Last week, I experienced one of the greatest gatherings of faith I have ever witnessed. For a full day, a wide range of leaders assembled at the “Under God, Indivisible” conference – not to debate our theological differences (some of which are significant), not to advance a political party, and not to endorse a candidate. We gathered because we believe that religious freedom, and actually freedom itself, hangs in the balance. We stood side by side in harmony of heart to uphold the liberties our forefathers guaranteed, armed service members fight and die to protect, but which many of our fellow citizens fail to recognize.
For hours, nearly 7,000 thousand registered participants listened to dozens of speakers ranging from Jewish rabbis to Catholic priests, and Protestants from Baptists to Pentecostals. Again, let me stress that this was not a declaration of or attempt to clarify theological differences. We disagree strongly on some very serious points. It is this fact that made it such an amazing event. Because the group was so diverse and, in many ways, significantly different, it was truly miraculous that we could stand up for critical issues on which we do agree. It reminded me of the powerful spirit of unity and wisdom that enabled our founders to establish our nation’s firm foundation.
As a true statesman, Dr. David Jeremiah encouraged every person of faith to register, become informed, get involved, and vote in this election, and from now on. If you don’t vote, he pointed out, you have no right to complain. He was recently asked, “Is God done with America?” His reply: “That’s not the question. The real question is, ‘Is America done with God?’”
Dr. Richard Land, retiring president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, warned, “If America dies, she will die from self-inflicted wounds. We face a far greater peril from our own immorality and our own idolatry than we ever faced from the British army or the German air force or the Japanese navy or the Soviet missile command. But God has not left us without guidance. He told us, ‘If My people which are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.’ The good news and the bad news is the same news! The future of America does not depend on what the lost people do. The future of America depends on what the saved people do, what God’s people do.”
Rabbi Aryeh Spero, the president of Caucus of America, said, “This nation, America, has a unique abiding identity. It is the Judeo-Christian ethic. It is much more than a religious tenet and involves more than what are labeled the ‘social issues.’ The Judeo-Christian ethic is a singular moral outlook. It sees man not as a serf to the redistributionist state, but as a being endowed by his Creator with liberty as befits one created in the image of God. As Jefferson said, ‘The God who gave us life gave us liberty.’”
Ravi Zacharias, who frequently speaks at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, quoted Malcolm Muggeridge about man’s tendency to destroy himself: “He himself blows the trumpet that brings the walls of his own cities crashing down.” He then urged us to look within ourselves and within our churches to “think about the inside” to live with the “imperatives of the Gospel.” He said that the world will only listen to us when we become the church as Jesus Christ designed us to be.
Father Jonathan Morris, the vicar of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, said, “If we’re going to restore our country…we must be men and women of prayer and personal holiness.” He pointed out that the person “who speaks a lot about God, but doesn’t speak very often with God is unlikely to be a long-term, effective instrument of God’s love and power.”
Dr. Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, said, “It is unfortunate today that far too many believers are expecting the solutions to our problems to land on Air Force One…but the first concern should not be who’s in the White House, but who’s in our house…. The maximum amount of our time should not be spent getting the right person in Washington, but getting God back on our side.”
Kenneth Copeland added to that sentiment, saying, “‘In god we trust’ does not begin with government. It does not begin with politics. It begins in the human heart.”
Glenn Beck exhorted the crowd, challenging them to boldly take a stand. “Stand behind God. Let Him be your shield. Let Him be your fire. He will protect you. He will guide you. It is imperative. He is not neutral in the affairs of mankind. He is not neutral in the freedom of mankind. America is necessary for His work to be done and we are not going to be the generation that returns home and says, ‘Sorry, Dad, we blew it.’ Stand!”
In a stirring reminder of the power of the Holy Spirit, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Council, pointed out that “the obituary of American Christianity in the 21st century already permeates both church and society.” But he then declared, “The church of Jesus Christ is still alive in well…God is not done with America and America is not done with God!”
I believe that the church can and must be that city set on a hill. We must let the light of Jesus Christ shine in our community through our individual lives. We must get on our knees before God, then stand for God in every area of society.
Dr. Jim Garlow emphatically stated it’s not liberal or conservative, left or right. It is right versus wrong! I, for one, will stand up for what God declares to be right, regardless of what anyone says or thinks. I will not compromise the truth or hide the light. But it is not enough for me to do it alone. This is the calling of every believer in this nation and on this earth.
Father Sirico made it absolutely clear that economic security and stability depends upon an understanding of and commitment to biblical principles. I personally emphasized that much of the responsibility for the immorality, instability, and uncertainty rests squarely on the shoulders of preachers, pastors, priests, and professing Christians. I also proclaimed that the only hope for correcting our course rests on the shoulders of the same people. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah shared that “the government rests on His shoulders.” The New Testament teaches that born-again believers are His body, which means responsibility for the direction of our nation depends on our response to God’s will and kingdom purpose.
I encourage you to visit www.lifetoday.org/undergodindivisible and first watch the evening sessions, then the afternoon briefings and discussions. Then go out into your community armed with the truth of God’s word for the specific purpose of transforming our culture. If you have not read Indivisible, please get a copy so you will have a better understanding of the issues we face and how to apply effective solutions. Together, we must stand. And together, we can point our nation and the world back to the blessings of our Father in heaven.