By Dan Hart
We live in a culture where fear seems to pervade the very air we breathe. Whether it be from the unvaccinated, or "systemic" racism, or, bizarrely, showing photo ID at a polling place, fear has become the driving force behind so much of our national discourse. But during the final night of the Pray Vote Stand Summit, speaker after speaker stood for a different way: perfect love casts out all fear.
"I want to challenge you tonight -- choose to love," said Pastor Carter Conlon. He emphasized that we as believers should never give in to anger and abandon hope for those who stand against us, but should instead pray earnestly for the conversion of people like President Biden, Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-N.Y.). "May we bring a right spirit to [God's] throne," he implored the summit. "May none of us be found there with anger in our hearts."
Allie Stuckey, host of the popular podcast Relatable, encouraged the summit to "raise a respectful ruckus" against bad ideas and bad policies and to "seek to have as much influence in the spheres in which God has providentially placed you as possible." She emphasized that everyone -- no matter if you're "washing dishes and changing diapers" or are running for elected office -- has this capacity and calling. Stuckey also underscored the importance of "sharing your arrows" -- supporting those who are being harassed and persecuted in the public sphere with words of encouragement, public support, and financial aid if possible. "The only thing that we can do is to do the next right thing in faith, with excellence, for the glory of God," she observed.
Pastor Amado Huizar of Chula Vista, California, preached a message of courage in the face of cancel culture: "You can't cancel my culture -- the culture of Jesus Christ." He related a moving story of a man involved with the Mexican mafia who came to his church "illegally" during California's unconstitutional lockdown of churches in 2020 where he accepted Christ and was baptized. The man said that he would most likely soon be killed for leaving the mafia, but he had decided to leave anyway to seek Christ. Soon after Huizar baptized the man, he found himself celebrating the man's life at his funeral after he was murdered by the mafia. If it wasn't for the church's fearless decision to stay open in violation of the lockdown, this man may never have been saved before his death.
Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker, hosts of the podcast Just Thinking, urged the summit to resist the sentimentalism and presumption of racial disharmony that is central to critical race theory (CRT). "We who are the followers of Christ have already been reconciled to God and to one another through Christ Jesus," Walker pointed out. In order to counter CRT and similar ideologies, Walker was clear: "It is the gospel that we need. We need to develop a doctrine of suffering as believers to understand that we live in a day and a time that is going to require more of us than it ever has in the past."
Army veteran and Congressman Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) gave the summit a clear-eyed assessment of the Afghanistan disaster. "It's hard to overstate how significant this is," he said. "I believe this is the worst foreign policy disaster in modern American history, even worse than the fall of Saigon, because there was no reasonable expectation in 1975 that the Vietcong were going to follow us home and hit us again here."
With regard to China, Waltz had a definitive message for America. "My call to action for all Americans, for all of you, when you pick something up in Walmart, you see it on Amazon, and it says, 'made in China,' put it down." He went on to encourage believers to be fearless in their purchasing power: "We still have the most powerful economy in the world. You all are its consumers and your families. And we as Christians need to step up and educate ourselves and start voting with the true power, because this is an economic conflict and that's how it's going to be won or lost."
Be sure to catch all the incredible speakers and panels from this year's Pray Vote Stand Summit at our video archives.