Is there any hope whatsoever for the United States, or are we destined to destruction?
In a Christ in Prophecy series titled "America's Christian Heritage," Dr. David Reagan interviews a historian who says the Bible has a hopeful answer to this dire question.
For over forty years the Rev. Peter Marshall has gained national recognition as a teacher and writer on America's Christian heritage. Because he believes that our nation is in moral and spiritual crisis and that the only hope for restoration is revival, his increasingly prophetic ministry focuses on two major themes — recovering the original American vision with the truth about our Christian heritage, and putting 2 Chronicles 7:14 on national repentance into practice.
Son of the famous Senate chaplain Dr. Peter Marshall and author Catherine Marshall, Rev. Marshall has devoted himself to a continent-wide ministry of preaching, teaching and writing. He has co-authored three best-selling books about God's call on America and His hand on our history — The Light and The Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet. His ministry is called Peter Marshall Ministries.
If My People
Rev. Marshall: I think absolutely there is hope. My ministry's verse is 2 Chronicles 7:14 and has been for many, many years. That verse starts with a two letter word that is critically important — "if." In other words, this is conditional. There are no slam dunks here, okay.
"If my people who are called by My name," so this is aimed at the believers, not the unbelievers, "If my people will humble themselves," meaning before we get humbled, "if they will pray and seek my face," which is more than just showing up at church once a week, and thirdly, and here is the key thing, "if they, the believers, will turn from their wicked ways," the ways of self, the ways of half-hearted commitment, then God says, "I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land." There will be healing of the land, because that is what He is promising based on our fulfilling these conditions.
The healing of the land depends upon our turning from our wicked ways. That's why the call to repentance is so critically important. It is the key to Americans being saved. It is the key to the nation surviving, much less fulfilling the role of moral and spiritual leadership in which we are called.
So, there is hope, but it's got to start with the body of Christ. We've got to go deeper in Jesus. We've got to push through this shallow, superficial, "bless me Jesus, take away all my pains, and problems, and make life better for me, self-centered" focused. The body of Christ is not focused on going deeper in Jesus, but rather it is just focused on picking up the blessings. That doesn't work. That's not New Testament Christianity.
Dr. Reagan: One of the things about that verse that you just quoted that is encouraging is the Lord does not say that everybody has to repent, He says, "If my people." The people are called by His name. But, the problem is that Christians all across this nation — we are all part of the problem! If Christian would stop buying lottery tickets, the lotteries would close down. If Christians would stop getting abortions, the abortion mills would go out of business. We are talking about people who call themselves Christians.
Rev. Marshall: Right, right.
Dr. Reagan: That is what I am talking about. We are part of the problem.
Rev. Marshall: There is a superficial Christian veneer which I call "Cultural Christianity." You find it especially in the South where there has been more of a tradition of evangelicalism that is simply a veneer. It is what I call "good ol' boy Christians." It goes, "Well, of course I am a Christian. I go to Church, don't I?" You know, this kind of Christianity.
But, where is Jesus in this picture? Where are you with Jesus? That's the crucial question. Is Jesus really a personal Savior and Lord in your life on a daily basis? Do you rely on Him?
The older I get and the longer I live, the more I realize that there really is nothing but Jesus. He should be everything — everything — in your life!
We have got to go deeper. Jesus Himself said, "If any man would come after me..." (if you want to be a Christian) "...let him..." (what?) "...deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me." "Daily" is in Luke's version of that verse. That's called self-denial, a topic we don't hear preached from the pulpits today. But, this is what opens the power of Jesus to be loosed in your life. Then you can get really serious about dealing with that fallen, old, sinful nature in there that you are still carrying around even though you have been born again for years and became hopefully filled with the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Reagan: You are really touching on the essence of Christianity there, because it really is not a religion. It is a relationship.
Rev. Marshall: Absolutely! It is a relationship that is supposed to be ever deepening on a daily bases. We are supposed to be getting more and more into union with Jesus, less of self, and more with Jesus on a daily basis. And yet, this is not being taught. The level of preaching and teaching in our churches today is the worst I have ever seen it in my entire lifetime. It is just not there. We preachers are not calling people to this deeper life.
Dr. Reagan: This is reflected in the polls that are taken every year of entering freshmen into evangelical colleges like Wheaten. Every year they give them a quiz on basic Bible knowledge with really "tough" questions like, "Name one of the Apostles?" and "Name one of the Gospels?" They can't answer them! These are Christian kids coming from evangelical churches, and you are left wonder if the youth ministries are only having weenie roasts. They are certainly are not studying the Word of God.
Rev. Marshall: A side effect of the whole mega church movement is that it is awfully easy to get lost in the cracks. A lot of pastors are aware of this, and there are a lot of good pastors out there who are really trying to deal with this. But, I sometimes think with a lot of these churches across the land are only worried about getting a Starbucks in the lobby. Really, the body of Christ is not in good shape here in America.
Now, worldwide, where is the explosion of genuine New Testament Christianity happening? It's in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The locus of real biblical Christianity and belief in biblical Christianity has moved into the Southern Hemisphere. There's been a shift out of the Northern Hemisphere. There is a shift globally going on, and tragically the North American continent is being left out of this revival. We've got all this show of Christianity here, but where is the power of Jesus? Where is the repentance? Where is the revival? We've got a lot of homework to do in a literal sense.
America's Christian Heritage DVD