By Andy Johnson, Pastor Cross Roads Baptist Church, Farmerville
In 1775, America was in the beginning stages of the Revolutionary War with Great Britain. General Washington was attempting to summon a rag-tag group of soldiers to fight against the British forces.
It was a time of great patriotism and faith in God, with many preachers feeling the call of God to leave their pulpits to fight the British on the battlefield.
Churches experienced a lack of spiritual leadership due to pastors joining to fight in the revolution.
As a result, the Great Awakening of the first part of the century died down and gave way to immorality, drunkenness, profanity, gambling, robbery, and sexual promiscuity.
There was also a strong anti-Christian sentiment that crept into the states because of French liberal infiltration of the newly-established colleges.
In the late 1700s, four students at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia – William Hull, Cary Allen, James Blythe, and Clement Reid – decided to meet privately for prayer, Bible study, and theological discussions.
When other students found out about the prayer gathering, the campus nearly rioted.
The president of the college, John Blair Smith, stopped the persecution, opening his own parlor to them so that they could continue their prayer gathering.
Soon many other students began to join the meetings.
After a few months, the atmosphere of the entire school had changed: the students fell under heavy conviction and got right with God.
This Spiritual conviction spread rapidly throughout the neighboring townships and counties, resulting in revival.
This was the beginning of the second Great Awakening in America, which brought us such notable evangelists as Barton Stone, Peter Cartwright, Frances Asbury, Charles Finney, and John A. Watts.
It cannot be emphasized enough that the second Great Awakening came about as a direct result of fervent and devoted prayer for revival.
Fast forward to today: On May 31, 2010, a North Carolina Pastor, Ron Baity, Pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, was relieved of his duties as an honorary chaplain of the state house of representatives after he closed a prayer by invoking the name of Jesus.
The invocation included prayers for the military, state lawmakers, and a petition to God asking him to bless North Carolina. “When I handed it to the lady,” says Baity, “I watched her eyes and they immediately went right to the bottom of the page and the word Jesus. She said ‘We would prefer that you not use the name Jesus. We have some people here that can be offended.’”
Pastor Baity was allowed to recite the prayer as it was but says that, after a review by House Speaker Joe Hackney, he was relieved of his duties as honorary chaplain of the House.
“You would expect this to happen somewhere else – Cuba, Saudi Arabia,” Baity later said, “(But) you would never anticipate this happening in the United States of America.”
In a word – the pastor said – the decision was “anti-Christian.” Personally, I praise God for Pastor Baity and applaud him for taking a stand on behalf of the Lord Jesus.
It is becoming increasingly more difficult for Christians to live out our faith in the secular world.
Revisionist history has distorted the truth to say that the Christian faith has never been an important part of our society and culture.
The news media continues to dodge reporting on anything Christian-related because of political correctness.
There is more reporting on Lindsay Lohan, Lebron James, and Lady Gaga than there are on substantive injustices concerning religion and morality.
It seems apparent that absolute truth, and anyone who chooses to take a definitive stand for it, is very unpopular in the secular world. It is also evident that our nation stands in desperate need of a Great Awakening.
Feeling pressure from secular society, much of the church seems to be silent concerning “politically incorrect” teaching or preaching under.
The Bible is not – nor has ever been – politically correct, and we should not be ashamed to stand upon the Truth found in God’s Word. We must realize that it is our Divine duty as ministers of the Gospel to stand up for Christ.
So as the world continues to grow more secular, we should resolve not to be ambiguous when it comes to Jesus Christ.
He tells us in John 15:18-19: If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Our country is in desperate need of revival. Please pray for the Church to be revived and our country to experience yet another Great Awakening.