Having your name on the church roll 'won't cut it,' warns pastor who says God sits in judgment of America

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |
At First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, July 3, Pastor Mac Brunson reminded thousands gathered for worship that praying for our nation and honoring past members of the military is not wrong, but in fact, it is the right thing to do. Lest anyone forget the World War II, Korean, Vietnam, or any other men and women, past and present, serving or having served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America, Brunson gathered them at the front of the cavernous auditorium Sunday for a time of extended prayer and applause before preaching a sermon titled: "A Prayer of Hope for Our Nation." | Courtesy Photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Christian Examiner) – Warning America is at the precipice of judgment as was ancient Israel, Mac Brunson, pastor of the historic First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, July 3 in worship introduced a clip of a stirring speech by Rabbi Jonathon Cahn, a Messianic Jew, who described the United States as a place that has "forgotten the God of its foundation" and where revival is needed.

Cahn April 28 addressed Washington Men of Prayer in Statuary Hall where the House of Representatives previously met, pointing out to them the irony of the timing of the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same sex marriage last June.


"Two months after we gathered here, America's highest court struck down the order of God, and the day on which it did was the 9th of Tammuz, the ancient day of mourning that commemorates the day that Israel's hedge of protection was removed, and the approach of judgment," Cahn said in the recording.

In his speech, Cahn compared America to ancient Israel.

"In the history of this world, only two civilizations came into existence on the solitary foundation that God's calling and purpose was the reason," Cahn said. "The first was Israel; the second was America. But as ancient Israel turned away from her God and His ways, so, too, has America."

Brunson said Cahn's comparison of America to ancient Israel is appropriate. Historically, he said, two nations were deliberately formed – Israel and America. Others "simply happened, they didn't intend to become nations."

"America didn't just happen, it was a colony, it was planned, people came here who wanted to come here, with the exception of the slaves," Brunson said. "For most it was deliberate, a choice, and they came for a variety of reasons — but primarily for one reason, the freedom to worship God as they saw fit. They came to ... establish a nation where man could worship God freely."

Referencing the American Revolution, Brunson said it was "radially different" than anything Europe had known for centuries in that it was not a coup, but it was an act of creating something new.

Flashing photos on large screens of various people dressed in clothing of various nations, Brunson pointed out, "Those who came here were immigrants from somewhere else, from England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Germany. That is America.

"I can move to England to live but I will never be and Englishman," Brunson continued. "I can immigrate to France to live but I will never be a Frenchman. I can immigrate to Scotland to live and even though I am Scottish I will never be a Scotsman – but any one, from any place in this world can immigrate to America and they can be an American."

"America is a concept; it's ideals that we follow," Brunson said, not a particular ethnicity or race, or set of traditions rooted in geography.

Pointing to America's citizen's Army with names like the 82nd Airborne, the Screaming Eagles and the Big Red One, Brunson continued a string of prose celebrating America's uniqueness:

We are a nation that despises the idea of titled aristocracy, the elite, blue bloods.

We don't have a House of Lords that are there because of peerage, hereditary titles.

 We stay away from class distinction, snobbery, big guys looking down their noses at other people.

We like the underdog, the Rudys, the Rocky's, the Jaguars.

You might have a degree from Harvard but don't brag about it.

We like the guy who worked his way through trade school whose sleeves are rolled up with a little grease under his fingernails.

We are a nation of common men, not Earls, Dukes, and Lords.

We have a cousin named Earl, we knew the Duke, and the only person we call Lord is the Lord.

We like the sons of Oklahoma copper miners named Mickey Mantle.

We like the sons of Barkeeps like George Ruth, the Babe.

We like sons of immigrant fisherman like Joe DiMaggio.

Referencing four pictures of America Norman Rockwell painted in 1943 for the Saturday Evening Post, Brunson said they speak of four freedoms Franklin D. Roosevelt referenced in a speech – freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech.

"No nation has welcomed immigrants more than America," Brunson said, "No other nation has given more in wealth, resources, blood, and aid than the United States."

As for courage, Brunson heralded Davy Crocket and the men at the Alamo along with American Army sniper Chris Kyle:

It was courage 240 years ago on July 2, that 56 men adopted the Declaration of Independence and on July 4, 1776 ratified it and published it. It was courage that caused those 56 men to put their name to that document that either meant liberty or death.

It was the same kind of courage that sent 18, 19, 20 year olds on this day into the bloodiest battle in American history. It was courage 153 years ago today that sent men up Cemetery Ridge and courage kept men on that ridge to the beaches at Normandy, Utah, Saipan, and Iwo Jima.

We want freedom from fear for every one. We've rescued Europe, S. Korea, Kuwait, and we nearly tore our country apart because we got into a war over the fact we don't like bullies pushing around little people in a place called Vietnam. We went into Iraq for the same reason, that a tyrant and his two crazy sons brutalized an entire nation for their own benefit.

Our hero's have always been men of courage from General Washington to General Norman Schwarzkopf. No one should live in fear from young African American men to single moms in the inner city, to little children at the mercy of all of us.

Brunson explained the establishment clause of the constitution – which addresses freedom of religion and freedom of speech -- in the context of the United States being a Republic and not a Democracy.

"A Democracy is ruled by the majority, and a Republic is ruled by a representative government that is ruled by a constitution," Brunson said. "Mob rule has never been a part of our country, but we have people who represent us and they are governed by a constitution. Not the president, not the congress, not the supremes can take that right from us. They cannot take away our freedoms or our rights."

Preaching from Daniel 4:17, Brunson said with those rights come responsibilities on the part of believers.

"If we don't stop looking out the window and don't start focusing on the mirror and get to our knees and repent, we can never call the nation to repent," Brunson said. "Sin is sin and God is holy. ... Just because our name is in the church role doesn't cut it. Light is straighter than darkness.

"That is what Daniel did. When he saw what was happening in his world, he turned to the Lord, to His word, and to a prayer of confession," Brunson continued. "We, as the church, will never straighten out this country until we straighten out ourselves. Peter is clear about that."

Urging God's household to examine itself and resolve to not turn to Washington or government agencies to solve its problems, Brunson, much like Cahn had in his speech on Capitol Hill, called on God for revival:

We must turn to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Moses and Elijah, to the God of the Red Sea and the Resurrection, to the throne of the Most Sovereign God, and we cry out have mercy on this land. Let Oh God Your power fall upon Your church, Your people. Let it fall once again on the heartland of America, the Coastland, the Cities and the Capital. Let there be revival. Let the lost be saved and the saved be revived.

We acknowledge that the rock upon which we are built is not politics, not Democrats or Republicans, not our dollar and economy, not the power of our military or the strength of our own arm, but the name upon which we are established is Yeshua ha Messhia, that name that is above all names. When we bow before you, then and only then will our nation begin to heal and become once again that shining city on a hill and a glory in all the earth.