From Christianity Today, the following quotes:
“The righteous have dominion, but only through imprecatory prayer against the ungodly.”
– Wiley S. Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, California, urging Christians to pray against Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
“The emphasis I tried to leave was love … that they need to have love for the people who were opposed to them.”
– Billy Graham, on his relationship with 11 presidents.
The most shocking thing about that first quote? A Southern Baptist used the word “imprecatory.” Unfortunately, old Wiley isn’t up on his Baptist history. Separation of church and state is kind of a big deal for Baptists. Southern Baptists should never speak in public. Ever. Richard Land should speak for all of them – not because I agree with him, but because he is intelligent, well-spoken and thoughtful.
Billy Graham’s quote is one of the main reasons he will be remembered for generations and Wiley will not, except maybe as a crazy person. Calling down curses on the “ungodly,” and defining “ungodly” as anyone who disagrees with you is probably not the most effective evangelism tool out there. As Billy Graham’s time on this earth draws to a close, we can all look to the example of his life as not perfect, but obedient. He used a method that was honest for him to communicate God’s love to the world.
So, to all the Wileys of the world – sit down, shut up, and love your neighbor.