WASHINGTON – Don't look to a political leader to deliver needed change in America, but look at yourself as part of the Church to transform society, said an evangelical pastor Saturday at the Values Voter Summit.
Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of the 3,000-member Hope Christian Church in the Washington, D.C area and founder and chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, told the crowd of social conservative voters that he believes America is at a very important moment in its history with both major presidential candidates vowing change if elected.
While he said he was "glad" and "happy" that Sarah Palin was selected as the Republican vice presidential candidate, Jackson warned that values voters should not allow what happened in the past eight years with President George W. Bush in the White House to repeat itself with the new administration.
"I don't think Bush meant to deceive us," Jackson said. "He was a Christian."
"But what happened was that you and I thought that all we had to do was to get somebody into White House and everything would be O.K," he noted.
However, there was not much positive change even with the pro-Christian social conservative Bush in the White House, Jackson lamented.
"[M]ay I say this," the registered-Democrat but social conservative leader offered. "If God gives you grace to have someone with pro-your values in the White House for four more years will you and I do more with it than we did over the last eight?"
In response to his question, he contends that the Church in America has always been called upon to be the change agent.
During the First Great Awakening, for instance, preachers spoke against slavery, and the idea that revival and social involvement go hand-in-hand was advocated, he said.
Yet since then, the Church has failed to "lean wholly on the Lord" and instead has "played the political game with politics" and not with prayers, Jackson criticized.
"But it is about time for you and I to understand it is going to be our spiritual life that is going to make a difference not some messiah," he said, noting his comment applies to both political parties.
"No messiah allowed," he emphasized. "A movement must happen from the grassroots to change America."
Christians therefore should be prepared to pray with intensity like Prophet Elijah prayed for rain.
"So I don't want any backsliding if we don't get the outcome we wanted in this election," he said. "We are going to be some folks praying all the way through it. If we get a godly group of folks in the White House we might have to pray even harder…"
Jackson spoke on the second day of the three-day Values Voter Summit that ended on Sunday.
Values voters from across the nation gathered for the annual summit that featured the nation's top experts in the fields of politics, media, entertainment, and Christian ministry.
Event organizer Family Research Council said it sought to educate, energize, and equip American voters to participate in the political process to change the nation's policies on controversial "values" issues such the sanctity of life and marriage, immigration reform, religious freedom, and judicial activism.
The Summit took place less than two months before the November presidential election.