Courthouse hosts 3-Day Christian revival
Delta Digital News Service
POCAHONTAS, Ark. – For the first time in the history, the Randolph County Courthouse lawn was the venue of a three-day Christian revival, which ran Sept. 16- 18, 2019.
The Northside Freewill Baptist Church organized the multi-day gathering that attracted more than 150 people. It was the first attempt by event organizers to reach out to the community and lawmakers through their ‘Bringing America Back to God’ revival.
Pastor Jerald Dean, whose church organized the event said, “Members of Congress are not doing what is right. They do not pray before making decisions. They are enacting laws that do not represent the will of God but to please the electorate for the sake of votes.”
Quoting George Washington’s farewell address to the nation and founding father Patrick Henry, Dean said, “Let no one claim trick you of American patriotism if they attempt to remove religion from politics. Patrick Henry said, it could not be emphasized too strongly or too often, that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religion but by the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Dean said Christians in America are facing persecution for preaching what they believe and are in fear that lawmakers will label them as teaching hate crime. “America was a country founded under God and lawmakers must come back to the Church to seek guidance to save America,” he emphasized.
Dean said America should base the foundation of the nation on the word of God because when the pilgrims came to America, they came for religious freedom- to serve God freely. He said they (Christians) are still able to do so; however, there is still much persecution against them. “When they teach and preach the word of God as it says from the pulpit, the lawmakers turn around and blame them for preaching hate crime,” he said.
Joy Swift, the lead organizer of the event and a member of the Northside Freewill Baptist church, said the Republicans and Democrats are not working together for the good of the people but witch-hunting on each other. She said there is a falling away in the church and there is no outpouring of the spirit. Swift said no one stepped forward to get saved during the three-day event. She said Christians are facing persecution; they cannot preach against what the Bible says is sinful.
“If the Bible says it’s a sin, it’s a sin; homosexuality, fornication and adultery are sins. Christians have abandoned Christian values,” she said.
Pocahontas resident Missy Philips, an attendee at the event, said everyone needs to come together as one under God, and it’s unfortunate that even schools no longer teach children the old bible stories and from where humans came.
Her husband Ricky Philips said all churches are dwindling; there is a big falling away, there aren’t many young people to replace the old generation that is dying because no one is teaching the young people about God in their homes anymore.
One of the guest speakers Pastor Terry Miller of the Assembly of God church in Pocahontas said, “America is one generation away from being a Godless society, which is the leading cause of violence.” Miller said that unless there is a spiritual awakening, America is slipping into a wave of darkness.
The County Judge David Jansen said he had tried to put up the Ten Commandments at the courthouse but faced opposition. He said lawyers argued that placing the Ten Commandments at the county courthouse would appear as mixing the state with religion. It would also bring controversy where other faiths including the Satanist, would want to put up their statues in the same place, as was the case in Oklahoma where Satanists requested to place their figures next to the Ten Commandments at the State Capitol.
Referring to Thomas Jefferson’s address to the Baptist, Dean said, the first amendment created the wall of separation between church and state, but that wall is a one-directional wall, keeping the government from running a church but making sure that Christian principles will always stay in government.
By giving the go-ahead to the Northside Freewill Baptist Church to hold an event at the courthouse lawn at no cost, Jansen said he might have given every religion and non- religious groups a pass at utilizing the county lawn for their gatherings. He said that though his personal beliefs may conflict, such as deciding not to preside over marriages because his belief does not allow him to preside over same-sex marriages, he is still a public servant and can not discriminate against any faith that decides to use the county lawn.
However, the Mayor of Pocahontas Kevin Sutton was quick to add that the lawn was open for everything positive. Sutton said the event was a great thing for Pocahontas.
Jansen said the County holds prayer meetings quarterly at the courthouse and there was a prayer meeting scheduled for September 26 that would take place at the lawn. He said it would be the first prayer meeting that he has missed because of prior commitments.
Dean said that the revival was non-denominational and others such as Pastor Aaron Winfrey of O’Kean Freewill Baptist Church and Pastor Dewayne Smith, the Regional Overseer of Assembly of God Church also preached during the last two days of the event respectively.
Dean said they were not planning to hold the revival in any other venue anytime soon. Swift said they wished other pastors would hold a similar revival in their counties; she hoped to make the revival an annual event.
Editor’s Note: Featured photo shows crowd attending three-day Christian revival on the lawn of the Randolph County Courthouse. Photo by Christine Miyawa