This is the second segment of a two-part interview with Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Washington, D.C. and a leader in the ongoing battle for traditional marriage. Click here for Part 1.
Charisma News: You were one of the pastors instrumental in the efforts for racial reconciliation started in Sanford, Fla., after the Trayvon Martin incident. How do you think those efforts are going?
Jackson: I am very impressed with several of the local pastors from Sanford. One of the pastors I’m most impressed with is Pastor Derrick Gay, who is actually helping as a younger guy, to navigate the waters of relationships. Reconciliation is all about people getting to know each other and working toward a common goal. I think it’s going very well. You’re going to find that it’s going to be a national success story in the years ahead.
Charisma News: How do you think God is moving in this country right now?
Jackson: I see God, first, creating a separation between light and dark that I hope will bring a unity within the church, allowing us to rise up and respond in strength to what looks like a rising tide of anti-Christian thinking in our nation. There are many examples of it. The pro-abortion movement is growing stronger; the anti-traditional marriage movement is growing stronger, and, overall, an anti-church, anti-faith movement is manifesting itself in the country. Those movements, or those attacks, are starting to wake us up now.
Charisma News: Has lack of discipleship led to these problems?
Jackson: I have had the privilege of preaching and teaching at some of the larger churches in America. The message I have entitled for these churches is “Sampson Dies Again.” It’s a comparison of Whitney Houston to the biblical Sampson. From birth, Sampson was called to be a deliverer of his people. His power to deliver his people and to be a champion for them was based on a supernatural anointing that God gave him. I feel like Whitney Houston had a supernatural grace upon her life to minister in song, a song that would bring deliverance to others. That was exhibited at her church at the ripe old age of 11. Just like Sampson, she was brought back home to where she was raised, and in her last days, she made a more powerful witness for God and of the power of God than she did in all of her earlier years. T.D. Jakes said she brought America back to church at her funeral. I think a lot of people were impacted by that. In the movie Sparkle, I’m told, she was empowered to preach the gospel more than she ever had in her life.
It’s a shame that she lost her way. But, the good news is, in a sense, she carried out her assignment. In God’s mercy, even through her death, she got right with God. I think the lack of discipleship was at the root of her problem. People wanted to use her gift, but they didn’t invest in her life with the Scriptures at an intimate level. Sampson should have been much more aware than to do the things he did. He should have been much more responsive to the Word.
Three things happened to Sampson that happened to Whitney. First, sin binds you. Sin restricts your movement with God, then it blinds you with deception, and then it takes you into captivity. After you’re enslaved, most people don’t get free. Sampson and Whitney did, even though Whitney died of her addiction. Discipleship for God’s people is crucial. The greatness that was intended for God’s glory is not capitalized upon because we have not systematically discipled people. I think that is going to change and that this generation is going to be more intentional. That’s my hope as a leader. I believe that God has given me and many like me a burden to win the lost, to disciple them to the utmost, and to be prepared to move into a season in which I believe there is going to be a greater witness in America.
Charisma News: There are numerous prayer initiatives going on in the United States. How critical are those prayer initiatives for the country right now?
Jackson: Certainly, those initiatives give us an opportunity to repent for the sins of the nation. Every Great Awakening was preceded by a season in which the leaders of the nation felt that the nation was about to fall into total moral corruption. Someone was just saying to me, "Hey, we need to cry out to God." He’s absolutely right. I feel like God is going to save America by a desperate church, or a remnant of it, crying out to God. We are at a very critical place of critical mass where He is calling out to this separated, holy church. It’s a small group. All of these prayer movements are going to prepare this remnant to move into this new phase. I don’t know what it’s going to look like. I’m assuming that it’s going to be an awakening of some magnitude.