Can the world experience a "Jesus movement" once again or are those times long gone? That's the question posed by Harvest Christian Fellowship Pastor Greg Laurie in a sermon he preached on Sunday.
In the message based on 2 Chronicles 7:14 titled "Can We Have Revival in Our Time?" Laurie briefly recounted the history of the four "great awakenings" within the body of Christ and shared his theory on how America and the world would be impacted should believers experience an End Times rapture.
Laurie explained: "If millions of Americans were caught up to Heaven we wouldn't be the superpower we are today. … Imagine this: if 100,000,000 people were caught up to meet the Lord in the air, if they just disappeared, do you think that would affect our nation? Well of course it would … imagine the effect on our country if 100,000,000 people — people in industry, government, military, business, agriculture, education, medicine — suddenly disappeared from the face of the Earth. … It would certainly have a crippling effect on our entire nation and upon our infrastructure.
"But this much we know: all nations as we know them are going to change, expand or shift to some degree or another, as the whole global situation rearranges for the events of the end times — so we need to pray for another spiritual awakening of the United States."
The Harvest Christian Fellowship pastor said if America is disobedient to God it can cause it to be omitted from His Divine plan.
"If we turn from righteousness, if we turn from God, we're going to face the consequences … " Laurie cautioned, explaining that America isn't like every other nation, but has a special responsibility to God. "If we abandon God, if we forget God — even worse if we rebel against God — there will be consequences to pay."
The pastor told congregants that he believes in the concept of American exceptionalism, and that the nation, among very few others, is unique in the eyes of God.
"I think we're a special nation blessed by God in many ways," he said, warning listeners that every country has a lifespan — a beginning, a middle and an end. He named some of the great kingdoms and empires of the world that have come and gone over the centuries including the ancient empire of Babylon, which ended after 86 years and the Persian Empire, which saw its demise after 208 years. The United States has endured for 235 years while the British Empire has lasted 250 years and Greece has endured for 268 years; Rome persevered for nearly nine centuries.
Countries that are recognized as key players in the Bible's End Times prophecies include nations like Israel and Iran. But when it comes to the United States, Laurie sees something that he feels should concern Americans — the country's omission from the End Times narrative.
Laurie asked congregants, "Where is the reigning superpower, the United States of America? Where are we?"
He shared a theory for why he believes America is missing from End Times scenarios in the Bible, saying that a "massive spiritual awakening" could shift the course of the country.
The pastor pointed out four "great awakenings" where God moved in a major way to win souls for His Kingdom. The first awakening occurred from 1740 to 1742 before the Revolutionary War and was led by men including Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, a British minister known to convert slaves and Native Americans to Christianity.
The second awakening occurred between the 1790s and 1840s where men like Charles Finney hosted "camp meeting" revivals. The third occurred from 1857 to 1859, Laurie said, when Jeremiah Lanphiere held prayer meetings that exploded in size after the crash of the stock market inspired thousands to gather to pray daily.
The fourth awakening was what the pastor called the "Jesus movement," which he said was happening unbeknownst to him.
"I was priviledged to have a front row seat for it ... we did not know that it was a spiritual awakening when it was happening ... " he said.