SBTS leaders: Pray for new president

Communications Staff — November 5, 2008

With the sweeping election of Democrat Barack Obama in the presidential election Tuesday night, leaders at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary agreed that Christians must pray for the new president, support him where conscience allows and remember that God remains sovereign over the affairs of men.

The Illinois senator, who perhaps possesses the most liberal voting record of any presidential candidate in American history, defeated Republican John McCain overwhelmingly, leaving many evangelicals uneasy regarding the future.

On his daily weblog, Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., said evangelicals may face future challenges in light of Obama’s election, but they must in no way deny the legitimacy of his ascension to the highest office in the land.

“We should look for opportunities to work with the new President and his administration where we can,” Mohler writes. “We must hope that he will lead and govern as the bridge-builder he claimed to be in his campaign. We must confront and oppose the Obama administration where conscience demands, but work together where conscience allows.

“Evangelical Christians face another challenge with the election of Sen. Obama, and a failure to rise to this challenge will bring disrepute upon the Gospel, as well as upon ourselves. There must be absolutely no denial of the legitimacy of President-Elect Obama’s election and no failure to accord this new President the respect and honor due to anyone elected to that high office. Failure in this responsibility is disobedience to a clear biblical command.

“Beyond this, we must commit ourselves to pray for this new President, for his wife and family, for his administration, and for the nation. We are commanded to pray for rulers, and this new President faces challenges that are not only daunting but potentially disastrous. May God grant him wisdom. He and his family will face new challenges and the pressures of this office. May God protect them, give them joy in their family life, and hold them close together.”

Denny Burk, dean of Boyce College, in post-election analysis on his blog, pointed readers to the sovereignty of God, common grace and the supremacy of the kingdom of

“I am so grateful to serve a Savior who once looked into the eyes of a calculating Roman politician and said, ‘You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above,’” Burk writes.

“Jesus knew what has been true all along about the kingdoms of men. They rise and fall according to the ordination of a sovereign God. ‘The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes’ (Daniel 4:25). God works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), and He promises to cause all things to work together for good to those who love God and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). God has presided over today’s result with an inscrutable wisdom, and I am thankful for that.”

Mark Coppenger, distinguished professor of Christian apologetics, said his attitude toward Obama’s presidency will be similar to his attitude toward Bill Clinton’s presidency.

“July 19, 1993, I was doing Army Reserve duty in the Pentagon,” Coppenger said. “There was tension in the building since President Clinton was about to announce his gays-in-the-military policy across the river at Ft. McNair. I was upset that the president was pressing this issue, and I’d even written a paper opposing change for an Air War College course. But I was going to be a good soldier, literally, if it didn’t go my way, for I had sworn ‘to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.’”

Coppenger added that he will remain loyal to the President but use his rights as a citizen to uphold Christian moral standards whenever Obama presses immoral policies.

“I’ll have the same attitude toward President Obama, so long as he stays within constitutional boundaries,” he said. “Of course, he can be sure I’ll exercise and defend my constitutional rights to oppose policies I find toxic. That should keep me busy.”

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