I have had the pleasure, if I can call a painful experience a pleasure, of attending several evangelical churches in the past year. When I am on the road and not able to attend my own church on Sunday I like to drop into small to mid size evangelical churches just to get a feel for what is going on in them. I usually come away angry at the heresy and apostasy I witness there, but it is still something I believe needs to be done.
Evangelicals are generally best described as "law and order" warfare statists. They preach the importance of following the law of the land and they support our troops. Most of them are Republicans and they love to integrate their statism into the sermons and services they conduct. I have written in this blog before about how evangelicals love to honor the police and the military. Entire services are dedicated to the worship of those who enforce immoral laws upon us and who expand the Amerikan empire around the world. They are all classified as heroes. How sad it all is.
One part of most services that usually inflames me with anger is the congregational or pastoral prayer. This prayer is delivered by the pastor on behalf of the congregation and usually comes somewhere in the middle of the service. Ironically, in many churches the pastoral prayer is concluded by having the entire congregation recite, from memory, the "Lord's prayer." I say that is ironic because Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for a form of prayer that is practiced in many churches in this land every Sunday. He said, "when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words." Reciting the Lord's prayer verbatim week after week seems to me to rise to the level of meaningless repetition. But who am I to judge?
I took the time to write down two direct quotes from two different prayers I have heard in the past year. I will use them as what I believe to be two perfect examples of what passes for typical congregational prayers uttered in evangelical churches in our land. If you attend an evangelical church the two quotes will no doubt sound very familiar. You have probably heard these prayers spoken hundreds of times over your lifetime. Evangelicals are infamous for their uniformity of practice. They are experts at saying the same thing, provided it is consistent with their state-loving theology.
The first pastor prayed, "Grant wisdom to our leaders, that they might rule in justice and fairness." Sound familiar? You have no doubt heard the prayer for wisdom for our leaders hundreds of times. The Bible commands us to publicly pray for those who are in civil authority over us. This prayer is the typical response to that command. It is also an unbiblical response to that command. Let's consider it for a moment.
I begin with the accurate presupposition that most, if not all, of the career politicians who rule over us are God-hating pagans. The professions of faith that come from each of their mouths, as they seek the votes of various factions of Christians, are slathered in hypocrisy and never to be taken as truthful. Jesus told His followers that true believers will be known by the fruit that is evident in their lives. Looking at the despicable actions of career politicians clearly betrays the fact that they share a universal hatred for the God of the Bible. Even the outspoken Ted Cruz, who never passes up an opportunity to invoke the blessing of God upon the state that just gave him a bunch of electoral votes, is a weekly practitioner of theft in the eyes of God. Go here for the story.
The prayer for wisdom is a strange one. The book of Proverbs says that the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." The book of Romans declares that no men in their natural state ever evidence any fear for the Lord. The logically necessary conclusion that must be made is that no career politician can ever display any wisdom, for which the pastor is praying, without first repenting and becoming a Christian. The pastor would be better off praying that God would have mercy upon the career politicians who rule over us and convert them. I rarely hear that prayer. I wonder why? In its place I heard meaningless and repetitive prayers for God to "grant wisdom" to men who clearly hate Him. That makes no sense at all.
The prayer for wisdom is made even more bizarre when the pastor also asks God that our rulers might "rule in justice and fairness." Just what does that mean? The Law of God, which every career politician in the land swears an oath to ignore, is the only just and fair standard by which men can or should be judged. Asking God to help our rulers to rule in justice and fairness then must mean that the pastor is asking God to convert them, thus allowing them to break their vows to uphold the laws of secular humanism and embrace the Law of God as the law of the land. But we all know that is not true. For the most part Evangelicals despise the Law of God as found in the Old Testament. They proudly proclaim that we have been freed from that law. They then proudly proclaim that we are to joyfully submit to the immoral laws created by career politicians in this immoral country. Apparently the pastor rejects the Law of God as the only just and fair standard to be found in this life and embraces the immoral and contradictory laws of man as a fair and just standard by which men should live and be judged. How a pastor who allegedly believes in the doctrinal principle of sola scruptura can utter the words of this prayer is not clear.
The second prayer had this sentence embedded within it, "...for military, police, firefighters and all who protect us; keep them safe." The hidden presupposition behind this prayer is the belief that the military and police actually protect us. It is also presupposed that what the military and the police are doing is right, good, proper and generally consistent with the revealed will of God in the Bible. It is also presupposed that what the military and the police are doing should bring us to our knees to pray for their safety, so essential are their actions for our well being. All of those presuppositions are in error.
A great number, probably the majority, of the laws enforced upon me, a Christian, every day as a citizen of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika are contrary to the revealed will of God in the Bible. Those who enforce those laws upon me, far from being God's servants, are serving the God-hating whims of the Beast of civil government. When the Sheriff arrived at the home of a man in Park County a month or so ago with an order to evict him from his home because he had not paid his tribute to the county, he began shooting at them in defense of his property. He died in a hail of bullets fired by those dedicated public servants doing the expressed will of God found in the Bible, didn't he? Should we pray for those heroes who gunned down a man while enforcing an immoral law that stole his property from him because he would not pay tribute to the state? I believe we should, but not in the way the pastor was praying. I believe we should pray imprecatory prayers against them and ask God to judge them for the murder they committed.
Praying for the military forces of the SDA is standard practice in evangelical churches. The prayers are always the same. Supplications to keep them safe and bring them home uninjured are common. The questions related to what they are actually doing as they fight wars of aggression in service to the expanding Amerikan empire are never considered. The fact that they are acting as murderers of foreign nationals is never confessed. Yes, we should pray for the members of the military services. We should pray that they will repent of their murderous rampages, go AWOL and tell the truth about what they are doing around the world. No pastor will ever pray that prayer. Why? Because too many churches have too many members with adult children in service of the military. It is not a good idea, if a pastor wishes to maintain his salary and pay the church mortgage, to anger the parents of adult children in military service.
So I conclude that evangelical pastors are seriously conflicted. If they would allow themselves to think about it they would have to admit that their prayers are disingenuous at best. But other factors come into play making it so that theological consistency and personal integrity must be abandoned. Ultimately there is scarcely one pastor in a hundred who can maintain a rigorous logical and theological consistency in the face of the potential wrath of his government worshiping congregation. How sad.