|Close Up Tony Evans|
|Written by Leslie Santamaria|
|Friday, 05 December 2014 12:17 PM America/New_York|
Latest project: America: Turning a Nation to God (9780802412676, $19.99, Moody Publishers).
What is at the core of so many of America’s problems?
It is the departure from how God has designed government to function in terms of it needing to limit itself to its scope of responsibility and not invading the other arenas God has established.
Why did you write America?
To show Christians how we have helped create the problems in our nation and how we are the key to its cure. Also to call for America to turn to God in hopes that He will reverse our course and restore our nation to His definition of what a nation is to be when it operates under His rule.
In what ways is the future of America in the hands of Christians?
It is up to Christians to be the conscience of the nation from God’s perspective and draw God’s engagement back into the culture. The church as a whole can have a positive influence for good in our nation by advancing God’s kingdom and principles.
What will transform the culture?
We begin with a solemn assembly where we corporately humble ourselves before God. Also, we Christians need to be comprehensively kingdom minded.
What is a solemn assembly?
A solemn assembly is a sacred gathering designed to restore God’s place in the culture. It is a time where God’s people, during a specific time of fasting and prayer, seek the renewal of their relationship with Him through repentance of sin and the passionate pursuit of the return of His presence in their midst. In the Scripture, this was something often called by those in leadership—whether a priest, prophet or king. It was something that would first be called for a specific, smaller leadership sphere before spreading to the entire nation. Even in America, historical records show that prior to every national awakening, the spiritual leadership of the day put a heavy emphasis on fasting and gathering for time of solemn assemblies.
What do you mean by “A Declaration of Dependence”?
America was born out of a desire for independence from the tyranny of England. Spiritual revival calls for just the opposite. God has not called us to be independent from Him but rather to exercise a verbal and visible dependence on Him. In making a declaration of dependence, God’s people dedicate their allegiance to Him in four spheres: personal, familial, the church and national. Personally, every Christian must decide to no longer serve two masters. Heads of households must declare like Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Local churches must recommit to making disciples and not simply increasing membership. The church must commit to become the conscience of the government.
What does it mean for Christians to “kingdomize” their skills, as you suggest?
Kingdomizing our skills means that we use our skills, talents and abilities to advance God’s purposes in the world and not merely our own goals or agendas. It means aligning our attitudes and actions with Matthew 6:33, which tells us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,” trusting that all the things we need will be given to us.
You outline a plan to impact America that begins in churches and communities. What is an example of such an outreach strategy for the local church?
One of the local programs with which our church has had success is The National Church Adopt-a-School Initiative (churchadoptaschool.org). The program is designed to prepare urban and suburban churches across America to forge partnerships with public schools to improve the lives of urban youth and families. Through this program, church and community leaders, as well as lay leaders and church members, learn how to address human needs effectively while at the same time modeling spiritual principles in a context of love, acceptance and accountability.
How do you suggest Christian retailers promote America?
On websites, retailers can create a cause-related area focused on revival and highlight America as well as other resources on the same topic. Also on the website, they can include America in their new and noteworthy releases and provide links to download the “Declaration of Dependence” documents and find out more about the call to a National Solemn Assembly scheduled to take place in 2016. In-store they can create a display or endcap focused on the state of the nation and include America; include America in the new-and-noteworthy releases section; have an employee read the book and write a recommendation to be displayed; and place copies in various sections of the store such as Church Resources, Christian Living, Politics, Contemporary Issues and Revival.