News Articles

6/20/97 Luis Palau: Preaching of cross needed to save U.S. from ruin

DALLAS (BP)–Without preaching about the cross of Jesus Christ, America is destined for ruin, international evangelist Luis Palau warned listeners in the final sermon of the 1997 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
The message of God’s love as expressed by the life and sacrifice of his son, Jesus, has to be fresh for each generation, Palau said. God has no grandchildren.
Palau, said by some to be the next Billy Graham because of the effectiveness of his ministry around the world, used 1 Cor. 9:19 and 2 Cor. 4:8 as his biblical texts.
Queuing off the convention’s “To The Cross” theme, Palau said he wanted to make two points: the cross as it applies to the United States and as it applies to “you and to me as servants of God, as followers of Christ, as leaders of the church.”
America is what it is because of the preaching of the cross of Jesus Christ, Palau said. But thousands of Americans have two wrong concepts: That God automatically is in all of us and that God is dead.
“I feel we have a chore before us,” Palau said. “We have to say to this new generation of Americans, ‘Look, God is not dead. He’s alive! But he doesn’t live in each one of us unless we repent and receive Jesus Christ.'”
Many people, particularly from Latin American nations, forget the resurrected Christ in their reverence for a crucified Christ, Palau said. Unchurched children of Catholics don’t know Jesus lives today.
“No matter how glorious the past, every generation needs to be re-evangelized,” Palau continued. “Every generation in its turn needs to be converted.”
Palau explained how society changes: Thousands of spiritual conversions result in moral and ethical changes that result in stronger families. Then comes justice followed by peace and freedom, out of which comes economic success that leads to a flourishing creativity. Then structures and institutions begin to change.
“In America we need a fresh touch of God,” Palau said. “If we do not preach the cross in America, America will be lost. In two generations we could have a dictatorship in this country.”
History proves his words, Palau said — the Roman Empire, Spain, Britain.
In the 18th-century United States, immigrants for the most part consisted of Brits, Dutch and Scandinavians. In the 19th, it was Brits, Irish and Italians.
“Now it’s Irish, Hispanics, Jewish and Asians, Muslims and Hindu, all of this is happening in this century,” Palau said. “When you talk about going back to the cross, we had better hurry. All the recent immigrants come from Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and a Roman Catholic version of cultural Christianity.
“In the old days it was easy to absorb the English, the Germans and the Scandinavians. Basically they were Bible- oriented,” the evangelist continued. “In the last century it was still quite easy. Though many of the immigrants were Catholic from Ireland and Italy, they had a respect for God and generally for the Bible. Everybody knew America was a Bible-centered Christian nation.
“But in this generation,” Palau said, “if we are ashamed of Jesus Christ, this nation will not be a Christian nation, and that’s all there is to it. The only way to retain Christianity in America is to go back to the cross and back to the Word of God, the Bible. That’s the only way, the only way.
“It’s either back to the Bible or back to the jungle,” he continued. “The jungle is growing up all around us. Gangs are little tribal groups who hate each other. America is falling apart. Abandoned children become violent. If you can kill babies in the womb, why not kill them once they’re out?”
America’s people don’t realize the nation is becoming hardened, the evangelist said.
“The key is the church of Jesus Christ,” Palau preached. “If we’re going to bring America back to Jesus Christ, back to the Bible, we have to preach the cross, the empty cross of Jesus Christ, the resurrected Son of God.”
Believers need to exalt the cross externally and apply the cross internally, Palau said.
“Let’s share the resurrected Christ without any fear and without any holding back or else the jungle will take over and it will never be America the same and our children will suffer,” he said.