Wednesday, September 27, 2023 Sep 27, 2023
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By D Magazine |

James Robison-TV evangelist, Southern Baptist, a man often referred to as God’s angry young man-has, during the past two years, undergone a complete transformation. A personal “deliverance” from Satan has led him out of the valley of darkness, and, apparently, out of the political arena. During the 1980 elections, Robison played a pivotal role in organizing Christians behind conservative, God-fearing candidates, with Ronald Reagan at the top of the list. As we embark on the 1984 election, Robison sees his mission in a different light.

D: You have said that your ministry has taken a new direction. Would you explain?

Robison: I have begun to see very clearly the importance of the Body of Christ coming together in unity and a bond of love. I define the Body of Christ as all of those who have accepted Jesus and made the decision to live as Christians. I believe that Christians have been divided-in doctrine, in purpose and every other way-to a point where we are not living as Jesus said we should live: united as One in Him. That is not to say that we won’t have our differences, even our divisions, but we will stand united in the love of Jesus. And I believe that you will see miracles more miraculous than ever before. . . healing that goes far beyond even the great strides of modern medicine. . .and a release of power that the world has not experienced since the days of the New Testament. We will be a world able to minister to the needs of everyone, to help and support those who are hurting, united in Jesus’ love. In some small way, I am a part of that.

D: Have you seen evidence of that unity yet?

Robison: Last Sunday night in Oklahoma, I spoke in a church to 7,000 people. Seven thousand people! I didn’t think you could get 7,000 people in a church, and I’m told they had to turn 1,000 away. And let me tell you, those people weren’t there to hear James Robison. They were there to receive the Word of God. I don’t want anyone to follow James Robison. I want to teach them to follow God. It’s like the story that says if you give a man a fish, you’ve fed him for a day. If you teach him to fish, you’ve fed him for a lifetime.

D: Do you still feel a call to unite Christians in political unity?

Robison: Back in 1979 and 1980,I felt a strong charge to wake up America. It’s like Walter Cronkite said when the 52 hostages were taken in Iran: “Someday, we might look back and slap our faces and say, ’Thanks, I needed that!’” I think we needed to wake up and realize that it is all of our duties to be informed and involved. I think people have heard that message, and I think I played a role in that-both publicly and behind the scenes. I continue to play a role behind the scenes, and if I see things aren’t going the way they should, I’ll make another loud noise.

But that period in my life was absolutely devastating-personally and financially. We lost so many friends-angry people, pastors who felt I’d turned away from Christianity and from God. I began to see, too, that I was in great need of ministering. You could say that first there was Wake Up America, then Wake Up James Robison and now it’s Wake Up Church.

D: Where do you think the church has gone wrong?

Robison: We’ve stripped people and taken from them until they’ve begun to feel like sheep with one measly patch of wool left. And they file into religious services wondering, “When are they going to try to take this, too?” I sat in a room recently where a pastor was passing an offering plate, and I mean you could feel the tension grow in the room. You can’t motivate or manipulate people to give. You can’t ask people, “Please, give money to support my ministry.” People support a ministry because they want to-because that ministry has helped them find God.

D: Do you think television has helped or hurt religion?

Robison: It’s probably done both. Television is a marvelous tool, with unequaled power to communicate a message all over the world. But some have used it as a vehicle for manipulation-I’ve probably been guilty of it myself, though I was sincere. But that’s not to say that we have to stop people from preaching on TV or even stop collecting money on TV. But you have to give people something that will change their lives. I want to help people to hear God. I see television as a way to do that, and as a means to build on this great swell of love that is uniting Christians in the name of Jesus.