Bishop Harry Jackson Jr., a conservative pastor and evangelical adviser to President Donald Trump, has died, according to his church.
via Religion News:
Jackson, 66, died Monday (Nov. 9), according to a statement posted on the website of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, where he was senior pastor.
“It is with a heavy heart that we notify you that our beloved Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr. has transitioned to be with the Lord on November 9, 2020,” the statement read. “Please pray for the Jackson family’s comfort and respect their right to privacy at this time.”
The Rev. Rickardo Bodden, chief of staff of Hope Christian Church, told Religion News Service he did not know the cause of Jackson’s death.
“In our divided society, only the church can model unity,” Jackson told RNS around the time of a race and reconciliation gathering he spearheaded in Dallas in 2015, on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. “We must lead the way in erasing the disparities in U.S. education, our criminal justice system, and in urban economic development.”
As one of Trump’s unofficial evangelical advisers, Jackson visited the White House on numerous occasions and attended Trump’s closing speech at this year’s Republican National Convention.
In late September, Jackson and a number of other faith leaders attended a White House ceremony where Associate Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was announced as Trump’s nominee to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Two faith leaders were among several people who attended that event and later tested positive for the novel coronavirus, including Trump and first lady Melania Trump. Jackson was also tested after the event but his results were negative, the church told RNS in an early October voicemail.
The same day as the Rose Garden ceremony, Jackson participated in the Franklin Graham prayer march in D.C. And on Nov. 1, he held a town hall with Vice President Mike Pence at Hope Christian Church.
He last spoke at Hope Christian on Tuesday, at the church’s midweek service. In a video posted to his Twitter feed on Monday, Jackson gave a brief devotional, based on Psalm 100, about the power of thankfulness.
“The idea is that there is progression,” he said in the video. “It’s like turning off the street into a gate of a property. And then I praise God — it is talking about what God has done, how he has been faithful in the past, that often catapults me further into the manifold presence of God.”
Bodden said the church has continued to have virtual services during the coronavirus pandemic but also had “limited in-person services on some Sundays,” from Oct. 11 through Nov. 1, in accordance with guidance from its county and the state of Maryland.
In 2005, Jackson was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and during his treatment had a stroke. He told “The 700 Club” in 2015 that at one point, he was “24 hours away from dying.” During that interview, he said God still had work for him to do.
“If my assignment is not over here on Earth, I am immortal until I’ve finished that assignment.”
Jackson is the author of a number of books, including 2013’s “You Were Born for More: Six Steps to Breaking Through to Your Destiny” and 2004’s “The Warrior’s Heart: Rules of Engagement for the Spiritual War Zone.” He also co-wrote books with pollster George Barna and with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
According to his church’s biography, Jackson graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts and later earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business school before becoming a pastor.
Evangelical author and speaker Stephen Mansfield said Jackson was a gifted and humble leader and one of his heroes in the faith. Mansfield said Jackson, who was a friend, was respected by a wide range of political leaders.
“The thing I most admire about him is the way he seemed to walk the line between the left and the right politically,” he said.
Wherever he is — do you think he’s talking to Herman Cain?