Land calls for prayer, political responsibility
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) -- With the approach of the 2010 midterm elections, Richard Land reminded students and faculty members at Southwestern Seminary that the United States faces problems that transcend economics or politics.
“Would to God that an American president could stand before the American people today and say, ‘Our problems are merely economic, and they can be solved,’” said Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), during chapel at Southwestern, Oct. 12. “Our problems are problems of the soul. They’re problems of the heart. They’re problems of the spirit.”
As a boy, Land said, he never imagined that “the womb” would one day be “the most dangerous place that an American has ever been.” Yet such has become the case: “Over the past 37 years, we have killed over 55 million babies.”
Astonishingly, this tremendous threat to babies in the womb exists “in the midst of an unprecedented evangelical revival,” in which nearly 45 percent of American citizens now claim to be born-again Christians who confess the God-man Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, Land said. Although Christ called his disciples to be “salt and light” to preserve and impact society with the Gospel, it seems that society has instead shaped American Christianity.
“Our only hope is a revival that starts with conversion, continues with conviction of our own sin and our need to repent of our sin individually and collectively, for not speaking up and not defending the children who are being led to destruction,” Land said. “And we need to consecrate ourselves to turning this around. … I’m talking about one person, one family, one church, one community at a time. We have to let God change us, let God talk to us and our families.”
Not only must Southern Baptists deal with the issue of abortion, they must also confront other problems concerning the family in the United States: problems such as a high divorce rate, the absence of fathers from the home, and the debate over same-sex marriage.
As elections approach, however, some people may describe Land’s emphasis on abortion and family ethics as too narrow. Should not the voter concern himself with other moral and ethical issues? In an interview following chapel, Land said the ERLC addresses numerous moral and ethical issues. At the same time, he affirmed the significance of the abortion and same-sex marriage debates.
“The abortion issue,” Land said, “is basically a question of what and who is a human being, when does a human being become a human being, and what responsibility does society have to protect human beings. I can’t think of bigger ethical issues that this society can grapple with than those.”
As for marriage, it is the “basic building block of human society,” Land said. “Marriage is anything but a personal, private relationship.”
According to Land, preachers have the right and responsibility to encourage church members “to vote their values, their beliefs and their convictions, and to make it clear what the Bible’s convictions are on these various issues.”
Land encourages Baptists to devote themselves to prayer in preparation for the election. He also urges people to be informed through sources such as www.erlc.com, as well as to inform others.
“I would argue that most people’s circles of influence are bigger than they think they are,” he said. “And they should use that circle of influence for good. That means seeking to convince people of the rightness of your political view and biblical view, and taking into account … their moral, ethical and religious decisions.”