NASHVILLE (BP) — As Americans focus on President Obama’s State of the Union address, they should also consider the spiritual state of the Union, Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd said during an appearance on the Fox News Channel Jan. 20.
“I believe it’s time that the faith leaders of our country stand up and encourage our country to return to God,” Floyd said via Skype on Fox’s “The Real Story.” “This country was based off of a strong Christian faith many, many years ago, and it’s time that we understand that no longer can we check our faith at the door like a piece of luggage.”
Floyd added, “The greatest need in America today is a spiritual awakening.”
In a blog article posted on the Fox website (also posted today on Baptist Press) to accompany his television appearance, Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas, outlined four of America’s greatest spiritual needs:
— “We need to repent.”
— “We need to return to God.”
— “We need the church to wake up.”
— “We need spiritual awakening.”
Followers of Jesus must apply biblical teaching to issues being discussed in the public square, Floyd told host Gretchen Carlson.
“The church, for some reason, at times refuses to get involved in the process of our nation,” Floyd said. “And involvement means that we need to be strong about our faith, but we need to do so with compassion and with hope. But we cannot just sit on the sideline and leave the future of our country to the rest of this world.”
Churches in America “must rise up and give the hope and the peace that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring people’s lives,” Floyd said.
When asked by Carlson whether he is calling politicians to lead America’s return to God, Floyd said he wants all Christians to apply their faith to public life — whether they are politicians or private citizens.
“We need to not compartmentalize our faith whether we’re a politician or whether we’re a Christian out here working in the workplace,” Floyd said. “If we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have a relationship with Him and we believe in His Word, then we obviously need to live out our faith.”
In his blog, Floyd listed problems that highlight America’s need for spiritual awakening.
“The time is now for our nation to recognize that we cannot fix ourselves,” Floyd wrote. “The signs of our brokenness are glistening in our dark world. The blatant destruction of the family, the killing of unborn children, the continuing racial tension, the rebellion against authority, the ongoing reality of poverty, the rising threat of our security, the clear attacks against religious liberty and, of all things, the arrogance to believe the highest court in our land can rule on what the Bible says is genuine marriage testify to just how broken we really are.”
Because of these and other social ills, “The time is now for churches to rise up and address the spiritual state of our nation. With compassion, we need to tell it like it is. With hope, we need to share it like we believe it. With fervency, we need to pray like God alone is our hope,” Floyd wrote.
Following Floyd’s appearance on Fox, Carlson urged Christians in America to speak in the public arena.
“As Dr. Floyd says, this may be the greatest hour for the church to rise up and be the church, to lean in more than ever to serve and influence our communities with understanding and hope,” Carlson said.