The Lord spoke to me in late 2007 that the nation would have to choose whether it would serve the Lord or Baal. Israel had to make a choice in 1 Kings 19 at Mount Carmel. This is the same kind of choice Israel faced in 1 Samuel 9 when it chose Saul as its first king. Struck by this word, I asked the Lord for confirmation. Much to my surprise, Bishop John Giminez, founder of Rock Church and visionary behind Washington for Jesus in 1980, had a very similar visitation from the Lord. He said that the Lord had shown him that America was going to have to make a clear choice in 2008 between right and wrong, good and evil, the Lord’s vision for America or our own will. Essentially, we will have to have either a divine revolution or we will have spiritual ruin.
AMERICA IS OBVIOUSLY
IN A SPIRITUAL SHAKING
It is obvious to everyone that America is going through a spiritual shaking. The economy is in disarray, the war in Iraq is a persistent thorn in our flesh, and domestic ministries struggle a credibility problem. Last week, I was on many major television and radio broadcasts discussing the incendiary remarks of Jeremiah Wright from Chicago. The inflammatory words of a man that claims to be a prophetic preacher were literally heard around the world. I renounce Dr. Wright’s words, his style of preaching will never solve America’s race problem. On the other, I recognize that Wright’s ministry shows us that we are in a “kairos” moment in which racism must be addressed in our land.
Now that the media has exposed the fact that the Church is not united, there is still a huge racial wound deep within the soul of the American Church. The healing that needs to happen in America around the issue of race will come from a truly anointed pulpit. Now is the time for the Church to decide to end segregated churches(except in mono-racial communities). The answer starts with prophet preaching that changes the heart of the Church. After that, we can change the heart of the nation.
TIME FOR ANOTHER SPLITTING
OF THE PULPIT?
Please remember that the revival that Tommy Tenney participated in at Houston began with the splitting of the pulpit. This next move of God is now beginning with the cleansing of the pulpit. We must ask ourselves, is it time for preachers of righteousness to stand up and declare the true Word of God? This Word will bring healing and deliverance to the Church. After the Church is healed, we will be able to heal and direct the nation. The Lord has shown me that as clearly as racism and class distinctions were revealed during the Katrina tragedy, the election is revealing that we have not dealt with the problems of race, gender, and class in our nation.
This election year has brought an entire new slant on what “a person of faith” truly means. Candidates vie for votes by being pro-faith in one debate and pro-humanism in the next. More than ever, Christians need to make the definition clear, reflecting God’s Word alone. This year is a great opportunity to shine our light against the liberal darkness that is making inroads into the Church. After all, the election is an easy topic for discussion.
AMERICA – ABOUT TO ENTER A THIRD
I believe that America is about to enter into a Third Great Awakening in which the Church will rise up and combine spiritual values and social awareness in order to transform our society. We have been amiss to allow the government to take up our mandate to maintain a moral and just society. Government is morally flawed, limited in scope---insufficient to answer the nation’s moral dilemma. Do we really believe that government can make up for the Church’s responsibility to be God’s agent of transformation in the world? This is not indicative of the vision God has for us.
God had a dream for America. It is His prophetic blueprint for us to move into the next decade. Without it, the nation may move into a level of moral freefall that can destroy our nation emotionally, morally, and spiritually. The Old Testament gives us a Biblical precedent for talking about a dream for America. Jeremiah boldly spoke for God and said in the first person: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:11,12, NIV).
The prophet Jeremiah spoke to his nation in a time of moral decline. His words expressed the displeasure of God with Israel as a nation. They had lost their moral orientation and had begun to stagger like drunken men after a night of carousing. Jeremiah told them that they would be punished but that God had a plan for the nation. Specifically the prophet says the following:
For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord. - Jeremiah 29:8–9, NKJV, emphasis added
DREAMS FROM A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE –
AND NOT FROM GOD
Preachers, prophets, and “political pundits” of Jeremiah’s day were developing dreams for the nation, but these dreams were of human origin and lacked the perspective and favor of the Lord.
The Church must be involved in shaping both morality and public policy. To do this successfully, we must grow in self-governance. We must root out religious hypocrisy and immorality within the Church, from those in leadership to the person in the last pew. The do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do approach of the modern Evangelical Church will not be tolerated if our voice is to be heard. I believe that the rash of reports of immorality among church leaders as well as politicians is God’s means to expose sin and rid us of hypocrisy. In order to gain an audience, integrity is paramount.
Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream incorporated these tenets. Integration is but a working model of what the Church can do to transform society. While white Americans believe that racial barriers have been eliminated, blacks still feel that true integration has not happened in America.
God also desires for the Church to stand against one of the most pervasive social dilemmas --- materialism. Within the rank and file of local churches across America, we must preach mammon’s demise. Our toleration for the film industry, pornography, thug rap music, and other ills, which are fueled by the love of money; is unconscionable.
POVERTY IS STILL A KEY PROBLEM
In contrast to this issue is the pandemic of poverty. Although wealth has generally increased across the continent, black and Hispanic poverty levels have actually increased. We are told throughout Scripture that it is the Church’s mandate to support the poor and the outcast. The government’s blundering attempts to legislate welfare cannot come close to meet the demands of the lower class. The response to Katrina was unprecedented…the government failed to provide systematic quick relief, yet the Church was confirmed to be one of the most charitable agencies in monetary and personnel resources.
GOD—AND THE IRAQ WAR
Next, many of us ask ourselves, How does God feel about the War in Iraq? It is clear in Scripture that there are specific attributes of a just war. Does the Iraq War meet this criterion? Time will not allow me to develop this concept doctrinally, however, be assured that God’s dream is that America should be an instrument of humanitarianism wherever corruption and tyranny prevail. Contrast this goal with the goal of Islam. Jihad has violated our soil and terrorized our hearts in order to force the world to Islam. Christianity must bring the dream of equality and love to convert the world to the Gospel.
We believe we can tell a lot about a person by the kind of company he keeps. Yet, Jesus hung out with the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the poor, and the prisoners. He spoke in Matthew 25:36, “I was in prison and you came to visit me.” The Church has a moral responsibility to visit prisoners, help form groundbreaking prison reform policies and provide support for prisoners’ families. Many churches have aftercare programs that train ex-convicts to pursue exciting and valuable careers. Yet, many more are needed.
GOD’S DREAM FOR AMERICA
God’s dream for America, first and foremost, begins within the small unit within every house in America. From trailer to condo, apartment to suburban rancher, the family remains the first institution from which all other elements of society evolve. The Church has made a stand against abortion while our churched teens continue to have premarital sex and abort their babies.
The crisis for the family goes beyond abortion. We have been appalled at the open, lewd demonstrations of homosexuality, yet we divorce our partners at the same rate as secular society. God’s heart is for two parents of the opposite sex to raise families, which will in turn marry and lead the next generation. Premarital and marriage counseling efforts must increase, while we train healthy relationships how to stay healthy. God’s dream demands that this be front and center to the Christian community.
We are God’s conscience to the nation. Our Biblical worldview can transform society by affecting the people we touch on a daily basis. God’s purpose and therefore our purpose is not to catch people doing wrong, but to defend the truth, allowing it to reveal what is wrong so that we all are drawn to the forgiveness that is found in God’s love. The confrontation that truth requires is not pleasant, nor does it make you popular. You will be accused of being judgmental, but defending absolute truth is not judging; it is holding up a standard by which people must judge themselves or ultimately be judged by God.
THE CHURCH CANNOT WISH
AMERICA'S PROBLEMS AWAY
Christians can no longer afford to put their heads in the sand and wish that the problems of America would just go away. We cannot afford to point the finger at government until we turn that accusing finger back toward our failures to fulfill God’s mandate. Prayer and action are the weapons for each person to participate in the Third Great Awakening. Our call to arms is a call to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. The living person of Jesus is the ultimate reformer of all societies beginning with our hearts as individuals and then moving to our churches, our communities and our nation at large. God’s dream is as big as the room we make in our hearts to embrace it and take it forward.
To successfully navigate this Awakening and the challenges that will accompany our ascendance to a new level of influence, we must accomplish two very important tasks. First, we must keep the core values that have defined the movement—the sanctity of human life, the preservation of marriage, and the defense of our Christian faith— as our top priorities. Secondly, without neglecting these core issues, we must also reshape our message and agenda to include other important issues that face our generation—issues like immigration, poverty, the environment, and racial reconciliation. We must lay out a strong moral platform and a strategy that will enable Bible-believing Christians of every color to stand together at this defining moment in the history of our nation.
If you want to participate in God’s dream in a greater way, I would challenge you to read a new book that I have written with Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council. We address seven important issues that are on the minds of voters in this election year. Although we come from different backgrounds and experiences, we have joined together under the Biblical directives that should frame all Christians’ minds and choices in the elections this year. Racial reconciliation is just one of the seven issues:
All seven issues are as follows:
- the value of life
- poverty and justice
- racial reconciliation
- religious liberties
- rebuilding the family
- the environment and global warming
Personal Faith, Public Policy, (available at bookstores everywhere and at amazon.com) will give you points of prayer, strategic steps of action, and clear priorities for public policy.
We can either take the path toward a spiritual awakening that will touch not only our churches but also reform our nation’s policies, or we will veer left and take the path littered with once great nations.
It’s ours to decide.
Harry R. Jackson, Jr.
Hope Christian Church
PO Box 505
College Park, MD 20741