« Results: The Gap | Main | Brewster Rockit: Focus Guy? »

November 5, 2008

Joel Hunter Prays with Obama Before Acceptance Speech

Evangelical pastor Joel Hunter prayed with president-elect Barack Obama on the phone before Obama gave his acceptance speech last night. (The full interview has been posted here)

Hunter declined to go into details, but said he prayed with Obama and Otis Moss, pastor of Olivet church in Cleveland.

"It was a very sweet time. It was just a very meaningful time that you could tell meant a lot to him. Sen. Obama has done a great job with keeping us in consistent conversation and it really is a good signal that he wants us to be a part of the conversation."

After Hunter prayed at the Democratic National Convention, he declined to give media interviews until after the election. I spoke with him this morning, and he said, "Between the convention and the election, it’s just raw politics, so any moral points you try to make are taken as partisan. That’s why I go quiet."

Hunter is hopeful that evangelicals will have a voice in the Obama administration.

"I think we’re going to be invited into many conversations. He is a consensus-oriented type of leader. We need to be able to respond to those invitations to those given. Part of our role is to speak truth to power. That certainly is part of our role. The most effective way of doing that is not to be so narrow and combative. It’s to be part of the conversation. It’s not to back down on any moral convictions that we have. By the same token, we’ve got to understand that we can be much more effective in getting our point across and realizing our goals if that prophetic language comes with a degree of understanding and respect."

Hunter pastors a church in Florida, where a gay-marriage ban passed last night.

"The moral agenda is not going to change. The outcome is a firm statement, at least from the folks in Florida, that we want to protect marriage as between a man and a woman. By the same token, we have to be careful that we can still treat with respect and some sympathy those who want to build a legal relationship."

Comments

I bet Palin and friends prayed with JOE Hunter and JOE Fisherman.

I hope that the pastor, if he has continued contact with the President-elect, will share the Gospel with him. Senator Obama is a lost soul.

It certainly seems that Dr. Hunter feels the need to flaunt his prayer times with Barack Obama. I am however thankful that an Evangelical Pastor is mentoring Obama; perhaps he can dissuade Obama from keeping his promise to Planned Parenthood to sign the "Freedom of Choice Act" (in actuality the Freedom to Commit Unlimited Murder Act.) Hopefully he can also inspire Obama to actually oppose legislation that would require faith-based organizations to hire those who openly practice homosexuality (against the Holy Spirit's leading of that organization) and also appoint Judges that do repect the Constitution rather than read "rights" or restrictions into it. From what Obama has said before, it seems his judicial appointments will be ideologically and partisan motivated, rather than qualified and governing themselves by the Constitution. I agree with Dr. Hunter that, though the Marriage Ban passed in FL and is passing in CA as Democracy won out, that respect and compassion for those who identify themselves as homosexual is needed.

I certainly do hope we are part of the "discussions," but it is evident Dr. Hunter needs to be more sensitive to the fact that a majority of Evangelicals and his own Congregation did not vote for Obama. While we can respectfully be involved in discussions with any President or party, it is a matter of Christian conscience that some of Obama's policies are indefensable from a Christ-centered viewpoint. But hey, he is young and obviously impressionable, perhaps Dr. Hunter can break through some of his arrogance and naivety and lead him to reconsider those policies.

I pray that the Evangelicals will work with Obama to help reduce abortions until they are little to none without a strong arm. That they will respect him as a leader in working towards a resolution to help these women! We focus so much on Obama and judges that we forget about the person who commits the act!! Even if Rowe -v- Wade is overturned, if these women are not ministered to or let it be known they have other options, they will seek to get abortions illegally and that is the point Evangelicals are missing from Obama!!

I FULLY AGREE THAT HE NEEDED TO BE PRAYED FOR BEING THE NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT OF OUR COUNTRY. HE IS NOT ONLY A LEADER OF OUR COUNTRY, HE IS TO THE WORLD AS WELL. GOD HAS ALLOWED HIM TO BE IN OFFICE AND THEREFORE HE IS GOD'S SERVANT THAT NEED TO BE GIVEN RESPECT. WE PRAY THAT HE WILL DISPENSE HIS DUTY WITH WISDOM AND POWER FULFILLING GOD'S WILL IN THE END TIMES.

I just remembered some pertinent history here. In 1976, as Jimmy Carter was nominated and was the first evangelical candidate in the modern era, Martin Luther King Sr. gave a little sermon to the convention. It was very moving. Something about, if anyone here is angry with anyone else, after the normal political battles we have had, get down on your knees and talk to the Lord about it. I just remember as a young Christian being quite moved by his little sermon, in the midst of a pretty secular setting. I suppose if others had said it, maybe they would have been ruled out of order. But he was talking about forgiveness and all, and his son had been killed, and his wife had been killed as well. He understood suffering and forgiveness in a very personal way, perhaps like John Perkins of Mississippi.

Now let us all pray with and for our next president. The current administration has left a mess for us. They have made money and power their idols when they should have been focused on God.
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
Amen

"By the same token, we have to be careful that we can still treat with respect and some sympathy those who want to build a legal relationship."

SOME sympathy? Please. How degrading and rude. Sir, we don't want your sympathy nor do we want what you call "respect"! We shall pray for YOU however. Lord, forgive them....

To pray for our leaders is mandated in the Scriptures. Each day we need to pray that their hearts will turn to God, to be directed by Him and that any decisions be made following prayer. May God bless Mr. Obama and may God bless America.

Joel Hunter has sold out to liberal politics. How this guy can justify focusing on liberal policies like global warming and ditch real issues like stopping abortion and homosexual marriage I don't know. But in my book I don't want to know what Joel Hunter thinks as he has lost all credibility with me.

I am sure he knows he is trying to give credibility to a man who not only voted for partial birth abortion but voted for and spoke in favor of not giving medical attention to babies who survived the horrible abortion procedure. What a great spiritual leader. It appears he has sold out for a little national publicity.

What is said here and what has been said in the past smacks of moral relativism, rationalizing, and a loss of focus. Obama is "entertaining" Dr. Hunter because Dr. Hunter is not holding that relationship to the same standard other evangelical leaders would demand before lending their voice to him. Obama will tolerate Dr. Hunter as long as Dr. Hunter appeases him and makes excuses for Obama's and the democrat's' positions as he does here in talking about the mnarriage amendment. Whether Dr. Hunter is doing this because he has really lost his way, or is just so naive, I am not sure. What I am sure of is that Dr. Hunter has lost much of the credibility and respect among true believers that he gained in over thirtyfive years of ministry that was so exewmplary until recently. The fact that Dr. Hunter jumped ship so easily from Huckabee to Obama, one extreme to the other, would lead one to doubt his sincerity.

Otis Moss, Jr father of Otis Moss, III pastor of Trinity Church of Christ????

Shouldn't they pray with her? Is it easy to concede defeat? Abraham Lincoln failed countless times, maybe the prayers after failure enabled him to forge ahead.

There's something called "peace" - the winner and loser of this highly contested election NEED and, God, is the only sure provider. I hope the prayers of all the pastors would bring this to bear in the lives of all the contenders.

Dr. Hunter is a televangelist wanna be while using the money of his local congregation to support his political aspirations. He promotes the liberal agenda and offers it the cloak of credibility to mask its ungodliness. While exercising his point of view and posting his interviews and sermons on the church website, he simultaneously disables the blogs to those specific sites as they are too heated for a church website. HINT - your actions Dr. Hunter are creating the tension and I for one won't be funding your endeavors any longer. After 8 years of attendance and 6 years of faithful tithing - I won't give you another dime to spend toward travel and meetings with the liberal leader - But no worries, once the Obamas tithe to Northland (ha!), you won't miss my pittance.

What is said here and what has been said in the past smacks of moral relativism, rationalizing, and a loss of focus. Obama is "entertaining" Dr. Hunter because Dr. Hunter is not holding that relationship to the same standard other evangelical leaders would demand before lending their voice to him. Obama will tolerate Dr. Hunter as long as Dr. Hunter appeases him and makes excuses for Obama's and the democrats' positions as he does here in talking about the marriage amendment. Whether Dr. Hunter is doing this because he has really lost his way, or is just so naive, I am not sure.

What I am sure of is that Dr. Hunter has lost much of the credibility and respect among true believers that he gained in over thirty-five years of ministry that was so exemplary until recently. The fact that Dr. Hunter jumped ship so easily from Huckabee to Obama, one extreme to the other, would lead one to doubt his sincerity.

FROM A FORMER EVANGELICAL PASTOR/TEACHER:

It is refreshing to hear Christians not condemning or spreading vicious rumours and falsehoods about our President-elect who, after all, has made clear his own profession of faith in Jesus Christ -- in no uncertain terms.

It would be a very "Christ-like" thing to pray for Barrack Obama. That is especially true considering the fact that a very large and vocal number of "Christians" -- especially VP hopeful Sarah Palin -- have so stirred up the hateful rhetoric against him that the FBI now reports that death threats against him have risen sharply. They attribute the source to "Christians" in general, and Sarah Palin's rhetoric in particular. (See the upcoming in-depth story in Newsweek that documents this from FBI sources.)

One of the great tragedies of our generation is seeing supposedly "Christian" people allow Conservative Politics to "trump" the Kingdom of God. The result? Both have lost credibility in the process. Perhaps you could add to your prayer list the need for "Christians" to humble themselves before their God and Nation and ask forgiveness for so "blaspheming" the name of their savior. As Jesus said to the Pharisees -- who also put their "political" divisions above serving God -- "Because of you the name of God is blasphemed among the people."

Christians need to clean up their own "houses." If there is a judgment coming, it will begin "in the house of the Lord" – not in the house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Hello, I posted several times under "Independent and Christian." Please do not withold my posts. They were not offensive. Thank you and God bless.

The bashing of Pastor Joel is another example of why I am sometimes ashamed of fellow Christians. If
you do not attend Northland then you absolutely have no clue with regards to the integrity of Pastor Joel.

Because he does not focus 100% on all of the simpleton far right agendas you haters perceive him as
liberal or a fraud. So nice to see more judgment by fellow Christians who love nothing else but to arm
chair quarterback on rudimentary level issues and miss the complete picture. Would you prefer no
dialogue period with anyone with potential opposing views?

It is amazing to me how much fear, hate and nonsense is spewed by overzealous Christians who only
want to focus on abortion and gay rights. Does Pastor Joel approve of these issues? Of course not but
he also knows we have much more important issues at stake (environment, health care, poverty,
education).

Arguments from dogmatic understandings of scripture to the mind of God are at best questionable. The
reality is that no one takes the entire scripture literally or uncritically as their guide to moral and social issues.
We don't own slaves. We don't banish our menstruating women to the city limits until their periods are
completed. We don't stone our children to death when they embarrass us in public. We don't require our
widows' brothers-in-law to marry them after their husbands die.

Those who cite the Bible as some kind of moral imperative for public policy always do so selectively. And
what that selectivity inevitably reveals has little to do with the mind of God but everything to do with the
narrow interests brought to bear in the selection process. The notion that God must by definition share
our own prejudices evidences no small amount of self-importance. Little wonder pride was one of the
seven deadly sins.

Everyone picks and chooses. For instance, St. Paul tells us to not allow women to speak in church
at all (1 Cor. 14:33b-36 NIV) and instructs that it would be best if we did not get married at all
(1 Cor. 7:8 NIV) Even the nuts don't follow these scriptures, which is understandable. To take a
literal interpretation of scripture and apply it to our society today is to ignore that God gave us
the wonderful gift of intellect to use and apply.

I am on board with Jesus' message of feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and healing the sick. If we
Christians spent as much energy doing those things as we do mobilizing to fight moral wars then we
just might change the world. I recall what Jesus told the religious leaders who wanted to stone the
adulterous woman in His day--any of you without sin is free to cast the first stone.

Until then, leave Pastor Joel alone.

Larry, please do not be so critical of Dr. Hunter. I strongly suspect that none of us on this blog know him well enough personally to make educated statements about his motives. But remember, wouldn't you rather have a Christian voice influencing and praying over our President, EVEN if it is Obama? To me, it is all the more needed because Obama is so young, naive, inexperienced, and yes at times arrogant. I suspect Dr. Hunter has a larger picture in mind and is following the Lord's leading on him to influence the most influential man in America; perhaps he hopes to help Obama develop a more commendable and moral position on abortion, same-sex issues, religious expression and conscience etc. than he currently supports. I can say that I trust Dr. Hunter was fully behind Mike Huckabee and the type of govt. leader he is, as was I. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could help encourage Obama to move the Democratic party more towards respecting the Right to Life, traditional family values, non-racial theology, diverse opinions on scietific research and school curriculum? It would be wonderful for the hateful, intolerant, militant far left not to have a Party to use as its paltform to force itself on the rest of society.

On the Northland website today, Dr. Hunter says he will tell the congregation this weekend that "their prayers were answered", and that he dismisses the promise Barack Obama made to vote in a no restrictions policy for abortion -stating that a promise made two years ago may no longer be relevent. So Dr. Hunter, are you banking on Barack Obama's change of heart or that Barack Obama is a liar?

Larry, I am frankly appalled by your comments. It's so sad. You question a pastor's call to pray with President-Elect Obama, a fellow Christian, and chastise him by saying this act has caused him to lose respect with "true believers". Sir, that is immoral and divisive. I am so tired of these divisive politics and Christians who try to paint everything as black/white. Yes, there is the Truth about God's law and what is right and just. For certain, but voting for Obama is not "moral relativism". There are many Christians who believe that Mr. Obama's policies will actually do more to further God's kingdom here on Earth through - policies which support a consistent life ethic through the end of war, economic justice, and strengthening marriage and families and reducing abortion (not by passing laws which would do little to actually change reality) but through providing meaningful alternatives and necessary supports for women and children. C.S. Lewis said that there are not 100% Christians and 100% non-Christians. Jesus did not make us jump through political hoops before he deemed us "true believers" and you sir should be careful in tossing that demeaning and hurtful idea around. That certainly does not build up Christ's body. Christ chose two diciples, Peter & Matthew, who were very different and stood for very different things. Peter was seen as an anti-imperialist and zealot while Matthew was a tax collector and more "status-quo". Some scholars have paralled the two to modern day Ted Kennedy & Rush Limbaugh! Very different indeed! But Jesus didn't say one word about who was "more right". That tells us that our political opinions are rendered of secondary importance. As Christians & Americans, we have to vote our consciences and our political views will express themselves in different votes for different candidates. This makes us no less Christian or not a "true believer". Partisan politics or political leaders will never be our savior and regardless of who is in office we have a duty as Christians to work toward God's kingdom. There will never be a politician to solve all of our problems even if all of the "right laws" are passed or "right leaders" are elected, as John Ortberg says. Look at other countries around the world who have illegalized abortion and their abortion rates are still exactly the same. The Netherlands has the lowest abortion rate in the world and abortion is completely legal there. But they also have very strong pro-family policies - not by outlawing same sex marriage - but by supporting low-income/middle-income families through practical relief such as healthcare, education, etc... That should teach us something about how to reduce abortion. Regardless, we are called to engage in politics in a civil and respectful manner and I think implying that a Pastor - a man who has dedicated his life to God's service - is not a "true believer" b/c he prayed for/with Obama....well that's just plain wrong, my brother.

It's great to hear that Dr. Hunter had the courage and foresight to pray with the new President Elect and that Mr. Obama has reached out to him and other evfangelicals despite disagreement on certain key issues (abortion, gay issues, etc.).

The Bible implores us to pray for our leaders. The greatest disappointment I see is the comments of those who are hating' on Dr. Hunter for praying with and dialoging with Obama. As an African-American evangelical Christian it saddens & dissappoints me that many of our so-called 'white evangelical' (as the press refers to them) brethren are more Republican than Christian (as is evident in some of these posts. It is sad how evengelicals have sold themselves to one political party that has done little to advance their/our key interests and only 'thinks' about them every 4 years when they trot out partial-birth abortion & gay-marriage bills to get people to the polls then quickly forget evangelical concerns the rest of the time. Do many Christians realize that the Karl Rove party has merely been playing them like a drum? I highly doubt it but I think we should all pray for the new President (whatever his party) that God may give him wisdom and guide him in his decision making that justice will roll down like rives righteoussness like a mighty stream.

Blessings, Ed K.

Larry H-your comments were more than a mouthful-and left me "still before the face of God" because of the truth you spoke. St. John 8 talks about a woman taken in adultry and brought before Jesus by "church" folk who knew the law and letter-but had not the spirit or the power. I saw something today as I read it when the scripture said that they were "wanting to tempt Jesus" and I realize it was not with the woman's looks that they wanted to tempt him, but with the fact he was a man who walked in love toward everyone and fairness and they wanted to force to choose. As a Registered republican I wrestled with which candidate to vote for listening to the rants of one side who professed to know Jesus and his love yet failed to show it over a man with a group of people who also professed to show love and who turned the other cheek when he could have went for the jugular vein. It was not until Monday when I heard Senator Biden tell a group of people not to be made or hate McCain supporters who had come to Biden's meeting and heckled him and Obama to go out into the parking lot when the meeting and election was over and reach across to those people and befriend them because we all need each other to turn this around. I have yet to hear those words coming from the other side. I realized as a Christian that Obama and Biden were doing what we as Christians have been preaching-they walked the walk even the face of slurs, twisting of words (lies), and other insults and held their composure. I realized that this election was given to them because God had gotten tired of our form of Godliness, but no power as republicans and so on Tuesday morning I did what I had not done in 28 years-I voted for the democrate. Maybe now we can take this time to re-examine ourselfs in the face of what Jesus said-not what we thought he said, not what we thought he meant, not what we think he is-but what he said, what he meant, and who he really is. This time we must come out from our comfort zones, go out into the hedges and highways and to the unthinkable that Jesus told us to-let the world know us by "OUR LOVE!!!" Because the other party has been willing and we have been pretending all this time.

I must say, "Amen Brother" to the post by Robby Zuwadza. The prayers for our new president should flow lovingly and earnestly, without hesitation or qualification, from every Christian heart, from every Christian pulpit in this country. And along with those prayers, within each of those hearts and the hearts of those who stand at those pulpits should be much Spirit of God-directed soul searching.

The hateful and very un-Chrisian rhetoric spoken by Sarah Palin during the last few weeks, all to serve a political party's ambition to win an election, absolutely broke my heart. I thought often of Jesus strong words to the religious/political leaders of His day and found it quite appropriate to apply those very words to many religious/political leaders of our day who have so inappropriately spoken words, taken positions, and postured in ways very contrary to the message of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave a very simple but profound way to identify a Christian...love. One is recognized as His disciple by love.

There is much house-cleaning to be done in some of today's Evangelical churches, and in many of the hearts of those who call themselves Christians.

I must say, "Amen Brother" to the post by Robby Zuwadza. The prayers for our new president should flow lovingly and earnestly, without hesitation or qualification, from every Christian heart, from every Christian pulpit in this country. And along with those prayers, within each of those hearts and the hearts of those who stand at those pulpits should be much Spirit of God-directed soul searching.

The hateful and very un-Christian rhetoric spoken by Sarah Palin during the last few weeks, all to serve a political party's ambition to win an election, absolutely broke my heart. I thought often of Jesus strong words to the religious/political leaders of His day and found it quite appropriate to apply those very words to many religious/political leaders of our day who have so inappropriately spoken words, taken positions, and postured in ways very contrary to the message of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave a very simple but profound way to identify a Christian...love. One is recognized as His disciple by love.

There is much house-cleaning to be done in some of today's Evangelical churches, and in many of the hearts of those who call themselves Christians.

To Robby Zuwadza. Amen!

Amen to Robby Zuwadza! It's hard to believe this is a Christian blog from some of the comments! Also,I watched Sarah Palin on Fox News interview with Greta Van Susteren! It was very good! She stated their lost is contributed to the Bush Administration for various reasons! She stunned me when she said she is looking forward to hearing from President elect Obama to work together with him in any way she can! She said much more (in his favor). It is hard to believe that just 2 wks ago she was raking him over the coals! Politics!!! She's even talking about how great his ideas were reference ENERGY and she wants to make Alaska an instrument in rebuilding this country on the issue of Energy!! I didn't hear a thing about "drill baby drill". Part 2 of the interview is tomorrow! All I can do is laugh!! Just the same, my prayer has been from the beginning for all of them!! That at some point they will put aside their differences and work together to repair this country!! These are ALL good and imperfect people in an IMPERFECT world where stones will be cast daily no matter what you do!! No one is exempt! God help them for the perseverance and tenacity to continue the race to the very end!!

I just heard Joel Hunter speak last Sunday and was greatly moved to never come back. The subject was about jesus being the only way. Nothing about why we can trust Jesus, just the fact yes He is the only way even if you just leaned toward God as a pagan who has never heard - you can be saved. Lots of personal opinion and lots of praise for Islam's treatment of women and their rituals. Not a word to tell us why Jesus is the only Way. Just a statement, yes He is the way, but more could have been said about Jesus. Then some liberal political feelings spilled over. Joel wrote in his book that conservatives do not care for the born, only the born. That of course is totally false. Joel is better than all those conservatives, he cares about born humans. So chirstians were insulted for dressing their daughters sexy and Islam was better than us for ritual prayer and treatment of women. It's no wonder he is an Obama favorite.

I see that this blog ended with my comment almost a year ago. I must dsay that my differences with Pastor Hunter's views are not personal. He has been a model of evangelical Christianity for the most part. Yes he bought into some positions like Global warming and has a different approach then I would have. He has tried to appeal to others and shares as much as he can. I just believe his approach could mislead more people then he helps. Example is the prayer ending at the Dem. nat'l. Convention where he asked everyone to pray in whose ever name they believed in. If I was an unbeliever or of a different religion, I would think it doesn't matter whose name as long as you are sincere. All roads lead to salvation. I know he doesn't believe that, but the impression is given. Praising Islam ? Sorry I have read too much from former Muslims and have read the Koranic verses. Women do not fare well in Islam. As a sociology major, I often ask, " where do people want to live?" Non-muslims do not move to Muslim lands for a reason, they all love to be with Christians and those who respect our Judeo-Christian culture.

The previous posts are over 2 years old - and since then, Pastor Joel and his family experienced the tragic of his grand-daughter -Ava, a precious, beautiful, and blessed 5-year old. I never understood why Pastor Joel would make his political views so 'openly challenging' - He is a wise and a brilliant man; yet, all common-sense flew out the windows with the 'love Obama' chapter of his life. I still can't figure it out- 2 1/2 years into the presidency- it's finally evident that the White House is occupied by a Muslim - (radical? maybe...). Are we praying for a president who won the election by dishonest means; who clearly hates Americans; and whose citizenship is still in question? The prayer focus needs to be that no one else be deceived the way beloved Pastor Joel was deceived. Pray for Pastor Hunter- he is a good man- though a bit idealistic and naive.