(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)
In an effort to come up with solutions for the spread of spiritual darkness as seen in the nation's shooting massacres last year, a series of interviews with Christian leaders is being conducted and published by a men's ministry speaker and author.
David Jesse, who authored the book Midnight Approaches: Understanding the Times and Knowing What To Do About Them, told The Christian Post that events like the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., and the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., point to the failure of the Church in America to act as the body of Jesus' followers should according to the Gospel.
One interview with a Christian leader per week will be released during the entire year, beginning with an interview published yesterday (Monday) with Dr. Raleigh Washington, who is the president and CEO of the national men's ministry, Promise Keepers, and the co-author of the best seller Breaking Down Walls: A Model of Reconciliation in an Age of Racial Strife.
An interview with Jonathan Cahn, author of The Harbinger, is being held for publication until the day of President Barack Obama's inauguration. Cahn has been asked to speak at the 2013 Inaugural Prayer Breakfast and much of what he plans to say is discussed in the interview and may be alarming to some.
"He (Cahn) is a voice sounding the alarm that judgment has already come to America, and that it will come in greater intensity until the Church and the nation as a whole moves beyond asking God to bless America, and instead repents for its rejection of Him and for the sin it has embraced," Jesse told CP. "…he fully intends to use the platform he's been given at the 2013 Inaugural Prayer Breakfast to speak with boldness and power."
The series is published online at Third Option Men and is called, "Solutions: Questions the Church in America Must Answer."
Below is The Christian Post's interview with Jesse conducted by email:
CP: What was your motivation for doing this series?
Jesse: On the morning after the theater shooting in Aurora, I was compelled to write an article for Third Option Men called, The Dark NIGHT Rises: Where is the Light? More than anything, the article was my way of putting into words the emotions and stirrings in my heart. In essence, the article said that the reason for the spread of spiritual darkness in the world – as seen in events like the "Batman shooting" and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut – is that the Church in America has failed to be the "salt" and "light" we've been called to be in this world.
As you know, the article received some notice as well as criticism by many. But the vast majority who read it commented that they were challenged and believed that what I wrote was correct. Still, I felt that it came up short. I spent a great deal of time in prayer asking God what the next step was. During that time, He gave me the idea for "Solutions," to interview a significant number of Christian leaders throughout the United States (pastors, ministry leaders, writers, musicians, etc.), asking each of them the same five questions regarding the state of the Church in America.
In Matthew 5, Jesus commands His disciples to be "salt" and "light." What does that mean?
What is your church/ministry doing to be the "light?"
What is the Church in America doing right?
What does the Church in America need to change?
Where will the Church in America be in 10 years?
The idea was to contact leaders of the Church and find out what they are doing RIGHT, in an effort to encourage others to take ideas from these leaders and implement them in their own sphere of influence; rather than talking about the problems, I wanted to offer "Solutions."
I spoke with Evan Dawson (founder/editor of thirdoptionmen.org) and we began to pray about this idea and talk about how to make it work. After the election in November, we felt it was time to pull the trigger and start contacting leaders. We've been overwhelmed by the response. So far I've conducted a dozen or so interviews and I have another 20 or more to go.
The goal is to present one interview a week (every Monday) throughout 2013. With the response we've already received, along with those who we are reaching out to presently, we are sure to be able to accomplish that goal. When the series of interviews has been completed, we will be publishing a book by the same title, where we compile some of the key themes that arise in our discussions with these leaders. The book will be a blueprint for Christians to follow in their attempts to be "salt" and "light."
CP: In our preliminary discussion about this series you said there was a common thread among the leaders you talked to. What was that?
Jesse: Two things. The first is that being "salt" and "light" is about impacting the world around us. Themes such as "salt being a preservative" and "light overcoming darkness" have been common. All the leaders have said that we are to be making a difference around us; that we are to make the world a better place.
Dr. Raleigh B. Washington (CEO/President of Promise Keepers): "Believers in America must set the 'spiritual boundaries' of our nation. If we – as Christians – do that, we will impact society in a most positive fashion."
Jonathan Cahn (Author of New York Times Bestseller, The Harbinger): "Salt preserves, and light cuts through the darkness. They're both radical. They're change agents. Salt prevents decay. Light eliminates darkness. They dramatically change everything they come into contact with."
Wess Stafford (CEO of Compassion International): "What Jesus is saying is, 'I expect you to be DIFFERENT than the pack! I expect you to be BETTER than the pack! And I expect you to make anything you're a part of BETTER'!"
The second common theme is that the Church in America is at a crossroads. We will either repent and turn back to living in a manner that changes the world around us, or the Church in America will be reduced to little or no noticeable presence or impact. What we do NOW will chart that course.
Jonathan Cahn: "Either the Church will become more radical; more pure; more bold; more uncompromising; more counter-cultural – leading America to revival, or it will become worthless; without salt; compromised; confused; embracing of darkness and the world."
David Dusek (Founder/President of Rough Cut Men): "If the Church in America continues on its current trajectory, ten years from now it will be nothing but landmarks and pubs like you find in England and Canada."
CP: What did you learn during the process of doing these interviews?
Jesse: I've learned that nationwide, Christian leaders are trying to balance significant concern over the direction of America (and the Church in particular), with the hope that revival can and will come. In many cases, these leaders are convinced that the Church in America is headed for great persecution and trial, but that the end result of those trials will be a Church that is stronger and making a greater impact for the Kingdom of God.
CP: You mentioned that you have already conducted an interview with Jonathan Cahn who is the keynote speaker during the Inauguration Prayer Breakfast on Inauguration Day. You are saving that for release on that day. Why?
Jesse: Anyone who is familiar with Jonathan Cahn and the message of The Harbinger knows that his message is not a comfortable "ear tickling" message. He is a voice sounding the alarm that judgment has already come to America, and that it will come in greater intensity until the Church and the nation as a whole moves beyond asking God to bless America, and instead repents for its rejection of Him and for the sin it has embraced.
While Jonathan has become much more famous and well known over the past year, he is still relatively unknown to many in our nation's capital. But he fully intends to use the platform he's been given at the 2013 Inaugural Prayer Breakfast to speak with boldness and power. Much of what he plans on saying will also be included in my interview of him. Because of this, he's asked that I not release the interview until that day in order to avoid controversy before that date.
CP: You've conducted a series that in essence talks about the state of the church in light of where America is today morally. What are your own feelings in regards to the state of the church?
Jesse: I see the Church in America as largely impotent. I believe that we have become ineffective in changing society around us. While there are definitely isolated churches and ministries and Christians who are effectively being "salt" and "light," the Church as a whole is not. But this doesn't have to be the case. When the Church reaches a point of real repentance and holiness, we will see the Kingdom of God move with a power that has been missing in our nation for many years. Until then, I pray and work toward that goal.
On the Web: http://www.thirdoptionmen.org/