Politico claimed Monday that Pastor David Platt of McLean Bible Church had apologized to congregants for his decision to pray for President Donald Trump during the latter’s impromptu Sunday visit. But congregants are backing the pastor — and it is not clear that he actually apologized.
Trump visited the church Sunday to pray for the victims of Friday’s workplace shooting in Virginia Beach before leaving for the United Kingdom. Pastor Platt prayed for Trump and asked his congregation to do the same: “We pray that [the president] would look to You, that he would trust in You, he would lean on You … That he would govern and make decisions in ways that are good for justice, and good for righteousness and good for equity, every good path.”
Later, the pastor posted a statement about the president’s visit on the church’s website, and its Facebook page:
Based on this text [1 Timothy 2:1-6], I know that it is good, and pleasing in the sight of God, to pray for the president. So in that moment, I decided to take this unique opportunity for us as a church to pray over him together. My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies, or his party, but to obey God’s command to pray for our president and other leaders to govern in the way this passage portrays.
It is that statement that Politico cited to claim that the pastor had “apologized” to his congregants.
But the full statement (available here) did not actually contain an apology, at least as a statement of regret. (A lesser-used definition of the word “apology” denotes a defense against criticism.)
Pastor Platt acknowledged that some congregants were “hurt” that he prayed for the president, but then asked them to “pray with me for [the] gospel seed that was sown today to bear fruit in the president’s heart.”
Some congregants, including those opposed to Trump, backed the pastor.
One Facebook user commented:
Pastor, I cannot stand Trump. But your example yesterday was convicting and inspiring. I am repentant for my thoughts and words towards the president and recognize that God loves Trump just as much as he loves me. Thank you for leading us in love. I’ll be praying that those who are hurt see your actions as I did and just as you articulated here and that this event be a launching pad for healing
Some commenters interpreted the statement as an apology, but others called it an “explanation.” The overwhelming majority of the more than 500 comments on the Facebook post were supportive, with an occasional message objecting to the church giving the president a platform.
Read the pastor’s full statement here.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.