Posted by: johnnyp1978 | September 3, 2008

Sorry, Joel, you are wrong

Not sure who all saw Joel Hunter’s prayer at the end of the Democratic National Convention. Here it is:

Here’s his defense for what he did and I am going to comment on each paragraph:

Open Letter From Dr. Joel C. Hunter—Benediction Prayer

Filed Under (Joel C. Hunter, News Room) by Robert Andrescik on 02-09-2008

There are several things to remember when praying in a public setting:

1. Prayer is not a speech with a hidden agenda; it is a direct request to God for help.  Therefore, it demeans prayer to use it to get points across to an audience other than God.  My prayer was my request to God and an invitation for the people of all faith traditions that our country welcomes to join me in it.

Can you access God apart from going through the cross of Jesus? I wouldn’t suggest anyone come to the throne before they are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness. Proverbs 15:8 says, “The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.”

2. Prayer in public is not a tool of evangelism, but it has a tone that will set the stage for evangelism by taking people from where they are in their faith (Acts 17:22) and making possible follow up conversations.  I am hearing accounts from many Christians who were in the stadium (including my wife) who had conversations with non-Christians that resulted in Kingdom progress. I have many responses from non-Christians saying, in essence, “Thank you for including us in the prayer, I thought evangelicals only cared about scoring points for their faith. You made me think you cared enough about me that we could have a conversation.”  And I have also received responses from non-Christians who thought it was wrong for me to say “In Jesus’ name” because I had the microphone and those are the words that rang out through the stadium and resounded throughout the convention as many Christians scattered throughout the crowd voiced “In Jesus’ name” as well.

Well, Joel, why did you say “In Jesus’ name” then? You should have just said “Amen” without the address to Jesus. You made a little mistake there in trying to not offend nonbelievers. In fact, what about those atheists out there, they couldn’t close the prayer at all. Prayer isn’t a tool of evangelism? Choose your words wisely. Evangelism wouldn’t happen apart from prayer. Prayer is a gift given only to those who believe; no one else has the privilege believers have. So, prayer can be evangelistic showing non-believers that through Jesus Christ we have full access to the throne of the Father.

3. Christians must not be afraid to be the Truth in the midst of other religions.  Truth will always win, but it will be constrained if we “insist on our own way” of approaching the universality of Christ.  John 14:6 is true; how some can realize that Truth must come from a broader conversation than “my God is true; your god is false”.

Who’s out there just saying “my God is true; your god is false?” But no one should shy away from stating that truth either. I think the Book of Psalms flows with bold statements claiming our God being the only true God.

4. I did not ask people to pray to another god; I asked them to finish a prayer according to their faith tradition. This may be a small point linguistically, but it is a huge point theologically.

You and Wittgenstein must be best buds.

5. Creating an environment where people can cooperate without having to compromise their core beliefs will eventually win more people to Christ than pronouncing Christ over them at the end of a prayer.

Scripture please. Not sure where the Bible talks about cooperation with pagans.

6. As I said in worship, to protect the integrity of “in Jesus’ name”, the person praying must make sure that either a) He or she is only emphasizing their own ending to the prayer, as Donald Miller did when he ended “I pray this in Jesus name” or b) He or she does not misrepresent people that they have asked to join them in prayer.  That would be taking the Lord’s name in vain.

Only true prayer can be done in Jesus’ name.

I could go on from here, but you get the idea.  As you may imagine, I prayed long and hard before feeling like God had given me the precise words for this prayer.  I believe that He in His sovereign way will use it to bring people to Himself.

Might want to pray longer and harder next time and use the Lord’s Prayer as your outline. Kind of can only address the true living God according to that prayer.

I also hope that you will see the mention of other religions as an opportunity to lift up the one true God, not as a threat to His universality.


With appreciation and blessings,




  1. Your spot on brother!
    This is a terrible disease, the interfaith movement that I say is the religion of the false prophet to come. The Harlot of Babylon that takes all customers.
    I’ve even been shocked to see this disease in preachers like Ravi Zacharias who denied the name of Yeshua at a prayer breakfast last year. Why? You know why. It seems that no one can be offended except God Himself and His true church.
    We have truly become as the scum of the world.
    1Co 4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

    As we should be, since darkness hates the Light.
    Every day I see more and more, that the great falling away, the apostasia is fulfilled all around us.
    Even so, come Lord Yeshua!

    Your brother in Messiah
    Vexed in Sodom, CA
    Babylon the Great

  2. Johnny P – I enjoyed the insightfulness of your rebuttal as well as the comment from Daniel. I am blessed by the Truth and the Light which is written here! There is so much false information being bantered about by the New Conservative Evangelicals. What’s new? Nothing much from what I can see other than compromise to the enemy. Northland – A Church Distributed, will no longer be my church home after 16 years. Very sad.

  3. Joel, Why must you interject politics into your sermons??? O.k. the BABY killer who you back openly has won. Why must you rub the noses into the mud those who do not believe in your wrong spirit of hope. The comment you made today (1-25-09) ABOUT THE HOPE OF TODAY AND THE NO HOPE FOUR YEARS AGO WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF LINE. Do YOU REALY THINK YOU ARE DOING THIS CONGREGATION JUSTICE WITH THESE COMMENTS??? How can you be so strong for a man who made one of his first executive decisions to allow my tax money be used to murder little innocent unborn baby’s all over the world . Jesus said “Let the little children to come unto me” How can they come unto Him, if you stand behind a man who would allow them to be turn apart from the mother’s Womb? Check the spirit you are following. It does not seam to me to be the spirt Matt. 19-14

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