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Transformation of the nation begins in the church, Land says

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Spiritual awakening in America will only begin when Christians return to God with humility, dependence and obedience, said Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“If God’s going to bless America, it will start with a revival among God’s people,” he said during a Feb. 4 chapel service at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. “We must have 100 percent of born-again Christians practicing what they preach, walking the talk.”

Land, an NOBTS alumnus, has served on the frontlines of the moral battle in America. During his time at NOBTS, he pastored at Vieux Carre Baptist Church in the French Quarter, an area known for decadence and immoral behavior. Under his leadership the church saw the lives of drug users, prostitutes and occult practitioners transformed by the gospel message.

Drawing from 2 Chronicles 7:14, Land said this conditional promise from God to hear the pleas and heal of a nation is dependent on the people’s response to sin. If Christians return to God, he will begin to truly bless America, Land said.

The text calls for believers to humble themselves before God. Land offered a suggestion of what this type of humility entails.

“It means that we come to the end of our resources and we understand that we don’t have the answers for our problems,” he said. “Only God has the resources to sustain us and deliver us.”

Seeking provision any other way voids the promise, Land said. Our work, our effort, our finances will not bring about the change God desires, he said.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, believers are instructed to pray to God and listen for his direction. These prayers, he said, are more than voiced concerns, but listening for God’s response and adjusting one’s life to his ways.

“If we want God to bless America, get obedient,” Land said. “He is not going to bless us if we are enmeshed in the web of pornography.”

The church is not insulated from the sin of pornography, Land said. Pornography is especially dangerous, he said, because it “rewires” people to be more self-serving and contributes to the divorce problem in America.

“It is the most powerful tool in Satan’s arsenal right now in destroying spiritual health,” Land said. “It is spiritual toxic waste.”

Land said he is confident God wants to bless and heal America. This blessing, he said, will result in more committed believers and increased success in evangelism.

Land’s primary task at the ERLC is to call Christians to align their lives with the teachings of Scripture and help bring spiritual transformation to America. A well-respected communicator, Land gives Baptists a voice before government officials and the secular media on important moral issues.

“The [ERLC] has been assigned the responsibility to deal with moral, social, religious liberty and ethics issues,” Land said. “We talk to Southern Baptists and call them to be where we believe Southern Baptists ought to be based upon God’s Holy Word.”

“Richard Land is known throughout the Southern Baptist Convention and across our nation as one of the most brilliant minds dedicated to service to the Kingdom of God,” NOBTS President Chuck Kelley said in his introduction of Land. “He is a wonderful representative of Jesus Christ.”

Last June, Land released a new book, “For Faith and Family: Changing America through Strengthening the Family,” designed to encourage and equip families to become a force in reaching the nation for Christ. The book comes at a time when the SBC has a renewed focus on the role of the Christian family.

The SBC Council on Family Life will unveil a strategy at this year’s SBC annual meeting in Phoenix which calls for Southern Baptists to commit themselves to develop “Kingdom families.” The goal of this initiative is to strengthen Christian families and help them actively participate in fulfilling the Great Commission.