The United States is "overdue" for another spiritual awakening and Christian revival or else it could run the risk of becoming a post-Christian state like many countries in Europe, California evangelist Greg Laurie has opined.
Laurie, an author and senior pastor of the Harvest Christian Fellowship megachurch in Riverside, California, who hosts evangelistic revival events throughout the U.S., told The Christian Post in an interview before Sunday's Harvest America in Arizona that the country is a "nation in crisis" because it has gotten away from its "virtue" created by people who believed in Christ.
"We have gotten away from those moral absolutes because we have gotten away from God's Word and we have gotten away from God Himself," Laurie warned. "We have a nation in need, a nation in crisis, a nation where the family is breaking down, a nation where we have riots in our streets and racial unrest. The answer is we need another spiritual awakening."
The 64-year-old Laurie said there have been four "spiritual awakenings" in America's history, with the last one being the Jesus Movement that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s.
"We have had four in the nation's history and I think we are overdue for another," he explained. "My prayer is that we will have another Jesus Movement, another Jesus Revolution. That was the last great American revival — the Jesus Revolution."
The pastor asserted that there is a fear and anxiety that is sweeping across the nation that is a result of a number of different factors, including the increase in terror attacks around the world and the nuclear threats of North Korea.
"Recently, I read that the No. 1 phrase typed in the Google search engine was 'Is World War III near' because of a nation like North Korea threatening to nuke us in doing missile tests," Laurie said. "I think that people are agitated, they are concerned, they are wondering about the answers to those age-old questions. I think we need to be there with answers from the Bible."
Laurie suggested that even though some people believe that teaching western values will solve the problem of radical Islamic terror, they must understand that the inspiration behind what is now today considered to be western values comes from the "the soil of the Bible and the Gospel."
The foundation for what many consider to be American values was laid, Laurie said, by evangelists like George Whitefield, who came from England to preach in the American colonies during the 1700s.
According to Laurie, 80 percent of people living in the American colonies had heard Whitefield preach by 1770.
"He was an evangelist. He was the Billy Graham of his day. He was calling people to Christ, thousands responded and a revival swept the land," Laurie said. "It was that revival that created the environment for the seeds of our country because the seeds of liberty and freedom were embedded in the soil of virtue, which was a result of people believing in Jesus Christ."
Laurie noted that many Americans have gotten away from that virtue.
CP asked Laurie to explain what might happen to the U.S. if it doesn't undergo the spiritual awakening he believes is overdue. Although he said he can't answer the question with any certainty, he suggested that Europe serves as a good example of what might happen to America.
"I think we can look at Europe as maybe a model," he said. "Europe has become so concerned with political correctness and has moved to what is often described as a 'post-Christian' state, where church attendance is at an all-time low. I think if the people of the U.K. and Europe in general would turn to God, they would find strength and truth that would help them in the battle against terrorism and their cultures in general."
"So, I think they are further down the road than we are. I hope we don't go down that road because America is great because America has been good, as it has been said. But, really that goodness is a result of our faith," Laurie continued. "I think if we stay close to that faith, not just faith in any god, but faith in God of the Bible, we will be stronger for it. The more we stray from that faith, the weaker that we'll become. The Bible says, 'Righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to the people.'
Laurie also asserted that although military and law enforcement are keys to combating and defeating Islamic extremism, ideology must be fought with ideology.
"So, they have a radical Islamic ideology and we have the Gospel," he said. "So, I think we need to call all people to Christ and engage people with the good news of Jesus Christ."
Earlier this year, Laurie declared 2017 to be "The Year of Good News." His declaration was signed by a number of prominent Christian leaders and peformers such as Franklin Graham, Jack Graham, Anne Graham Lotz, Chris Tomlin, James Dobson, George Wood, Russell Moore, Al Mohler, Randy Alcorn, Max Lucado, and others.
"All I ask is that if you sign this document, to look aggressively for opportunities to engage people with the Gospel message," Laurie told CP. "That would be anything from a sermon to a one-on-one conversation. Look for those opportunities."
In an attempt to help foster Christian unity and a national revival, Laurie announced earlier this week that his Harvest Christian Fellowship has officially joined the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest denomination of churches.
"I know the effect of the revival we seek firsthand because I came to Christ during the last great American revival, often referred to as the 'Jesus Movement.' That revival emanated primarily from Calvary Chapel in Southern California, and I learned to preach the Gospel and to teach God's Word myself within the Calvary Chapel movement under the example of Pastor Chuck Smith," Laurie said in a statement shared with CP.
"Since that time, I've invested my life in the Calvary fellowship of churches while working with countless Christians from nearly every other denomination. I'll continue to do just that, and I also look forward to continuing to build bridges between our communities. I also have great admiration for the missions and relief ministries of the SBC that touch our world every day in a significant way."