Mark Noll, in his book, “God and Race in American Politics” cites polling that confirms what we all know – that white evangelicals and black Protestants show the greatest polarization among any constituencies among the two political parties. Noll then points out, “In light of these dramatic partisan differences keyed to race and religion, it is pertinent to remember one more fact documented by a wealth of poling – that the two identifiable groups within the American populace standing closest to each other on questions of religious belief and moral practice are white evangelicals and black Protestants.”
What does this show to the world? It shows that we are not known for our love for one another (John 13). More importantly, however, is how this must grieve the Holy Spirit.
One Church One City (www.onechurchonecity.org) has sought to bring unity in the body of Christ starting with these two groups – united in belief and practice – but opposing each other on most social and political actions. While we differ in many areas – we have found that on the most important and fundamental matters of life and faith – the issue of race falls away, and we are drawn toward relationship with, and service to, one another. We continue to pray, and are eager to see where the Lord takes us.
As an answer to prayer for revival and unity, we recently heard of a national call for spiritual awakening – an initiative of Life Action Ministry (headquartered southwest of here in Buchanan, Michigan) – by the name of One Cry (www.onecry.com). We thank God for the heart of Randy Hekman and others associated with One Cry. Already, the resources and affiliations of One Cry are expanding our horizons. The composite of these works show that our moral chaos has reached levels like those that led to the great awakenings in our nation’s past. Now, as then, prophetic voices are crying up to God for a revival in the church and an awakening among the lukewarm and unbelieving.
As believers reach a point of total disgust as to the moral and social collapse about us – we are soon confronted with our sin and the need to repent. This will bring us to a new hunger for God’s word and prayer – all for the purpose of bringing glory to God – and to His call – which is unity. The One Cry call is likewise – TURN – PRAY – UNITE.
Personally, I am convicted in yet another area that I have been suppressing, but has been stirred up in me recently when I picked up a book by David Platt, “Radical – Taking back your Faith from the American Dream.” I set it aside a few years ago after reading a couple chapters – not ready to embrace it’s message. Now as I read it, I keep thinking that this will return us to the faith and practice – and power – of the church as described in Acts. Am I now ready to take up its message?
In an effort to simplify a very complex society and sickness we face today – these four R’s sort of popped up: Revival, Race, Repentance and Radical.
And so, as we anticipate the National Day of Prayer this Thursday, there is much to cry up to God for. Among these may include: Revival fueled by Repentance to bring us to Radical life in Christ – and uniting the church across race and other “tribal distinctions.”