Fired In Jesus Name?

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On May 31, Pastor Ron Baity was relieved of his Chaplaincy prayer duties before the N.C. House of Representatives after he prayed in Jesus name. Baity is the pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and was filling in as a guest Chaplain. I first read this story from FOXNews’ article Pastor Yanked From Capitol Over ‘Jesus’ Prayer.

Kudos to Pastor Baity for his prayer and protest over being fired. It’s understandable that people are offended by Jesus’ name. Jesus said such things would happen.

Continuing with the story the Winston-Salem Journal reported on it in House lacks formal policy. So a local government fires a guy over doing something in which there was no formal policy. I like what Baity said about the situation and I think he has a point.

“They’re telling me how I need to pray,” he said. “That is the establishment of a religion.”

Those things are disheartening, but in some sense expected. What is more disheartening though are some statements from professing Christians. Former N.C. House Chaplain James Harry’s comment, for example.

“Though there were some who were offended and some who even questioned my Christianity, I never felt as if I were betraying my loyalty to God in Christ,” Harry said in an e-mail yesterday. “Invoking the name of Jesus in a taxpayer-funded government arena does have the potential of making the prayer sectarian.”

Ruth Peterson, of the Anointed One Church of Deliverance in Ayden who has given a past invocation.

“I think that we should honor and respect those that have given us the privilege to pray for our state and our nation,” Peterson said yesterday.

“I think that as preacher, we pray,” she said. “We don’t necessarily have to say in the name of Jesus, because when we pray it, we know. We understand why we’re praying.”

Methodist Pastor John Howard who has also given a past invocation.

“I would prefer no restrictions,” Howard said yesterday. “But I definitely think it’s important to pray for our leaders in whatever way that we can.”

If praying in Jesus’ name makes a prayer sectarian while praying generically without Jesus name is acceptable to all other religions, does this make the generic prayer anti-Christian? Isn’t it an infringement upon one’s religion to demand a certain type of prayer? How can one say they are not betraying their loyalty to Christ when they believe there are certain venues in which praying in Christ’s name is unacceptable? If those putting on taxpayer-funded government functions invite Christians to pray they should expect Christ to be mentioned!

Christians might understand Who they are praying to, but is that really a faithful prayer when one is afraid to mention Jesus? There is a way to pray for our leaders and that is in Jesus’ name. What good does it do to pretend everyone in the room is praying to the same God? Is God’s favor really being sought in such a prayer or is the prayer a string of feel good words for all involved?

It’s sad that those professing Christians who had no problem not praying in Jesus’ name did not, as far as has been reported, stand up for Baity. They could have offered support for him even if their methods may be different. One must wonder if this is a fear of God vs. a fear of man issue.

And the Apostles? I’m convinced the Apostles would not have backed down for the sake of political correctness. I have my own thoughts about how the Apostle Paul may have prayed for our leaders i.e. the Presidential Inauguration.  Some may say that the Apostles Paul lived during a different time. I agree, during their time the Apostles were physically beaten and killed for Christ.

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The above article was posted on July 13, 2010 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dave Miller July 13, 2010 at 7:21 pm

They endured persecution because they would not compromise. It is the church of Pergamum and Thyatira that made this kind of compromise and Jesus had some pretty harsh words for them.

Good article.

2 Mark July 13, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Thanks for dropping by, Dave. It is difficult for the average Christian to be faithful and speak up for the gospel. It certainly doesn’t help when those in leadership who should be ones to emulate fall down on something as simple as saying, “In Jesus name, Amen.”

3 Les Puryear July 14, 2010 at 8:43 am

Mark,

You wrote, “during their time the Apostles were physically beaten and killed for Christ.” This sort of persecution is still happening all over the world. When it comes to the USA, I will not be surprised.

Les

4 Mark July 14, 2010 at 8:52 am

Les,

It sure is happening in other parts of the world. When/if persecution like this comes to the USA who will speak up then?

5 Howell Scott July 14, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Mark,

Thanks for your thoughts on this. I believe that we will see “Jesus” excluded more and more from the public square, thanks to those lawyers. You said, “It’s sad that those professing Christians who had no problem not praying in Jesus’ name did not, as far as has been reported, stand up for Baity. They could have offered support for him even if their methods may be different. One must wonder if this is a fear of God vs. a fear of man issue.” What if a pastor was asked to pray at a private function where there were hundreds in attendance, from all different religious backgrounds or even no religious background. If that pastor, even though not asked by those who invited him to pray, chose to pray to “Our heavenly Father” and to end the pray with “Lord” instead of Jesus, would that be a valid prayer in your opinion? In other words, could a pastor, for sake of future opportunities to interact with a community of non-believers, voluntarily choose to not use Jesus’ name and still be okay? God bless,

Howell

6 Mark July 15, 2010 at 11:15 am

Hi Howell,

What you quoted was my attempt to call the others to support Baity whether they prayed as such or not. To further clear any misunderstanding is that my position is not that a prayer without Jesus name is invalid.

Admittedly, I struggle a bit when thinking about future opportunities. However, I think about Peter’s public denial of Christ. Peter was convicted by his denial. He went on to do great things for Christ. He was afraid and not thinking of the future. He was convicted at that moment and knew what he did was wrong.

I suppose each person needs to do what they’re conscience allows. If someone is praying knowing they should and want to mentioned Jesus yet don’t because they are afraid they just might need to repent.

My fear is that it is too easy to rationalize away a mention of Jesus. We don’t always know if a future opportunity exists.

I really can’t stomach other professing Christians who are not willing to publicly support a fellow Christian who is convicted to do something like publicly praying in Jesus name.

7 Howell Scott July 15, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Mark,

I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiment regarding fellow Christians not being willing to take a public stand for a fellow believer, even if they differ in methodology. Whenever we take public stands, whether from the pulpit or on a blog, we open ourselves up to criticism and attack. Most people would rather stay silent, but I don’t think we have that luxury any more, if we ever had it. God bless,

Howell

8 Herb August 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I don’t know the answer for sure ,everytime,for everyone,but ;if I am walking in Christ or acting in christ in some way,would I need to carry a placard or annouince in some other way that I was functioning in Christ at that moment?Im pretty sure that answer is no.I would feel uncomfortable not saying in Jesus name after prayer but, Im suddenly wondering if saying in Jesus name after prayer is a religious habit that I have learned.One MUST NEVER BE ASHAMED OF THE NAME OF JESUS,but Im thinking today, that there may be times, when mouthing the words in Jesus Name may not,always, be nessisary.However if there is any doubt in your mind ;end all your prayers ,with the words ,in Jesus Name amen

9 Mark August 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Herb,

I think your first proposition is a popular one today. So I want to ask a few clarifying questions. You said –

if I am walking in Christ or acting in Christ in some way,would I need to carry a placard or annouince in some other way that I was functioning in Christ at that moment?

What does is look like to walk/act in Christ and could anyone see these activities and immediately conclude that “This person is walking/acting in Jesus Christ?” How?

10 Christian September 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Whether or not it’s ok for someone to choose to not end their prayer with “in Jesus’ name” is really walking a fine line of legalism, I believe. For a government entity to demand the name of Jesus not be used is a different issue altogether. It almost seems as though some people think tacking on “in Jesus’ name” give the prayer some kind of magical power. God sees the intent of our heart, and if we are seeking HIS will He will know. The Bible says that when we share the gospel we are not to give offense. There is a certain amount of discretion that should be expected, and the person’s own conviction should be a guiding force, as well. As for Paul, he stood his ground before King Agrippa, didn’t he? But he also said he is “all things to all people.” Whatever we do should be done in love with pointing people to Christ as the ultimate goal.

11 Bea K. September 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm

So America isn’t going through enough hard-ship already, now they want to stop the Chaplains from using ‘in Jesus’ name’ do they? We think that God/Jesus should ‘continue’ to bless this nation but “leave out their names”, just to appease those who quote “might be offended”? If we think God/Jesus will put their “blessings” on any nation that feels they “don’t need either one”, we really do need to have our heads examined. Those who ought to know better are cursing this nation and it’s people by what they’re doing, and things really aren’t going to get better from this point on folks, and truth be told I don’t blame God/Jesus one bit. We’d better get it together before it’s too late or we’ll be beyond sorry.

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