In an impassioned speech to Christians Wednesday, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, warned that "there is a spiritual battle to turn off the light" in America and urged people of faith to shine their spiritual light to dispel the darkness.
"Will we drink the Kool-Aid that this is the last viable generation that can advance American Christianity or better yet, Christianity in the American public square? Are we done? Is it over?" Rodriguez asked in the early moments of a 20-minute message during the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's 2015 national conference themed "The Gospel & Politics" in Nashville, Tennessee.
Shortly before delivering his warning, Rodriguez highlighted the power of faith in the lives of Christians and how God's work usually begins with turning the light on.
"When light stands next to darkness," he said. "Light always wins."
Rodriguez then pointed to an intense "spiritual battle" currently raging for America's soul.
"We cannot deny the fact that there is a spiritual battle to turn off the light. We can't deny the fact. It is a great, intense spiritual battle. Forget Harry Potter at Hogwarts. Via the conduit of biblical illusions we know very well there are real spirits in the cities of our nation today," he said.
"The spirit of pharaoh is alive holding people captive in the Egypt of bondage and fear, the spirit of Goliath still lives, mocking and intimidating the children of God. The spirit of Jezebel makes men and women hide in caves with sexual perversions and manipulation. The spirit of Absalom is dividing homes churches and relationships. While the spirit of Herod is killing the young through abortion, violence, poverty and sex trafficking. Murdering infant dreams and visions," he continued.
The NHCLC president said how the nation fares in overcoming the march of darkness will depend heavily on how Christians choose to respond.
"How we respond, how this generation responds, will determine, whether or not in this generation at this critical hour in our nation's history light will overcome darkness," he said.
"We are the light of the world. We are a city on a hill. We are people of the word. We are salt and light. We are prophetic and not pathetic, we are disciples, witnesses and Christ followers. We are children of the cross, fruit of the empty tomb and product of the Upper Room…," he noted.
He said Christians needed to start being more like Jesus, ditch man-made agendas based on things such as race and politics.
"We need to be light by removing the obstacles. A city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do people light a lamp and hide it under a bowl," said Rodriguez.
"The cross tells us that the only agenda that can save America is not the agenda of the donkey or the elephant. The only agenda that can save America and transform America is the agenda of the Lamb Jesus Christ. There is no other agenda. It's time to reconcile Billy Graham's message with Dr. King's march," he told the audience.
"It's time for righteousness and justice. To be light we must stand with the understanding that … Uncle Sam may be our uncle but he will never be our Heavenly Father. We stand on the reality that truth must never be sacrificed on the altar of political, cultural or sexual expediency," he said.
"We must be light by what we do; in the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father who is in Heaven. Jesus changed the world because of who He was, what He said and what He did. His character, His rhetoric and His actions," said Rodriguez.