Peter Marshall is looking for a great awakening--the Third Great Awakening, to be exact; the kind of nation-shaking revival that would change America's social and cultural fabric.
Well known for his books and lectures on America's Christian heritage, Marshall says corporate prayer movements such as this month's National Day of Prayer May 5 and the Global Day of Prayer May 15 are steps in the right direction.
But the son of former U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall and author Catherine Marshall says winning the culture war also requires that Christians remember why they're fighting. "People don't realize why America is worth saving," Marshall told Charisma. We must rediscover our Christian roots, he added, "for without a vision the people perish."
Marshall hopes to help cast that vision this month as he speaks at Maryland-area events commemorating the National Day of Prayer. But educating Christians about the nation's spiritual foundation shouldn't be limited to one day in the year, he said. Marshall believes U.S. churches should hold regular American heritage classes.
"This nation's future is very much in doubt," said Marshall, a Presbyterian minister who leads Restoring America Ministries (www.restoringamerica.com) based in Orleans, Mass. "While abortion has been the major quarrel God has had with this nation, homosexual 'marriage' has become the galvanizing moral issue, for it's the most blatant example of the rejection of God's laws and intentions for humans. The continual onslaught of attacks aimed at the destruction of the family is unraveling our society."
Last year, Mission Connecticut invited Marshall to speak at West Point and its first Greater Waterbury Civic Leader Prayer Breakfast. "He gave people the vision this country was founded on," said the group's president, Peter Scalzo. "He also stimulated them to a great deal of wonder--and anxiety--about where our country is and where it's going."
John Tomicki of the League of American Families in New Jersey uses Marshall's books in his group's seminars and church presentations. "His books show people the biblical foundations of our culture and our government," Tomicki said.
With a clear understanding of America's Christian roots, Marshall said, churches can begin to assess their own role in the nation's downturn. "God is trying to get our attention, to turn us back to Him," Marshall said. "We must come to a deeper repentance and let God change us."
He said the church also must understand the concept of true Christian community. "We need to be involved in each other's lives, so we grow in Christ," he said. "In turn, we will find that ministry comes out of that shared life in Jesus Christ. Then we Christians will become more deeply involved as salt and light in our society."
Marshall is co-author of The Light and the Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea and Sounding Forth the Trumpet, which describe the faith of the early architects of the United States. He said he plans to release a collection of his father's famous World War II sermons, and is co-writing a series of historical fiction for youth.
But his passion is to see revival. "I believe the Lord is serious about bringing this nation alive in Him," he said. "The situation is serious, but God still rules."
Catherine J. Barrier