The United States is hurtling towards severe trouble, and the events of the past few months — and what may be coming over the next few months — grieves me a great deal.
Something is coming. I don’t know what. But we all must be ready in every possible way.
Consider where we are in the summer of 2015:
Violence is exploding in our cities, schools and churches. The horrific mass murder inside the church in Charleston would be bad enough if it wasn’t just one of innumerable mass killings that have become epidemic in America.
Racism is tearing us apart, and it appears things are getting worse, not better.
The Supreme Court is poised to rule any day now on the definition and future of marriage — and if the Court rules against Biblical marriage I believe this could cause the Lord’s hand to turn against our country in a severe and profound way according to the moral laws found in Romans chapter one.
Abortions are occurring at more than one million in year and have put America on the fast track to judgment. Since 1973, Americans have murdered 57 million children through abortions. The blood of 57 million babies is crying out for justice, and they will get it in God’s sovereign timing. Could that be soon?
If all this wasn’t bad enough, marriages and families are imploding all around us. Poverty is growing. Drug and alcohol use is epidemic. And that’s just here at home.
Abroad, Iran is closing in on The Bomb.
ISIS is exploding across the Middle East, and gaining ground in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
The Kremlin is growing more aggressive.
Yet our politicians continue to bicker, stall, or golf, even as many abdicate their Constitutional responsibilities.
And many Americans have little or no hope for the future, have little confidence in government, little confidence in the media or academia, and far too little confidence in the Church. Indeed, many see little or no reason to go to church, and are drifting from whatever faith they might have once had in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Not all is lost. There are many Americans who love Christ dearly and love His Word and are seeking every day to walk with the Lord and love their neighbors and care for the poor and make the good news of God’s redeeming love known to their lost and drifting nation.
But warnings signs are flashing everywhere. Alarm bells are ringing everywhere. Far too many self-professed Christians are groggy or asleep, and we need a wake up call.
So, is America heading for implosion, or revival?
Right now, I see a case for either. But here’s an interesting update. Thousands of Southern Baptist pastors and lay leaders gathered in Columbus, Ohio, this past week for their annual convention. But this was not business as usual. They gathered to do some serious soul searching.
The good news: the SBC is planting new churches all over America and the number of SBC churches is growing, rising from 46,000 to more than 51,000.
The bad news: these churches are doing less evangelism, seeing fewer people receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and seeing fewer people baptized than at any time in the past 67 years.
Now, I have to admit, normally I don’t follow what’s happening at the annual Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) meetings. I’m not a Southern Baptist. I was raised in New York State by a wayward Orthodox Jewish father and a wayward Methodist mother — wayward, that is, until both my parents became born again as deeply devoted followers of Jesus Christ in 1973 during the height of the “Jesus Movement.”
But since the election of Pastor Ronnie Floyd as SBC president last June, I have started paying close attention. Indeed, I have been deeply moved to see where Pastor Floyd and the SBC are heading. He has spent the last year tirelessly crisscrossing America and the globe urging Baptist pastors and lay people to become more serious and passionate about preaching, teaching and obeying the Word of God, preaching the Gospel to all nations (including Israel and the Muslim world), fulfilling the Great Commission, and pleading with the Lord to revive His Church and give us a Third Great Awakening.
Pastor Floyd has reached out to many pastors and ministry leaders outside of the SBC, as well. He invited me to preach at his congregation in northwest Arkansas last November. We have met and spoken by phone and email numerous times since, including in Israel earlier this year. I couldn’t be more grateful that the Lord has raised Pastor Floyd up at this hour. What’s more, I pray that the Holy Spirit moves powerfully through him — and pastors like him — to wake up the sluggish Protestant church in America and around the world and call us humbly to serve our Lord Jesus Christ without reservation.
This week, Pastor Floyd delivered a critically important and deeply moving message to the SBC convention. This morning, I read the full text, and then watched the video. It was so good, so clear, so strong, that I strongly recommend you read and/or watch the message. Please also share it with others — with everyone you know. Later this week, I will post some key excerpts that were important to me. But for now I just want to make you aware of the message.
Joel C. Rosenberg here