More than 100 evangelical pastors and leaders from across the nation gathered Monday night for a special dinner event at the White House.
Among those in attendance was NRB’s president & CEO, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, as well as a number of NRB members, including Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., Robert Jeffress, Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Greg Laurie, Richard Land, Ronnie Floyd, Jack Graham, Eric Metaxas, and David Jeremiah. Also present were key government officials including Vice President Mike Pence, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway.
“It was my honor to represent National Religious Broadcasters at a White House dinner graciously hosted by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for the purpose of recognizing the contributions of evangelicals to American society,” said Johnson. “I’m grateful for all that this administration is doing to advance religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and other first principles that are so important. Participants representing an ethnically, racially, and denominationally diverse cross-section of evangelicalism were grateful for the opportunity to hear our President and be heard by our President, as well as share our views with key Trump administration leaders.”
During the event, President Donald Trump hailed America as “a nation of believers,” and extended prayers and condolences to the victims of the recent shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, as well as the family of the late Sen. John McCain, who passed away this past Saturday. He also highlighted several positive developments in the country, including the rise in the stock market, the drops in unemployment rates, the advancement of prison reform, and the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem following the White House’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.
“We’re here this evening to celebrate America’s heritage of faith, family, and freedom,” the President said.
“Every day, we’re standing for religious believers, because we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of American life,” he added, after listing several examples of how his administration has been protecting religious liberty, including ordering a reprieve from the Johnson amendment and the launch of the White House’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative.
“Together, we will uplift our nation in prayer, defend the sanctity of life, and forever proudly remain one nation under God,” he added.
After his remarks, the President and First Lady were presented a Bible signed by some of those present. Inscribed in the Bible were the following words: “First Lady and President, you are in our prayers always. Thank you for your courageous and bold stand for religious liberty, and for your timeless service to all Americans. We appreciate the price that you have paid to walk in the high calling. History will record the greatness that you have brought for generations.”
The evening’s festivities also included an open mic time, during which many pastor and leaders shared their thoughts and prayers.
“It’s important for Christians to fulfill their biblically ordained citizenship duties and to take advantage of every opportunity to offer our convictions and counsel to government officials, especially the President of the United States,” said Johnson. “That the President and First Lady desired to offer this opportunity is highly commendable and is deeply appreciated by me.”
Greg Laurie, who closed the evening in prayer, reported later in a blog post that he prayed for the President to receive wisdom from God and to be surrounded by good and godly people.
“I also prayed for his protection as so much weight is placed on his shoulders, he should ‘Not worry about anything, but pray about everything’ (Philippians 4),” said Laurie. “If he would do that, God promises that ‘His peace would guard his heart and mind.’
“It was truly a privilege to be a part of this wonderful evening, as I never want to pass up on the chance to pray and share God’s Word with the leaders of our country, regardless of if they are Democrats or Republicans,” he added. “Remember, revival starts with you and me first.”
Read more at White House Hosts Dinner for Evangelical Leaders.