WASHINGTON — America is drifting away from God, prominent Christian leaders have been warning, and there are consequences that the country may face as a result.
The Christian Post recently caught up with some Christian leaders at the UnitedCry DC16 event to discuss the spiritual state of the nation, and what could happen if Americans don't make a spiritual U-turn.
Pastor Doug Stringer believes that if America doesn't wake up and heed God's warnings, He may remove His protective hedge.
"I think that the Lord's just trying to get our attention, but we've been pushing our snooze button for too long," Stringer told CP earlier this month. "I do believe that if we continue to turn our faces against God, then it's not that He will proactively judge us, but He [will] pull His hand [of protection] back because He can do nothing. "
"I think our only hope, really, is not the institutions of men, but the institution of Church. We need to get back to authentic Christianity which is Christ-like, and represent Him in a tangible way for a nation that desperately needs hope," Stringer told CP.
Pointing out that "the consequence of sin is devastation and death," the Turning Point Ministries founder added, "God wants a relationship with His creation, so He's looking for a relationship with us. First, with us as a Church who then can represent His love in a very tangible way to those around us. If we don't do that, I think that we can look throughout history, and even recent history, [to see] what's the end result of turning your back on God?"
Evangelist Alveda King believes that America's reverence for Christ veered off course decades ago. "We [went] off track in America when we took prayer out of schools in 1963," she told CP. "When we began to no longer regard the sanctity of life in 1973 (Roe v. Wade). When we began to believe that 'in God we trust' is something that's just printed on the money, but not imprinted on our hearts. If my uncle Martin Luther King Jr. were here today — my daddy's brother (Rev. Able King) — [he] would say, 'Come back to God."
The activist and former Georgia state representative added that prayer has always been the foundation of America, and without it the nation would be headed for disaster. "You will know that this nation is really in trouble when the people no longer pray."
But King is optimistic about America's future, seeing the increasing frequency of prayer gatherings like UnitedCry DC16 and Azusa Now, both held on April 9, as evidence that the nation is aware of the need for change and is turning back to God. "This is a sign that we have turned around, and because we have turned around I think we will begin to see some remarkable things begin to happen in America," she added.
Millennial minister Nick Hall, called by some the "Billy Graham of the next generation," gets personal when it comes to the consequences of America's drift from God.
"I think at the end of the day the biggest consequence is for each of us personally," Hall said. "The biggest loss isn't the loss for a nation or loss for a society. The biggest loss is for the individual who doesn't know God, and doesn't know that love and doesn't have that relationship."
Hall warns that, for those living without Christ, their efforts to fill the void will be futile. "There's something about the love of Jesus and the invitation that He offers and the relationship that is so grounded and foundational. If we lose that — if we don't have that — we're just going to keep turning to everything else."
America is already witnessing some of the consequences of its drift from Christ, according to the evangelist. "You see depression skyrocketing, you see suicide skyrocketing, you see substance abuse … all kinds of things. I think there's a big opportunity and a need now to rally under the name of Jesus."
Hall plans to do exactly that at a prayer gathering he's hosting this summer in the nation's capital, called Together2016. The preacher is calling on Americans to unite on the National Mall on July 16 to offer prayer that God will change the hearts of a divided America.
The minister says it's time for the nation to set aside its differences and come together in Jesus' name. "There's an opportunity for us to come back to that first love. … There is really a calling and a longing in the hearts of people to unite under the banner of Jesus," he told CP. "I think we've moved away from that. I think we've become divided and we've let our division define us. I think it's really problematic when we're defined by negatives, and so I think there's something about coming together and know[ing] we're for the hope and the love of Jesus and the invitation that is offered to everybody."
Hall added that society has plenty of people sharing negative news, and that it is the passion for him and his team to spread the Good News.
"As ministers of the Gospel, more than ever, we need to be lifting up the hope and the life and the light of Jesus. And I think people can so easily just see the negatives around them as opposed to looking and seeing that God is moving and there's answers to prayer. People are being changed, families are being restored, youth are rallying. … Just look at how God is answering the prayers and raising up a new generation to live for Jesus and be unashamed to say, 'We want to go after Him. '"