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Americans Are "In Trouble" With God

A Word From Henry Blackaby

Blackaby warns that Americans are "in trouble" with God. The United States is in danger of God’s judgment, but Christians don’t really believe it, Henry Blackaby says. "Everyone focuses on 2 Chronicles 7:14," Blackaby, the Southern Baptist speaker and author, said. The verse says that if God’s people humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, God will forgive their sins and heal their land. But subsequent verses add, in essence, that "If you abandon Him, He will abandon you," the author of the popular Bible study, Experiencing God (Broadman & Holman), told Religion Today. "We don’t believe that any more. We don’t believe anything can or will go wrong." "There is a line that, when crossed, ...there is no return."

"In chapter 7 of the Book of Jeremiah, God tells Jeremiah not to pray for the people of Israel. There were godly people present, but the nation had passed the point of God’s blessing.  We need to be on our knees today. If you put this country up against Scripture, we are in trouble. Either the United States turns to God in repentance and revival, or there is going to be judgment," he said.

Blackaby said he is not so much concerned about the way secular society is living, but about how the church is doing. He cited a survey by George Barna indicating that in each of 150 lifestyle areas, including divorce and abortion, "the church is no different than the society around them.  All through Scripture the Bible indicates that if the people of God lose their saltiness, there will be nothing else to save the nation. There is a movement of God in some churches, but overall it seems to be small.  Of the many claims of revival there doesn’t seem to be much result."

In addition to writing books, Blackaby speaks at numerous churches and conferences. "The prosperity-preaching in churches today is astounding," Blackaby said. "I just read a book from a very prominent Christian leader who said we should focus on hope and not preach anything negative. Jeremiah 23 speaks of prophets who preach  of ease, when sinfulness and godlessness are all around. This is like it is today. Where are the preachers today leading the people to repentance? When God’s people don’t realize how far they have gone from Him and they don’t turn in humbleness and repentance, they are at risk."

"In Jesus’ day, people were feeling good and praising their blessings, but He was weeping. How can we not know His heart? We miss it, because we want to feel good. That is our goal and focus." Blackaby criticized a pragmatism that downplays preaching. "Many are doing surveys to find out what people want in their church experience. We don’t need to do that. In the evangelical community, there is a pragmatism that says that the Word of God is not enough to attract people. There is almost a disdain of Biblical preaching being irrelevant. God will grow the church from His word. God always deals with leaders.  The tragedy is so few have earned the right to be heard. So few have an authentic platform. We need strong prayer. We need a spiritual anointing and ordained proclamations. Non-anointed words will fall useless to the ground. Proclaimers must live lives of holiness and humility. It is life and death when they speak. The three things the church needs are "prayer, Holy Spirit anointing, and men living out holy lives. God will draw people to hear them. They must proclaim God’s standard. They need an authentic relationship with Christ. Pastors don’t have a sense of the urgency of our times."

The outspoken Blackaby says he receives his "share of backlash" from Christian leaders who tell him that he "shouldn’t be putting people down" and that he should give people hope. "I believe hope comes out of repentance," he said. "At a major evangelistic meeting recently attended by many evangelical leaders, the focus was on reaching non-Christians. To my great surprise there wasn’t a mention about sin and the need for repentance. Hope in Jesus was the focus. When it was my time to speak, I talked about our sin and the need for repentance. Later, many of those there came up to me and said that they sincerely appreciated and needed my comments. We are at a time of God’s judgment and Christian leaders are not bringing the message of the Lord. There is hope. I see a younger generation turning. They feel the older generation has betrayed them, and they want authentic relationship. They sense the urgency."


This was a RELIGION  TODAY   feature story (originally sent out by Religion Today on Aug. 6, 1999) by the Editors at

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