America currently stands in a very dangerous position, said renowned pastor and author Dr. Charles Stanley. Today more than ever, the country is turning away from God and moving closer toward socialism, he warned. And the consequences will be grave.
"We know the truth, we know the principles of God. In spite of all that, we find ourselves as a nation violating the laws of God, heading in a direction that is going to be disastrous for us, for our children and the generations that are to come unless there is a change," he said.
Speaking to thousands at First Baptist Church of Atlanta and to a live Web audience on Friday, Stanley delivered a sobering 4th of July message about a dangerous spiritual tide that is engulfing the country and the crucial need for prayer.
"There is a tide that has touched the shores of our land and reached the heart of our nation," he said against the backdrop of the U.S. flag. "It is a tide that is bringing with it ideas and philosophies, actions and attitudes that will ultimately destroy the way of life that you and I have."
The influential pastor and founder of In Touch Ministries listed 12 things involved in the tide. Among them are the financial crisis and the move toward socialism.
With the national debt rising by the billions every day and increasing taxation, future generations will likely be left with a debt so heavy that they'll never be able to spend most of what they make, he said.
Addressing the idea of spreading the wealth, Stanley emphasized, "It is not the government's responsibility to take care of us. It is to protect us.
"We're responsible for taking care of ourselves."
Socialism, he pointed out, is opposed primarily to Christianity and Judaism.
"In Christianity, we're taught to do our best because we've been gifted by God. So there's motivation, willingness and we cooperate," he explained. "We use our spiritual gifts for the good of everyone."
But under a socialist society, in which the government controls all means of production and distribution, there is no motivation for diligence and creativity is stifled, he said.
When there is less reward, there is less to give. And as evidenced in the recent downturn, what suffers first is supporting missionary work.
"You see, it affects every single aspect of society," Stanley warned.
He added, "Naturally, when the government takes control, do you think that freedom of speech is always going to be there?"
"The tide is bringing in a control that will indeed attempt to silence the truth and will attempt to squash the religious devotion and worship of the people of God."
That tide began creeping in many years ago, he noted, when the government and the courts began banning prayer at schools and removing references to Jesus, God and the Ten Commandments from the public square, Stanley noted.
"It is an attempt to destroy the Christian spirit in America," he said.
"There is a war going on against Jesus," he declared. "It's part of the strategy. The primary reason for this war against Him is He is interfering with the plan to make this a socialist nation. Mark it down. It is the truth."
Among the other elements of the dangerous tide are: terrorism, turning our backs on Israel, the announcement that the United States is not a Christian nation, increasing national disasters, a departure from the biblical view of marriage, and support for killing the unborn, Stanley listed.
"Mark this down for socialism because these three groups of people who do not contribute to the state ... are of no value: unborn babies, the elderly and those who are disabled," said the Atlanta pastor.
With the tide moving fast, Stanley issued a charge to Christians to turn it around.
He called believers to join him in 140 days of humbling themselves, repenting of sins and praying to God.
"The Bible says judgment begins at the house of God. We're not expecting lost people to do all this because this is the work of the people of God; it is our responsibility," he stressed. "A lot of where we are is because of our apathy. We haven't prayed for these men who are making decisions."
"Do you want this nation to keep going where it's going or do you want us to get back on track?" he posed.
Prayer, he said, is the one thing he knows that works.
"Do you believe God answers prayer?" he asked. "Pray for God to change the direction of this tide."
He added that those prayers have to be backed up with righteousness and a godly life if they are to be effective and nation-altering.
"There has never been a nation like these United States. We do not want it to fail or to fall."
To join Stanley in 140 days of prayer, visit: http://intouch.org/