Rob is one of those many members, and he is free to write as he has written.

    But, please, no one should get the idea that anything Rob has said on this blog, and perhaps on many other occasions, represents the beliefs and feelings of Grace, its pastor or elders.

    Rob is merely one person stating his feelings.

    Thank you for understanding and maintaining the distinction.

    • Chief Katie says

      Louis,

      I concur wholeheartedly. I asked the question because Scott Johnson has also called for the President’s death. I don’t know the man on a personal level, but I have seen some of the worst ad hominem coming from him. I once sent him a TON or proof regarding one of his beliefs that he was putting on the net. He just kept teaching this falsehood.

      I also agree that it’s best not to try to speak for your church leadership because it can cause people to come to wrong conclusions. Here at Voices we have many posting who ARE pastors and I think it’s fine for them to express their own deeply held beliefs. I come here regularly because I enjoy the perspectives from so many Pastors.

      God Bless………

    • Robert I Masters says

      1)Notice that there is no Biblical thought regarding the topic at hand
      2)Go Back and notice the times Louis has rebutted me …..some people might call that INTERNET stalking and it has gone on since SBCOUTPOST days.
      3)I think everybody understands that I dont speak for the Church.
      So thanks for stating the obvious.
      We you like to say that about Matt here too because that is a Grace Community Church plant.
      (link removed by editor)

      • Dave Miller says

        It is reasonable, if someone publicly espouses extremism such as you have, in contradiction to sound biblical teaching, that a member of that church might want to distance himself from that false teaching.

  43. bill says

    Ugh.

    This thread’s a trainwreck…

    Well, at least this time we know who to blame…

  44. says

    I wanted to address this subject, because one commenter was advocating calls for the death of the president here, and I wanted to demonstrate that the Bible simply does not support that interpretation.

    However, since I am not interested in giving him a continuing forum to advocate that extreme idea, I am closing comments on this site.

    As always, direct your comments to davemillerisajerk@hotmail.com. If you think I’m kidding, try me.

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