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A Q&A with Bishop Harry Jackson: How can America remain a shining city on a hill?

Harry Jackson
Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church, Beltsville, MD, speaks at a news conference held at the National Press Building in Washington, DC on May 14, 2013. |

I recently sat down with Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor at Hope Christian Church, to talk about the current and future spiritual landscape of America. Bishop Jackson believes there is hope for a spiritual awakening, but that hope hinges on Christians’ responsibility to live out their faith in the midst of culture.

Take time to watch our full conversation. Here’s a quick snapshot of what Bishop Jackson had to say:

Though America does immense good for its citizens and the whole world, some Christians seem more focused on our nation than they do God’s Kingdom. What do you say to these Christians?

Jackson: They misunderstand that no national group of people can, in a sense, be deified.

For example, look at the history of the United Kingdom: they took a lot of the promises given to Israel in the Bible and transferred them directly to themselves. Yet, they had legal slavery for many, many years, they invaded cultures, they dominated lands, they fought crusades in the name of Christ, they turned against Israel when it became a nation, they sunk down into economic and financial insignificance because—in their hubris and pride—they began to violate the word of God.

Similarly, America without faith in God is not great and it will not stand. America with faith in God, I believe has a great destiny and we will continue to be that city set upon the hill that people strive to come to.

I’ve heard you talk about the verse that says the foundation of God’s throne is justice and righteousness. What implications does that verse have for America today?

Jackson: Psalm 89:14 says “righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.”

The way I describe righteousness is ultimately living in right standing with God. Righteousness is not perfection, but it does mean living under the authority and principles of the word of God. When we miss the mark, we can ask for forgiveness. Righteousness is not perfection, but it is devotion.

I believe justice is an atmosphere we create for others. The Bible is replete with examples that God’s heart is for the widows and the orphans and the least of these. If you think about American justice, we have a system that gives the little guy an opportunity and chances.

If you work hard and are gifted in some dimension of service, you can still go from rags to riches. Try that in Saudi Arabia—no hope. Try that in Ukraine or Russia—no way possible.

So, we have this responsibility, I believe, to create justice for even the least of these. It’s an amazing idealistic approach to life.

After the 2018 midterm elections, how do Christians impactfully engage in their community and culture?

Jackson: What is really needed is for every Christian to first vote and participate in the process based on their heartfelt belief system. Secondly, to hold the people they vote for accountable.

When the people we vote for don’t create real opportunity, I would say throw the bums out!

The beauty of our political system is that we are designed to have a representative government where spots are filled and lived out by everyday citizens. We need to get the best people in office. And the best people, their character and their actions line up.

Some Christians need to run for school board, some of us need to be involved in the Republican party and Democrat party. Imagine what would happen if we invaded both parties? Imagine what would happen if the best people got through all the bad stuff and ran for office? 

Normal people with normal lives can run for office. We need candidates, party members, funders who all vote.

Jason Yates is CEO of My Faith Votes, a nonpartisan movement focused on motivating Christians in America to participate in local and national elections. By partnering with local churches, pastors and national faith leaders, My Faith Votes mobilizes and resources Christians to lead the conversation on the place of faith in culture and politics. Gov. Mike Huckabee serves as the organization’s honorary national chairman.

Website | www.myfaithvotes.org      Twitter | @MyFaithVotes       Facebook | My Faith Votes

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