BALTIMORE (BP) -- The Gospel found only in the name of Jesus will change an America that has blown it with God and is quickly becoming more pagan than Christian, Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter told messengers on the eve of his last day in office.
Luter drew enthusiastic, soulful responses from worshipers at an evening revival service June 10 during the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore as he preached from Psalm 80:18-19, the meeting's official theme Scripture calling for "Restoration and Revival through Prayer."
"As your president for the past two years, my heart's desire has been that God would make us one and that God would send revival and renewal through the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention," Luter said.
"Brothers and sisters, the only way that will happen in this nation, the only way that will happen in this convention, the only way that will happen in our churches is if the people of God cry out to God in prayer, if there is genuine repentance, if there is genuine remorse, and if we call on the name which is above every name.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we need to call on that name," Luter said, "that name which is above the name of the Republicans, that name which is above the name of the Democrats, that name which is above the name of Congress, that name which is above every name of the U.S. Senate, that name which is above every name of those riding a donkey or those riding an elephant."
Luter used a traditional Sub-Saharan African call-and-response communication style, saying to the audience, "Southern Baptists tell me, who can stand before us when we call on that great name? What's His name, church?"
"Jesus" they responded.
"What's His name, church?"
"Jesus" came the enthusiastic reply.
"I wonder if you know His name," Luter said, reciting a round of many of the names that refer to Jesus.
"Jehovah Jirah. Jehovah Nissi. Jehovah Shalom. Jehovah Tsidkenu.
"I wonder Southern Baptists if you know His name," Luter said, expanding his list.
"The Alpha and the Advocate. The Almighty and the Amen. The Author and Finisher of our Faith. The Captain of our Salvation. The Chief Shepherd. The Door. The Cornerstone. The Commander. The Creator. The Faithful Witness. The Good Shepherd. The Great High Priest.
"The Head of the Church. The Holy Child. The I Am that I Am. The Emmanuel. Jehovah. King of the Ages. The Lawgiver. The Lamb of God."
Hundreds of Southern Baptists stood applauding, clapping and shouting Amen and other affirmations.
Jesus is "the Light of the World," Luter continued, "the Lion of Judah. The Lord of all. The Son of God and the Son of man. The Resurrection and the Life. The True Life."
"The Lord of Glory. The Mighty God. The Messiah. The Lord of Righteousness. The Rock. The Bright and Morning Star. The Prince of Peace."
America has erred as the biblical Israelites and will only enjoy a harvest of revival by repenting with remorse and submitting to God's leadership as He revives the nation, Luter said.
"It is a difficult time in the life of America. It's a painful time in the life of America," Luter said, "because, just like Israel in Psalm 80, America has messed up with God.... America has blown it with God.... America has sinned against God."
America has lowered its standards, Luter said, with sinful morals evident in sitcoms, movies, videos and video games, leading to crime, adultery, fornication, child molestation, racism, pornography and the abuse of drugs, alcohol and sex.
"America is rapidly becoming and turning into a pagan nation," Luter said.
The cure is in the name of Jesus, Luter said, a name that America must call on in prayer.
In Jesus, we have "that name that can change the heart of a racist, that name that can change the mind of a murderer, that name that can change the desire of a child molester," Luter said.
Jesus is a name "that can change the crowd of a gang member ... the habit of a prostitute ... the desire of a drug addict ... the taste buds of an alcoholic ... the heart of a hypocrite ... the lifestyle of a homosexual ... the actions of an adulterer … the thoughts of a thief and the desire of a lost sinner.
"Somebody know what I'm talking about, shout Hallelujah."
"Hallelujah," came the unmistakable response.
Diana Chandler is general assignment writer/editor for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress
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