Over the weekend, President Trump made a surprise visit to McLean Bible Church, where he was invited onstage by pastor David Platt. Platt then prayed for Trump and other government leaders, causing some controversy online.
Yesterday, Platt posted a statement in response to the backlash, explaining, “ I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision.”
He also clarified how it all happened. He said, “At the end of my sermon at the 1:00 worship gathering, I stepped to the side for what I thought would be a couple of moments in quiet reflection as we prepared to take the Lord’s Supper. But I was immediately called backstage and told that the President of the United States was on his way to the church, would be there in a matter of minutes, and would like for us to pray for him.”
In the statement to his congregation, Platt wrote, “ I only want to lead us with God’s Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God. So while I am thankful that we had an opportunity to obey 1 Timothy 2 in a unique way today, I don’t want to purposely ever do anything that undermines the unity we have in Christ.”
Jerry Falwell, Jr., Liberty University President and known Trump supporter, felt the need to respond to Platt’s statement on social media, as he is wont to do.
He took to Twitter, qualifying his comments by saying “Sorry to be crude but …” followed by “pastors like [David Platt] need to grow a pair. Just saying.”
Unsurprisingly, many of Falwell’s followers weren’t happy with him using that kind of language. However, instead of apologizing, the leader repeatedly doubled down on his sentiments, reminding everyone he has “never been a minister” and bragged about his personal achievements.
When a follower said, “What an unbelievable statement from someone who calls themselves a minister of the gospel. @LibertyU should call on you to repent,” Falwell responded, “You’re putting your ignorance on display. I have never been a minister. UVA-trained lawyer and commercial real estate developer for 20 yrs. Univ president for last 12 years-student body tripled to 100000+/endowment from 0 to $2 billion and $1.6B new construction in those 12 years.”
You’re putting your ignorance on display. I have never been a minister. UVA-trained lawyer and commercial real estate developer for 20 yrs. Univ president for last 12 years-student body tripled to 100000+/endowment from 0 to $2 billion and $1.6B new construction in those 12 years
— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) June 4, 2019
Falwell continued, “The faculty, students and campus pastor @davidnasser of @LibertyU are the ones who keep LU strong spiritually as the best Christian univ in the world. While I am proud to be a conservative Christian, my job is to keep LU successful academically, financially and in athletics.”