When the Apostle Paul came to the city of Athens we read “his spirit was stirred in him when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” [Acts 17:16] and later in verse 22 we read of how he stood up on Mars Hill in that same city and to a people whom he described as “very religious” he proceeded to proclaim the Biblical God of creation and His appointed coming judge of all people, His crucified but resurrected Son, Jesus Christ. Yesterday, along with countless millions around the world I watched on television the inauguration of President Barack Obama and not surprisingly I was particularly interested to listen to the ‘Invocation’ delivered by Rick Warren. As I listened to him speak, like Paul of old, ‘my spirit was stirred within me’ for this was not a prayer offered to the One true God of Heaven, Father, Son and Spirit but rather it was a cunningly crafted idolatrous prayer designed to placate and please many of the false ‘gods’ worshipped in Washington DC, in America in general and around the whole world.
This was a supreme example of ‘the art of “politically-correct” praying’. I want now to set out the text of what Rick Warren ‘prayed’ as downloaded from his church website and I will intersperse it with my own comments in red in the hope that readers will realize that this was simply a further attempt to idolatrously unify people of ‘faith’ and not an attempt to “earnestly contend for THE faith” [Jude 3].
“Let us pray…
Almighty God, Our Father, [God is only ‘The Father’ of those who have been “born again” of His Spirit and are trusting alone in His Son, “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” for their eternal salvation – these opening phrases were designed to put everyone of every ‘faith’ or even none at ease] everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of You alone. It all comes from You; it all belongs to You; it all exists for Your glory. History is Your story.
The Scripture tells us, ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God.’ [In Deuteronomy 6:4 this verse in many versions begins “Hear O Israel, The Lord our God” – in a few other versions it does read as Rick Warren stated, ‘The Lord IS our God’. The full declaration of Deuteronomy 6:4, also repeated by the Lord Himself in Mark 12:29, actually tells us “Hear O Israel. The Lord our God is one Lord”. The Bible Knowledge Commentary states, ‘This verse has been called the SHEMA from the Hebrew word translated ‘Hear’. The statement in this verse is the basic confession of faith in Judaism. The verse means that the Lord (Yahweh) is totally unique. He alone is God’. The Commentary goes on to say, ‘This confession of monotheism does not preclude the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. “God” is plural (Elohim) possibly implying the Trinity and “one” (ehad) may suggest a unity of Persons in the Godhead (see Genesis 2:24 where the same word for “one” is used of Adam and Eve). In the printed text of Rick Warren’s prayer, ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God’ is in inverted commas/quotation marks indicating a direct biblical quote but the phrase that then follows is not in inverted commas/quotation marks suggesting that it is not meant to be a quote from Deuteronomy 6:4. What is Rick Warren up to by only partially quoting the basic confession of faith of Judaism and then following it with this statement ? The Lord is One [Having quoted an important portion of the basic confession of faith in Judaism Rick Warren now asserts that ‘The Lord is One’ – it seems to me that he is trying to tell ‘Israel’ that their ‘God’ is the same ‘One’ claimed by other monotheistic religions such as Islam and Christianity and his next words are the basis for my claim for this] and You are the compassionate and merciful One [EVERY Sura in the Koran except one begins with this dedication “In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful” – Rick Warren’s use of this terminology was I believe intended to ‘strike a chord’ with the followers of Islam] and You are loving to everyone You have made [this was I believe Rick Warren’s ‘overture’ to Christians who are constantly but erroneously being told that God’s greatest attribute is ‘love’ whereas His greatest attribute actually is ‘holiness’. In these few phrases Rick Warren was I believe using terminology that, as I said earlier, would “placate and please” the followers of many ‘gods’].
Now, today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time, we celebrate a hinge point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American President of the United States. We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequalled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And, we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven! [Scripture does not indicate that those in heaven are aware of what is currently happening down here on planet earth and we are told that the focus of praise, rejoicing, singing etc in heaven is “the Lamb” who was crucified to save sinners – see Revelation 5: 5-14 and 7: 9-10. To suggest that the attention of the saints already in heaven would be directed away from their worship of the Lord Jesus Christ to the installation of an American President is very close to if not actually blasphemy].
Give to our new President, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility; the courage to lead us with integrity; the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him [The One true God declares in 1st Samuel 2:30, “them who honor me I will honor”- in his eulogy to Barack Obama and his ‘god’, the Religion Correspondent of the Belfast Telegraph, Alf McCreary wrote last Saturday (17th January 2009) ‘Obama appears to be a man who is not afraid to think beyond the narrow confines of one religious outlook…He said “I am a Christian so I have a deep faith. On the other hand…I believe that there are many paths to the same place and that there is a higher power, that we are connected as a people’. These are not God-honoring statements worthy and deserving of blessing from the One who said quite clearly in Matthew 7:14 “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it” and who in John 14:6 declared Himself to be the ONLY way and path to His Father in heaven]. his family, Vice-President Biden, the cabinet and every one of our freely elected leaders.
Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans united not by race, or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget You, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims [This I believe was a subtle plug for the global P E A C E initiative championed by Rick Warren and others that he is involved with such as the ‘Tony Blair Faith Foundation’ where he serves as a member of the ‘Advisory Council’], responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ. Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all [Does the ‘all’ include the ‘common good’ of unborn babies that Barack Obama is content to see aborted (murdered) on an ongoing massive scale?].
May all people of goodwill today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. [Tolerant co-operation does not exalt a nation or even a planet – according to Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalteth a nation” and righteousness is certainly not embodied in the ‘prayer’ offered by the actively ‘gay’ Bishop Gene Robinson who was invited by Barack Obama to pray at an event a couple of days before the inauguration – the following is a posting from the Christian blog of Ingrid Schlueter called ‘slice of Laodicea’] –
And, may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before You. [This of course is the ‘One Lord’ conjured up by politically-correct interfaith activists such as Rick Warren]
We now commit our new President and his wife Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into Your loving care. I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life [The only Saviour of sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and God The Son not only changes lives but He changes eternal destinies through the redemption He purchased for His people on Calvary’s Cross, even the forgiveness of their sins] – Yeshua (Hebrew), Isa (Arabic), Jesus (Spanish), Jesus (English) – [The use of these names for Jesus was designed to convey or imply a supposed ‘common bond’ between Judaism, Islam, (Hispanic) Roman Catholicism and Protestantism through some measure of common recognition of Jesus Christ – this was devious as of course Judaism rejects Jesus Christ as the Messiah, Islam rejects the deity and death of Jesus Christ and the Jesus Christ of Roman Catholicism is a ‘false christ’ embodied in a supposedly transubstantiated piece of bread – there is absolutely no common bond and recognition of Jesus Christ flowing through these differing religions] who taught us [The Lord Jesus Christ taught HIS disciples to pray this prayer] to pray, “‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.’”
Rick Warren’s ‘witness’ on Capitol Hill, through this ‘prayer’, bore no resemblance to that of the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill and I do not believe for one minute that anyone in heaven would have been ‘shouting’ as this prayer was offered, and certainly not the Triune God, for we read in John 9:31 “Now we know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man be a worshipper of God, AND DOETH HIS WILL, him he heareth”. Being ‘politically-correct’ when it comes to praying is certainly not “doing God’s will”.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 21st January 2009