Why I Pray for Leaders (She Shares Week 2)

I didn’t link up with She Shares last week because I didn’t have time to write a post about what I had been learning, so I’m starting now with Week 2!  Head on over to #SheReadsTruth to see what other women have been learning this week.

Over the past few days, a controversy has blown up in the Christian internet community (surprise, surprise).  I’m not going to go into the details here, but basically Jared C. Wilson and Douglas Wilson of The Gospel Coalition and Rachel Held Evans came into conflict over a post written by Jared C. Wilson containing an excerpt from a book written by Douglas Wilson.  All of those links have links to even more updates if you want to educate yourself on the whole kerfuffle.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.  In reading some of the articles and some of the comments (I’m enjoying the last few weeks of summer vacation and did not want to spend hours reading things that were making me sad and frustrated), I was struck by the insane amount of hyperbole, condescension, and snark that existed in many of the articles and comments.  Rather than respond to the concerns of the article, people began casting aspersions and slandering the authors and their supporters and other commenters.

And all these people are self-professing members of the body of Christ.  It broke my heart in a way that my previous heartbreak cannot even begin to compare to.

And then I opened my Bible to read yesterday’s #SheReadsTruth passage:

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

-1 Timothy 2:1-4, 8 (NASB)

This passage really struck me in light of the current conflict.  These men and women have positions of authority within the Christian community.  People listen to them and watch them and critique them.  And we are commanded to pray for kings and those who are in authority, or high positions.  To pray for them, not call them names or write sarcastic Facebook statuses or post scathing blogs.

And if we look at verse 8, we are not to pray for them to “see the error of their ways” out of anger or dissension (or quarreling, as it is translated in the ESV).  Our prayers should be for their lives to be full of peace and godliness and dignity, as it says in verse 2.

The Church is a diverse, beautiful thing.  We all have different backgrounds, different perspectives, different interpretations.  And this is good!  We need diversity, because God is too big to fit into any box we can build in our minds.  But I feel like we so often forget this, and we begin to take sides and we turn good discussions into us v. them debates.  Doctrine is important, yes, but doctrine without love and concern for our brothers and sisters is useless.

Because what was left out of the devotional was verses 6 and 7:

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

Regardless of our own individual beliefs and interpretations and political ideologies, we are all seeking to serve and glorify the one and only God, who ransomed us from sin and death and gifted us with eternal life in Him.

So during this controversy and the next (because there will doubtless be another one), I think the best thing I can do is not add another blog post stating my opinion on the topic, but to pray for those involved.  Without agenda, without taking sides, just pray for peace in their hearts and for the truth of God to be made known in and through them.

And so I put down my pen and I prayed for Douglas and Jared and Rachel.  I begged God to bring peace and unity to His people, because the God who reconciled Esau and Jacob and sinners to Himself can certainly reconcile evangelicals and progressives, Calvinists and Arminians, complementarians and egalitarians.  And I hope that you will pray with me, out of humility and love, for our political leaders, our cultural leaders, and our church leaders, even the ones you don’t agree with.

And then I wrote this blog post adding my opinion to the mix, because we all know I just can’t help it  :)

UPDATE: For those of you who have followed this whole issue, Jared C. Wilson posted a reflection and apology this evening.  It is one of the most humble and beautiful things I have ever read and genuinely made me cry.  Please read it and praise God for it.

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2 Comments

  1. Suzanne Evans

     /  July 21, 2012

    Thank you so much for bringing biblical balance to this whole sad ordeal. It has indeed been a heartbreaking scenario to follow. Sometimes I wondered if the participants remembered that God was listening as HIs children talked to one another so disparagingly, that He was watching them tear each other apart, reading their blasts as each side attempted to fell the other.

    I do not believe any disagreement could possibly be important enough to dishonor the body of Christ thus. At such a time as this, I think we come close to being practical atheists. We are on stage attempting to amass an approving human audience, as if there is no God to offend and be accountable to. Your call to PRAY for our brothers and sisters is just what I needed. Thank you again.

    Reply
    • It has been difficult to read many of the comments, but also convicting. The call to pray is not only for others, but also for myself. My first response is often sarcasm and it is only by God’s grace that this incident and this devotional coincided and it is His grace that gave me a different response. I’m glad that He was able to use my words to encourage you.

      Reply

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