By Henry Blackaby
A conference participant at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove, North Carolina, last May asked Dr. Blackaby, "What do you see as the future for the United States?" The following is an abridged version of his response.
"If you put the United States up against the Scriptures, we're in trouble. I think we're very close to the judgment of God."
"The problem of America is not unbelievers; the problem of America is the people of God. There are just as many divorces and abortions in the churches as outside the churches. George Barna did a survey of 152 separate items comparing the lost world and the churches, and he said there's virtually no difference between the two. Our gospel is canceled by the way we live."
"The only thing that's kept America from going haywire worse than it has is the presence of Christian community. We're still salt and light, but when the salt loses its saltiness, there's nothing to restrain evil in America. And right now the salt has lost its saltiness. It is not effecting the preserving of America.
"So I've always said if things get darker in America, the problem is not with the darkness--it's just acting according to its nature. The problem is with the light. The light no longer dispels the darkness. All the way through the Bible, judgment came on the nation when God's people would not return unto Him."
Right now I believe God's people don't even think they've departed. In Jesus' day they were practicing religion to the limit. God's people were religious, but Jesus announced, 'You've never even realized the time of God's coming to you. So your destruction is certain.' He wept over Jerusalem, saying, 'If only you...had known...' (Lk. 19:41)."
"In the verses just before that verse, God's people were praising. But Jesus was weeping. Could they have been around Him that much and not known Him? Is there a time when praising is out of order? When Jesus is weeping, we ought to weep with Him, but they were praising. Even though Jesus said the stones would cry out to praise Him, I have often said to myself, 'If Jesus is weeping over America, what ought the people of God to be doing? Feeling good?' We're trying to get the people of God to feel good when they come to worship. We ought to get them to feel bad because America's very close to the judgment of God."
"We don't take the Scriptures seriously. I think this generation knows less about Scripture than any generation in my lifetime. We're reading the books of men, but not the book of God. Therefore, when God moves in judgment, the average person will not even recognize that it's God. It's my own personal feeling that we may well be the generation that is alive when our Lord returns because we're seeing the movement of God according to Scripture. When Jesus first came, who missed Him most? God's people. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. It was the religious leaders who missed Him most! Not only that, but the religious leaders missed Him so badly--even though they had the Scriptures to predict it--that they crucified the Son of God."
"Now what about all the Scriptures that tell us about the return of our Lord? I mean the details of His return are clearly noted, but many of God's people are not even thinking about it. Jesus said the last sign before His return would be the gospel being preached to every people group (Mt. 24:14). When David Barrett put out a list of every known un-reached people group several years ago, there were some 2,300. I talked with the CEOs of a major mission sending agency, and the last word I had is that, as of this moment, every solitary un-reached people group has some group that had made a commitment to take the gospel to them. That's the first time in history. If you consider that and read Matthew 24, what would you conclude?"
"How then should we live? The tragedy is that it's the people of God and the leaders of God who are totally unaware of the ways of God."
"This is a long answer to a short question, but my answer is this: It depends on the people of God. Are we going to be a people like God has asked us to be? Will we stop fussing within our churches? Will we stop fussing between our churches? God's people hold the destiny of America. Don't fuss at the world. It's just acting according to its nature. We've got to be salt and light again. We've got to have an observable difference. Is the darkness being dispelled where your church is? In the workplace where God has put you, and in the high school where God has put your kids? It's not building bigger and better buildings and having larger budgets or attendance. That's not what God is looking for. He's looking for salt and light that can radically change the places where God has put us."
"My heart is very, very, very heavy about the day in which we live, primarily because people do not even recognize that they have moved from what God wants them to be. The question for every Christian to ask is not, 'Am I fulfilling my job description?' but 'Is my life making a difference?' I don't want to keep living and not making a difference! We need to examine our walk with God. We need to be able to say, 'Father, I've sinned. I've lived without my life making any difference.' Now can God rectify this? He's an expert at it! That's why Jesus said in His prayer, 'I don't pray for the world; I pray for these because as go these, so goes the redemption of the rest of the world.' So God's attention right now is on His own people, and if I gave one statement it would be, 'The future of America rests in our hands.'"