Friday, June 4, 2010

The Most Successful Ministers by David Barton

The accounts of lynchings are not just the lore of ancient American history. Many alive today still vividly remember those horrid occurrences, and many were personally and directly impacted by lynchings. One such individual is the Rev. Charles Jackson of Houston.

The Rev. Jackson is well known across the nation as one of our most successful ministers. He was the first pastor in America – of any color – to be televised nationally from the pulpit on a weekly basis. He also built a large successful mega-church in Houston: the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church with more than 5,000 families. Pastor Jackson has preached across the world, started hundreds of churches in America and abroad, written more than a dozen books, and traveled to foreign nations in company with a U. S. President. He was also the first black man in the modern era to be invited to attend a service in a major white church in South Africa and to be invited before the South African Parliament.

Despite his current renown, the Rev. Jackson’s beginnings were very humble. He was raised in east Texas, eight miles from the nearest city. His mother would walk those eight miles into town at the beginning of each week and would remain in town, working for one dollar a week; and then she would walk home for 1921 report on democrat pro-lynching filibuster Rev. Charles “c. l.” Jackson the weekends. One night, a terrified young black man came running up to their house; a mob was after him, seeking to lynch him. Pastor Jackson’s grandfather grabbed his shotgun and went out on the front porch to await the mob and defend the young man. The young man tried to dissuade him, warning that if he tried to help, the mob not only would kill the young man but also would likely burn down the house on top of the family. To spare the family that was trying to help him, the young man fled into the woods; the mob soon caught and lynched him, hanging him from a bridge. Pastor Jackson’s aunt was also taken by a mob, raped, and then murdered. The crowd refused to allow the family to reclaim the body. Understandably, these events etched vivid, indelible pictures in the mind of Pastor Jackson’s mother who had witnessed the lynch mob and whose own sister had been raped and murdered by a mob.

Mrs. Jackson later became pregnant but did not know at that time whether her unborn child was a boy or a girl. Nevertheless, she faithfully prayed over that unborn child each day as she walked the eight miles to and from town each weekend. That unborn child for whom she faithfully prayed was the Rev. Charles Jackson.

Considering how the Rev. Jackson turned out, his mother must have prayed powerful words in those daily prayers over him – look how successful he has been and how many hundreds of thousands of lives he has touched. So what was the daily prayer that she prayed over him? She simply prayed, “Lord, if this baby be a boy, don’t let him hang from a bridge.” Quite a sobering prayer. And even though the father of one of Pastor Jackson’s own staff members was lynched from that same bridge as recently as 1973, fortunately, the prayer prayed by Pastor Jackson’s mother is no longer prayed in America today.

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