Sarah Palin said that America needs a “Come to Jesus” moment about our national debt. The same is true of our debt to each other.
Prayer can unite us. Petty differences in theology, especially in literature, have only ever divided us. We’ve got the Church Councils. We have the Bible. Why can’t we come together and pray?
The American Church must evaluate Christian leaders based on their ability to bring distant Christians together. I don’t merely mean their desire to bring Christians together, though that’s a great start.
The last verse of the Old Testament explains the spirit of the New Testament: Turn the hearts of the fathers to the sons and the hearts of the sons to the fathers. That was the work of John the Baptist—preparing the way for Jesus.
The 2012 election wasn’t about Democrats vs Republicans. We elected a Republican House and a Democrat President. No. It was about parents vs children. The parents vote GOP while the kids vote Obama. In some cases it’s vice versa. Doesn’t that make you thirst for Malachi 4:6?
Whatever theology you think is so important that it keeps you from praying with other Bible-believing Christians is heresy from Hell. The New Testament command that we be united in Christ, as one Body, and fulfill the Great Commission is clearer, more absolute, and more ignored, than any teaching of the early Church Councils. Joe Stowell, Cornerstone University, said that Jesus’ prayer in John 17 remains unanswered. Disunity over lesser theologies must be regarded as heresy. We can banter about those questions over coffee, as we assemble to pray both before and after.
The Church must drop superstitions that prayer makes people lazy or opposed to hard work. Prayer doesn’t make people oppose hard work anymore than hard work makes people oppose prayer. Though, it seems that the two are at odds. Why don’t we ever choose both? In Hong Kong the youth have a saying, “Add oil.” Hong Kong youth have a city-wide, monthly prayer and worship gathering called Resound. Every Christian is invited—and in Hong Kong, both Pentecostals and Baptists are regarded as Christians. Asia is more united than America and they aren’t afraid to pray.
Billy Graham started the Lausanne conference. Though it was planned, some call it a “movement”. It pretended to invite the universal Body of Christ, but Charismatics and Pentecostals were uninvited. I’m not saying Graham is a bad person. He’s supernaturally healed people and not even known it. But those meetings did not reconcile the Church, they solidified its division. Maybe it was good. Maybe it was another work for another time. Now, it’s time for unity.
The International House of Prayer in Kansas City has accomplished more for sustained prayer, unity, and reaching across denominational lines, than anything in America before it. IHOPKC does a phenomenal job of both demonstrating and explaining the synergistic partnership between prayer and good works. Examine it yourself. I’m aghast when people find some silly excuse from their past—always with partial information—to abandon the prayer movement on account of some friend Mike Bickle had 20 years ago. Jesus associated with Pharisees, tax collectors, and prostitutes—what the modern day would call, theologians, pimps, and whores. We’d all be in trouble if we had to answer for the reputations of our friends. If we can vote for Bush, we can certainly vote for prayer. Let he who is without a past and without friends throw the first stone at at the faithful prayer warriors in Kansas City.
The Church must declare war on the notion that we can pick and choose God’s commands, and yet retain any of His blessing. God commanded unity. The very moment a leader rejects someone he doesn’t like—for his breath, his family, his friends, his choice of musical instruments, or his micro-theology—the power of that Christian leader completely evaporates. And we are all leaders. No matter how many good words we use, no matter how hard we work, if we’re driving division, we’re driving in reverse—the faster we go, the bigger we lose. If we disobey the command for unity, “move on” into a “divided Great Commission”, act like people should “forgive” us as we cling to partisan evangelism, then we have no right to think that anything but evil will come from our hands.
Fulfilling the Great Commission means that we invite people to repentance. That means we forgive people we ourselves don’t like. Not always, but many times, they are actually right and we’re wrong. Swindoll said that things we hate about other people are often true of ourselves. It’s easier to forgive when we know that we have been forgiven. Forgiveness is easier when we see how valuable friendships can be with people once we all repent unto hope.
So, Palin is right. We need a “come to Jesus” moment about our national indebtedness.