Pastor A.R. Bernard at Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo by Michael Chan via arbernard.com

Brooklyn megachurch pastor explains why he left the president’s evangelical advisory board

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (RNS) — Preaching days after he became the first member of the White House's evangelical advisory board to resign after the president's comments on Charlottesville, Va., the Rev. A.R. Bernard said he sees the controversy swirling around the board as a sign that "God is at work."

Bernard, senior pastor of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, a predominantly African-American congregation, found himself one of few minority members on the board when Trump established it during his campaign.

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He told his congregation that he took heat for joining the board, but considered it an opportunity to influence policy for the good of people in need, and to assure that minority voices would help shape the board's counsel.

The Rev. A.R. Bernard. Screenshot via youtube

"Can we talk this truthful in church?" he asked at the noon service. "Speaking in absolute terms, I would love to be a Christian first. But America has created an environment that forces me to be first aware of the color of my skin, then, the content of my character, and my Christian conscription."

Bernard, 64, tweeted news of his resignation from the board Friday (Aug. 18) after a week in which the president came in for intense criticism for remarks about a white supremacist march in Charlottesville the previous weekend.

To many critics Trump seemed to draw a moral equivalence between neo-Nazi marchers and a group protesting their bigotry, one of whom died when a car driven by a white supremacist plowed into her.

Delivering one of three sermons, as he usually does on Sundays, Bernard said that the president's characterization of Charlottesville had provided some clarity before he decided to leave the advisory board.

"I took a lot of heat for joining, and I took a lot of heat for leaving," he said.

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After tweeting his resignation, Bernard appeared on Joy Reid's show on MSNBC, and Don Lemon's show on CNN, where he said he does not think his former colleagues on the board also need to resign, but said they should call out the president when he errs.

“I would love to see more of the evangelical leaders who are on the board make strong statements in reaction to it, and that doesn’t mean they have to abandon him,” he said. “But they should come out and say something of substance.”

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Many people of faith upset at Trump's comments rebuked members of the evangelical advisory board for failing to resign in response, and compared them unfavorably to the wave of executives on two White House business councils who publicly said they could no longer serve a president who seemed to be reluctant to call out white supremacists.

Bernard told his congregants that this spotlight on clergy in a national debate about race is a good thing, and that they can play an important role in closing racial rifts.

"I'm excited to play any part I can in the closing of the break," he said.

And he asked his congregation to keep praying.

"No prayer — or vote — can be ignored."

Comments

  1. If his life experience has required him to filter his responses and priorities in the order he listed, then as a Christian he has them precisely in the reverse order of what they ought to be. Without reference to the president and his limitations, The pastor in question ought to rethink his priorities as a spokesman for Christ.

  2. As president of the United States it should not be that hard to make a simple statement about racism. Go with it is wrong and evil. When questioned further about events in Charlottesville say, we need to look into the most effective ways of eradicating racism in our country. It is not that hard to pull off.
    When your words as the president of the United States further divide a divided country why stay on that narrative? As part of the presidents leadership team why defend poor leadership? Today it is the definition of leadership, advisory, and council that is being redefined. Words matter, leadership matters, what if it was servant leadership that was demonstrated by this group instead of lordship over servants? That is the feeling I get from this leadership group when I hear them tow the line on the president’s talking points.

  3. Oh yes there is. People are getting the message that nobody on ANY side is gonna get a free pass anymore.

    (That includes YOU, Chuck Todd of NBC. Hope you enjoy the heat !!!)

    Anyway, Rev. Bernard’s a relatively good preacher as far as I know, but he’s finding out that this includes him as well.

    P.S. I think Bernard knows it too — that’s why he’s holding his cards REAL close to his vest regarding his alleged ‘”softer” views on gay marriage. He better not be playing around with any rat-poison “evolving beliefs” mess!

  4. well i, do not believe that ELOHEEM and/or THEIR Son wanted your blasphemy advising the high priest of this nation.

  5. Good for Rev Bernard, but what took him so long? As for the rest of the evangelical leaders who are sticking with the Awful Oaf in the Offal Office, these guys are at best pseudo-Christians who are pleased to suck up to a narcissistic buffoon who would know ethics from a hole in the ground.

  6. Hey,Jimmie Cooper Boswell,who are you and what the what are you talking about? I sincerely hope that you’re not one of those endless,dreary self-taught wanna-be “prophets,teachers,gurus,blah blah blah who thinks everyone else has got The Scriptures wrong and your here to set everyone straight” and on and on ,or worse,one of those pseudo so-called”Isrealites”(God,please—deliver us from THEM,please!!! ?)—So…who are you? I await your reply,if any.—-PEACE IN YESHUA HA MASCHIACH! ?.

  7. You ought to share that thought with the rest of the world, don’t limit yourself.

  8. let me guess, you! think it is an accident that congress and the administration is modeled after the san hedreen about 2,000 years ago? with our very own version of the phareesees and saddoocees.

    and yes i am, an ordained pastor. who, recognizes your scriptures have been altered. even the names, jews, jehovah, jesus, james, john, peter, paul, and mary should be sufficient indication scripture has been politically correct modified (altered). Yesraelees Then, did not give their children with latin, greek, catholic, or english, based names.

    but basically i am, a Torah Scholar. nor is being a true prophet, a personal career choice. it is something that, can’t be taught but is Given. nor am i, impressed by anyone who can’t even transliterate Yeshooah HaMosheeach correctly either. and any prophecy that, cannot be found in The Torah Scroll is not true prophecy. and i, know where to find The Story of The Son of ELOHEEM for The End Time in The Torah Scroll.

    but basically i am THEIR Male Child, spoken of in THEIR Torah, and your book of Revelation at this end of THEIR Sixth Day again. from the last world to come again, to this world to come again, to THEIR next world to physically come again.

    Yebharekh-Kha Adonaee/y, Veyeeshnereka…
    Ya’er Adonaee panav elekha veehooneekha…
    Yeesa Adonaee panav elekha veeyasem lekah shalomcha – vshalomech…

  9. Isn’t this forum part of the rest of the world? I thought it was. And I do not limit such thoughts to this forum.

  10. This is what Christ was saying in Matthew 7:6….”do not throw your pearls to swine…. “

  11. Hey Jimmie Cooper Boswell, thanks for getting back to me.It’s sadly humorous how you answered almost exactly how I thought you would and showed yourself to be what I ascertained you to be.Tell me, why don’t you have an Israelite name? Are you in touch with the so-called “Black Hebrew Israelite”movement? Can you translate that gobbledegook you spewed out at the end of your post,or is it one of those made-up languages individuals of your ilk routinely employ? At any rate,I hope your reply will be a little more coherent than your last; I wait for it with bated breath. (And YESHUA HA MASCHIACH is as correct translation of JESUS THE CHRIST as you think YOURS is. Live with it. ?).

  12. gees what an eevreet scholar, you are??? there are no such words as hebrew, israelite, yeshua, jesus, or christ in eevreet. the letters w, i, u, and j do not exist in the eevreet language. none of your, stuff are a legit translations or transliterations.

    and the translation of Yeshooah is – his/her redemption. and xrist (pronounced christ) is greek for anointed. and the present tense eevreet word for anoint is –
    mashakh. and Yaachov’s name was changed to Yesrael not israel. Abram The Eevree spoke eevreet. bastardizing eevreet, makes your doggy doo stuff gobbeldegook.

    and there is a command, to not alter scripture even in your so called new testament. regardless of whether somebody else, altered it for you or not it is blasphemy – nor do i have to be coherent according to your taught corruption.

    i am, only required to make sense with ELOHEEM not this senseless taught to lie world. do you really believe you have been taught the truth, by this whole lying world?

  13. Hi,

    In Jesus, our Bridegroom we are Royal Priests and we Preach Gospel and not the dead letters of the Bible – 2 Cor,3.

    Atomic War is not far away but in 2023 when Israel is 75 years old. For 70 years Israel shall have full protection but afterwards the Fake circumcised sons of Isaac will kill them. Angel Stephen warned them not to make sons of Abraham through circumcision, the tribal mark of Abraham to Isaac and his seed but when the Jews entered the fold of Hazrat Mohammed Sahib, then they introduced circumcision as you see it today. For detailed knowledge, visit my Youtube channel nijjhar1. Over 5900 Videos explaining all that you need.

  14. If the good Rev. Bernard can’t recognize an honest response on the part of the President, he needs to hit the road. FACT: White Supremacist, Antifa, and BLM are all at fault. I suppose all of his defenders would rather he blindly assign fault to only one side, being of course the side they hate. Maybe the good Rev. should consider leaving his ministry as well as he has trouble handling the truth.

  15. So AR Bernard says that he has more association with those of the same skin color then those who share his saviour?

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