Tasha Cobbs Leonard defends John Gray against critics of his Trump meeting

Photo Credit: Getty

Photo Credit: Getty

Article By Trisha Milton // EEW Magazine News

The criticism of Relentless pastor John Gray has been relentless since he agreed to join other faith leaders for a meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss prison reform.

That’s why a dear friend, Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong NYC, felt compelled to defend the South Carolina leader, as well as other supporters like Grammy-winning worship leader Tasha Cobbs Leonard.

“Thank you for your huge heart. Thank you for your commitment to your family,” wrote the singer in a heartfelt Instagram post. She serves as a worship leader at Gray’s South Carolina church.

“Thank you for your submitted life to the works God has called you to in the earth. Your assignment is huge and impactful. Always know that I have your back both publicly and privately," she added.

Gray, also an associate pastor at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, told CNN he only accepted the controversial invitation to help "people who look like me" benefit from the president's prison reform efforts. Gray further quoted Martin Luther King Jr.’s wisdom, saying, “We cannot influence a table that we are not seated at.”

Nonetheless, many expressed that as long as Trump is at the table, it isn’t one worth sitting at. Some even accused Gray of simply wanting a photo opportunity and increased visibility—something he denies.

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

In a response to critics on social media, Gray admitted that he was hesitant about attending the meeting because he knew the decision would be controversial.

"My first mind was no. The pain of so many is too real. The hurt. The isolation. The sense of disenfranchisement. The real hate that has bubbled to the surface of the national discourse. I myself have been vocal about my personal disagreements with key policy decisions of this administration," Gray explained.

"I have everything to lose. Credibility. Reputation. Every natural inclination says stay home. Don't get played. But I did the one thing I can't shake: I prayed again and asked God, 'Do You want me in that room?'”

The answer, he said, was yes.

And as far as Cobbs Leonard is concerned, that is the most important thing.

“It’s best to just stay focused on Jesus. Thank you for doing just that. Your ear to hear has been proven. Your life speaks for itself,” she continued. “The posture of your heart is right. The impact of your voice is sure. People won’t always understand what God instructs you to do. So what. Do it anyway!”

Gray was among about 20 black pastors and Christian leaders who met with the president. Photos from the meeting showed him sitting to the right of Trump, which led some to accuse him of being an “Uncle Tom.”

In an Instagram post, Lentz wrote, "John please remember, we are not allowed to pick and choose who we lead, who we love, who we influence. It doesn't matter if the person is hated, or universally loved. It doesn't matter if the person is homeless, or internationally famous. It does not matter if people will impugn your motives, or the motives of a person in this case, inviting you to his table. We are under orders to do what's right, especially in the face of what is wrong.”