The role of the church in the public square has been the subject of many recent debates. Much of the concern about Christians and the evangelical Church has centered on how we will use our considerable secular power at the ballot box. While I agree that the Church should fully engage in the democratic process, there is much more we can offer the American public.
This article is something of an open letter to the Christian community. After weeks of reflection upon our current national problems, I arrived at a blinding flash of the obvious. My epiphany is that our spiritual standing before God is our greatest gift to the nation. In a manner of speaking, we have friends in “high” places. We are the ultimate insiders.
When we pray and believe things happen. Unfortunately, we have not always understood the ways of God. We often pray when we should lobby and we lobby when we should pray. For example, during the Bush presidency there has been more prayer offered up for the nation than ever. As a result of all the prayer the Lord did many good things. In addition, he also allowed things to occur which could bring the rest of the nation to her knees. There is a war raging in Iraq, the economy is in shambles, and energy costs are soaring. Our national woes may cause millions to lose confidence in false gods, humanistic ideologies, and even their own abilities.
America needs to return to God and the Bible. Radical cultural reform and repentance will release the blessing of God to our land. Without such a spiritual awakening, the nation may languish for years in the throws of economic depression and moral decline. The scriptures say “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” Proverbs 14:24 (KJV).
We Christians have been placed in this nation as a source of inspiration and blessing for America as a whole. The Bible promises that if God’s people will humble themselves and pray that God will hear from heaven and heal our land (2 Chron. 7:14). The Church can release a spiritual blessing on the nation that can turn the fortunes of the entire land around. This will happen as the Church is renewed spiritually. A third great awakening is needed to restore personal holiness to the Church and position the Church.
In Isa. 55:1-5, the Lord promises that if his people return to Him, he will heal their lives and bless their entire nation. Next, we will be a source of blessings and prosperity to many other nations as well. This has certainly been the historic legacy of our nation.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.