Bishop Harry Jackson Jr., senior pastor at Hope Christian Church and presiding bishop of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches, passed away 9 November. He will be remembered for his moderate voice, his advocacy for justice and his faith.
“In our divided society, only the church can model unity,” Jackson told Religion News Service on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. in 2015. “We must lead the way in erasing the disparities in U.S. education, our criminal justice system, and in urban economic development.”
“In our divided society, only the church can model unity.”—Bishop Harry Jackson Jr.
In an interview published on the 700 Club Interactive YouTube channel, Rev. Jackson described being diagnosed in 2005 with esophageal cancer. “Most people die within three or four months of diagnosis,” he said. While undergoing treatment, he suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body and a blood clot from his leg brought him within 24 hours of a possible pulmonary embolism according to his doctors. But he never despaired.
His faith was such that he believed, “If my assignment is not over here on Earth, I am immortal until I’ve finished that assignment.”
His turning point took place in the ICU after esophageal surgery when he was shown an article just published about him in the Baltimore Sun headlined “Seizing a New Moral Mantel,” and he knew the Lord was telling him he had made it. “God allowed special things to happen to show me that I wasn’t out of the race but rather in His will.”
Jackson told Religion News Service, “What I believe is that the whole left and right paradigm that politics has chosen to create for itself is fundamentally incorrect because the Bible has both what we call left and right issues.”
He believed in the importance of “a reconstruction of the black family and there has to be a coming together with the broader evangelical community in order for us to make a change.”
Jackson was one of dozens of evangelical Christian leaders who encouraged the Trump administration to advocate for criminal justice reform that was an alternative to its “tough on crime” language by signing a “Justice Declaration” in 2017.
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