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James Emery White asks,

“What one thing would bring about renewal and revival in America?”

Who could claim to know the answer?

I think there is a place to begin: real renewal, real revival will begin and be continued by widespread repentance for how we have failed to demonstrable unity and extend grace to those who call themselves Christians.

In John 13 and John 17, Jesus prayed for unity among those who claim His name. This, as Francis Schaeffer pointed out, is the “mark of the Christian.”

But Schaeffer went further and reminded us of its inherent challenge:

“Jesus is giving a right to the world. Upon his authority he gives the world the right to judge whether you and I are born-again Christians on the basis of our observable love toward all Christians.

“That’s pretty frightening. Jesus turns to the world and says, ‘I’ve something to say to you. On the basis of my authority, I give you a right: you may judge whether or not an individual is a Christian on the basis of the love he shows to all Christians.’”

At no other time would such love stand out more sharply against the cultural landscape. The lack of civility in our world is pandemic, and widely noted by mainstream media. Consider the recent USA Today article titled “Rudeness, threats make the Web a cruel world,” or The New York Times article on Wikipedia’s “Impolite” side. Peter Wood, in his book A Bee in the Mouth, speaks of this in terms of “anger in America.”

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