The growing influence of Hispanics in evangelical Christian churches and organizations has been a blessing, Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said in a Wednesday night speech at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference in Washington, D.C.
"The NAE is an association of denominations, organizations, churches, schools, relief and development agencies and networks of evangelical Christians. It is increasingly Hispanic as we are blessed by the partnership and leadership of so many of you and your churches," he said.
The reason Hispanics have been a blessing, he explained, is that the Church in the United States has been in decline, but many of the Hispanics in the country came from other nations where the Church is energetic and growing. These Hispanics, and other immigrants, will revive and renew American Christianity.
"Over the past 50 years the center of the Church around the world has moved from the North to the South and from the West to the East," Anderson said. "Many feared that the United States was being left behind with a plateaued and declining Christian faith. Then there came waves of immigration from countries where there are wildfires of revival, evangelism and spiritual vibrancy."
Anderson believes that in 100 years, "church historians will look back to the beginning of the 21st century and say that immigrants saved American Christianity from decline. And they will observe that Hispanics were the majority and epicenter of that historic renewal."
Anderson, one of the signers of the Evangelical Immigration Table, also lent his support for immigration reform in the speech, saying he hopes and prays reform will pass this year.
"The National Association of Evangelicals and our member denominations and groups have prayed and worked year after year for loving immigration reform in this country," he said. "We have advocated for families, guest workers, secure borders, a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented and most of all dignity and respect for our brothers and sisters who are all created in the image of God."