RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–God is willing to bring revival in America, but Christians must repent and return to Him, Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land said at an “In God We Trust” Conference hosted by Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, Va.
“[T]here’s nothing in my Bible that says that we can’t have another revival,” Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told worshipers Feb. 14. “There’s nothing in my Bible that says we can’t have another awakening. There’s nothing in my Bible that says we can’t have another reformation.
“The good news is, whether America has a future worth happening doesn’t depend on the lost people. It depends on what the saved people do.”
Land noted, “All great movements of God start with God’s people getting right with God. And when God’s people get right with God, lost people notice.
“When saved men are loving their wives as Christ loved the church, people notice. When we’re loving our neighbors as ourselves, lost people notice. And they want to know what’s happened to us. And as we explain it to them, lost people start getting saved. And that’s called an awakening. And when the saved people who have been revived and the lost people who have been saved apply the truths of Scripture to the evils in their society, you have a reformation. And that’s what we must have.”
The United States “is at a fork in the road,” Land said during the conference’s Feb. 13 sessions. “And it is not a fork in the road that goes left or right. It is a fork in the road that goes up or down…. We have God-sized problems that only God can solve.”
These problems — such as abortion, fatherless families and the divorce rate among Christians — have occurred despite growth in the evangelical church, Land said.
“We have seen over the last 40 years an unprecedented upsurge in evangelical Christianity and with it a decline in the morals of the nation. That seems incongruous,” he said. “I would put it to you that by every measure we could take, there are more born-again Christians — people who understand what it means to believe in Jesus Christ the resurrected Savior as their personal Savior and they’re trusting Him and Him alone for salvation — than at any time in my lifetime.
“And yet our society has gone down in virtually every moral area I can think of but two,” he said, citing racism and sexism as the exceptions.
In reviewing what has happened over the last four decades, Land said, “… we have to come to the conclusion that instead of being salt and light, we have been salted and lit. Society has influenced us more than we’ve influenced society.”
Land told conference participants, “The most dangerous place an American has ever been was in his mother’s womb between 1973 and today. There’s a 33 percent fatality rate. And let’s be honest, it couldn’t have continued without at least the acquiescence of born-again Christians. There are too many of us.”
Land, on Feb. 14, said, “What’s happened to America over the last 40 years could not have happened if the pulpits of the nation were aflame with the fire of the righteousness of God.”
After speaking on 2 Chronicles 7:14 Feb. 13, Land offered Feb. 14 “God’s roadmap for a person, for a family, for a church, for a community, for a country that finds itself far from God.”
Preaching from Jeremiah, chapters 2 through 5, Land said Christians must “remember what it was like when it was right between God and His people,” “realize when it’s not that way anymore,” return “to the foot of the cross,” repent and experience reconciliation or “reckon on the judgment that will come.”
“If God will send the Jews into a Babylonian captivity, He will judge America,” Land said. “I believe we have seen some of that judgment, but it is but a harbinger, it is but a warning, it is but a mere shadow of that which will come” if Christians do not return to God.
“The good news is there is returning; there is repentance; there is reconciliation,” Land said.
Other speakers at the conference were David Barton, president of Wall Builders; Stephen McDowell, co-founder of the Providence Foundation; and Craig Parshall, senior vice president for the National Religious Broadcasters.
Words of Victory Ministries, an extension of Grove Avenue Baptist Church’s media ministry, was the primary sponsor of the conference.
Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.