Charlottesville Riots Reveal Need for 'Sweeping Revival and Spiritual Awakening'

A protester holds a sign reading "Racism is not Patriotism" at a march against white nationalism in New York City the day after the attack on counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

The Pentecostal Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA) is praying for peace and healing after Saturday's attack in Charlottesville, Virginia. The group, which represents thousands of churches, is calling upon the church to build bridges in light of the racial division in the U.S.

Several members, including Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, have also issued statements.

"When hell exhales, the outcome is hatred. Both unacceptable and diabolical, racism must be confronted by God fearing people," Rev. Rodriguez said.

Church of God in Christ (COGIC) President and Presiding Prelate Bishop Charles Blake, Church of God General Overseer Tim Hill and International Pentecostal Holiness Church Bishop Doug Beacham also spoke on the matter.

"The violence, hatred and white supremacy on display in Charlottesville, Virginia, must be condemned by all people of faith and goodwill," said Bishop Blake, representing the largest African-American Pentecostal Charismatic denomination in the U.S. "The injuries and death suffered by those supporting an end to the commemoration of the Confederacy are deeply saddening. We also regret any harm to their opponents. Our hearts go out to all who were hurt, and we call for an end to the violence."

Dr. Hill called for prayer in his statement.

"First, the prayers of the Church of God around the world go out to those that were injured and lost their lives today in the senseless act of hatred and violence in Charlottesville. While as a nation we support the right of freedom of speech and the right to freely assemble, racial hatred and bigotry should never be tolerated in any form. God created us all in His image and we are His children. Racial supremacy is not ordained by God and should never be condoned by the church or our society."

Church of God of Prophecy General Overseer Bishop Sam N. Clements also spoke out strongly on the violence in Charlottesville.

"The Church of God of Prophecy condemns racially motivated acts of violence in the strongest terms possible," Bishop Clements said. "These ungodly acts and racism itself are antithetical to the message of the Lord Jesus Christ, who called us to extend love to our neighbors and even to those we perceive to be our enemies. He was born into a violent, divided, hopeless society and offered the only viable solution, love that overcomes every cultural barrier. We mourn with the families of the victims of violence and pray for peace and love to overcome hate, prejudice and violence."

Pastor Aaron Campbell, president of the PCCNA Memphis Chapter, said: "I will be calling on the entire Memphis Chapter of the PCCNA churches and organizations in prayer to unite us as one to fight against racism and injustice. As Pastor Samuel stated, we are fighting against diabolical forces that can only be contained by spiritual means."

Bishop Doug Beacham of the International Pentecostal Holiness Churches commented on the divisions in the nation.

"As this Sunday morning dawns across the United States, let us remember that racial hatred and superiority are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ," said Bishop Beacham. "As we pray for our nation, let the body of Christ stand for righteousness, rejecting the hatred and nihilism characteristic of the division and polarization seeking to destroy us. As members of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, let us remember that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some of our earliest founders sought to express gospel unity with other races, despite strong cultural and legal barriers."

PCCNA President Jeff Farmer encouraged members to pray: "Father, lay the axe to the root of racism, prejudice and injustice in our cities and nations. Bring down arrogance, pride and hatred, and replace them with humility, love and righteousness. Heal the soul of our nation from the divisions that infect us. Show us how to demonstrate unity ... and live and walk united ... in the power of the Spirit. We are desperate for you to visit us again with a sweeping revival and spiritual awakening. Come, Lord Jesus, come!  And precious Holy Spirit, please bring peace and comfort to Charlottesville and all who were touched by this tragedy. What the devil intended for harm and mayhem, turn into healing and hope. You stand in faith that you will 'turn our mourning into dancing.'" 

To see comments from other Christian leaders on Charlottesville, click here for Charisma News' earlier story.

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