Evangelicals Vote for Judgment on America

May 4, 2016, may some day be described as the day America died. For me, that day, to quote Charles Dickens, was the “best of times and worst of times.”

That evening I attended the 25th celebration of Shirley Dobson’s leadership of the National Day of Prayer in Washington, D.C. Her celebration was the BEST.

But prior to the evening banquet and prayer time, I was talking with Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert about the past two days he had barn-stormed Indiana with Ted Cruz. While we were talking, the Trump victory in the Indiana Republican primary was announced.

Our hearts sank as we realized that Ted Cruz–the “closest to Reagan” candidate in a generation–had been eliminated.That feeling was the WORST.

This will be the first of a trilogy on the 2016 elections. The second article will discuss how the Republican Party has devolved. The third will state who I plan to support. You may be surprised.

But first, how Evangelicals have voted for judgment on America.

You may think it hyperbole to talk about a day a nation died. Societies usually die slowly, with many slow cuts increasing bleeding until the civilization finally expires.

What prompted the analogy was a recent re-read of Thomas Cahill’s classic How the Irish Saved Civilization. It’s one of my favorite short histories and begins with a scene from December 31, 406 A.D. On that rather routine day, the Rhine River froze solid enough for vast hordes of barbarians to cross over from pagan Europe in a mass invasion of the Roman Empire.

The barbarians had been coming in drips and drivels for years. Roman civilization had also been dying for decades via high taxation and the empty pursuit of human pleasures.

Cahill postulates, “Rome fell because of inner weakness, either social or spiritual; or Rome fell because of outer pressure–the barbarian hordes. What we can say with confidence is that Rome fell gradually and that the Romans for many decades scarcely noticed what was happening.”

Less than four years later, Alaric the Goth stood at the gates of Rome. Caesar dispatched his envoys to make a deal with the barbarian commander. What would be the price of his departure?  Cahill recounts the scene:

“Alaric told them: his men would sweep through the city, taking all gold, all silver, and everything of value that could be moved. They would also round up and cart off every barbarian slave. But protested the hysterical envoys, what will that leave us?”

“Alaric paused. ‘Your lives.'”

In that pause, Roman security died and a new world was conceived. On August 24, 410 Alaric sacked the city of Rome and the Dark Ages began. But the tipping point may well have been December 31, 406.

Fast forward seventeen hundred years.

Western civilization and American leadership have been expiring for decades. There has not been a major spiritual awakening for over 150 years.  For two hundred years prior, seasons of national decline had been gloriously renewed via revivals in the 1730s-40s, early 1800s, and the Great Revival of 1857.

Those seasons of renewal and moral transformation kept the America nation centered on its belief in God. We reaffirmed the wisdom of His ways in public and private morality. “In God We Trust” gave the United States the courage to lead the world in fighting for freedom.

Then came the 20th century with its biblical criticism, the rise of militant atheism, the growth of Big Government, and the cultural rebellion of the 60s. Today, we are hurtling down slope of moral depravity where even young girls are battling for privacy in using public restrooms.

Sixty years ago, the collapse of the American foundations was stayed by the Jesus Revolution of the 60s and 70s (not a full-blown revival), the Washington For Jesus day of prayer and repentance in 1980, and the Reagan Revolution that followed.

These events at least retarded our Republic’s demise.

But in the 21th century we are running out of time. Moral relativism has poisoned the culture, secularists control education, the US is a weakening giant in its world role and stands arrogantly destitute before a Holy God.

2016 could have been a season of renewal–similar to 1980. As I’ve chronicled, many prayer movements exploded this year to call God’s people to repentance. In the 2016 presidential race, a number of God-fearing candidates stepped forward to call the nation back to its biblical moorings (Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, to name a few).

One who rose to the top of the pack was Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz was young, Hispanic, a gifted orator and debater, and put together the best national ground-game of any candidate. He then weathered the crowded Republican field to challenge populist billionaire Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

After an upset win in Wisconsin, it looked like Cruz was in striking distance of overcoming Mr. Trump.  Then came the real estate mogul’s huge win in New York and a series of victories in the relatively liberal confines of the Northeast. Indiana would be Ted Cruz’s “Alamo” for blunting Trump’s momentum and taking the Republican race to the national convention.

While I was talking to Rep. Gohmert on May 4, the Indiana primary arrived. Indiana contained a large population of evangelical Christians. In Wisconsin, biblical values voters had delivered for Ted Cruz. I was hopeful for the same result in the Hoosier state–and many were in prayer.

Then Indiana voted. Trump – 51%. Cruz – 43%. The race was over. American would not have the chance to elect a “Reagan-like” president in 2016 with strong faith in God and a belief in limited government.

Why did Ted Cruz lose? Because the Church did not vote its faith. And when the Church does not rise to be the salt and light of a culture–including elections–the nation is abandoned to the judgment of ungodly forces.

But it was not just the ignorance of Indiana Christians. Prior to the Hoosier primary, The Washington Post, not usually a champion of traditional values, stated: 

“One of the most surprising parts of the 2016 election has been evangelical Christian support for Donald Trump. In the 20 states where primary or caucus exit polls have been conducted so far, Trump has won an average of 36 percent of the vote from white “born-again or evangelical Christians,” good for a plurality in 12 states and only slightly lower than his support (38 percent) among all other Republican voters. Many in the evangelical community have wondered how their religious brethren could possibly back a twice-divorced candidate whose commitment to moral and cultural conservatism appears shaky at best.”

“The key to understanding Trump’s support among evangelicals is to realize that some evangelicals’ commitment to the faith is shaky, too. Trump does best among evangelicals with one key trait: They don’t really go to church. In short, the evangelicals supporting Trump are not the same evangelicals who have traditionally comprised the Christian Right and supported cultural warriors such as Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz.”

Conclusion? Many evangelicals don’t go to church, and those that do don’t vote their worldview and faith.

That “barrenness of knowledge” among American Christians had first been seen when the primaries went through the southern states. This was where Ted Cruz was expected to have a “firewall” of support after winning Iowa but losing to Trump in New Hampshire.

In the South, evangelicals make up fifty to sixty percent of the Republican primary electorate. (They are 25% of the entire US population). Yet, for example, in South Carolina 34 % of evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump, and in Georgia, Trump got 39% of the “Church” vote. 

To be fair, in the Republican primaries so far, 60% of evangelical Christians have not voted for the secular Trump. But nearly forty percent have.

That’s the difference this year. Those millions of professing Christians, by their unwise and unthinking votes, will give the White House to either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton (if she’s indicted–then Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden).

This means that for the first time in 240 years, Americans will not have a choice of a president with either a born again faith or biblical worldview. That void will only accelerate our problems and bring judgment (justice) on a back-slidden nation. The downward spiral of unbelief, morals, debt, division, and weakness will snowball.

We had our chance on May 4, 2016.  The Church blew it–there is no one else to blame. In 2008 and 2012 many American Christians didn’t vote at all. In 2016 they voted poorly.

In free nations, you get what you deserve (vote for). Is there any doubt that our civilization deserves judgment?

Two choices remain. Repentance or national implosion. If we continue to go the second route, then a modern-day Alaric may soon appear at our nation’s door.

Next week:  The Rise of the Secular Regressives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Bill Burtness on May 22, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Good insight, Ron. In fact, The Bible tells us point-blank that the character of the people at large is the cause and the effectiveness of the civil structure is only the effect. I Samuel 12:14-15. Americans have been looking for a king for years. For believers, this is especially about the character of God's people, because they must lead the way since they have the Instruction Book. All we can do now is APPEAL TO HEAVEN, and appeal we must. Perhaps God will have mercy and change His mind about us!

  2. Concerned Conservative on May 20, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Ron,
    I've re-posted on the chance that my previous post fell in to an electronic black hole. I'd really like to see how you respond to these points.

    The posts on Trump and the desperate need to put forth a “Christian” candidate for President ring hollow to many Conservative Christians. We’ve been there, done that, and have been disappointed over and over again. Let me take issue with some of the sweeping statements you make. First, the Jesus Movement of the 60’s and 70’s was the high point of the greatest revival movement in Christian history. There were more conversions, more churches built, more founding and strengthening of Christian Universities, more Christian music written, more radical life change, more creative entry into the arts, and a massive engagement in missions that dwarfed the previous revivals you note. It changed the forms of worship in every denomination. It changed Biblical scholarship. Very few scholars today deny that the Bible affirms the possibility of miracles and miraculous spiritual gifts today. This was an international move of the Spirit. Christians stood up and stepped into every area of life, political, social assistance, etc. The Charismatic Renewal jumped denominational walls. South Korea changed its national religion. The Pentecostal faith went from a minor movement to the majority Protestant faith in Asia, Africa, and South America, so much so that previously condemning evangelicals became less reluctant to share in taking credit for its success. It penetrated extremely remote places in Borneo, the Philippines, etc. as well as urban areas in Russia, Eastern Europe, and China. The second most identifiable Christian group in the world is Pentecostal/Charismatic, second only to Roman Catholicism. One has to go back to the Reformation to find something comparable in terms of influence and impact.

    Second, you write, “the first time in 240 years, Americans will not have a choice of a president with either a born again faith or biblical worldview.” I take issue with this. Do you think Obama v. Romney had a candidate with a Christian World View? How about Clinton – Dole, Nixon – Humphrey, Nixon – McGovern, Johnson – Goldwater, George HW Bush – Dukakis, Kennedy – Nixon. Please point out the born again Christians or the ones with anything that resembled a Christian World View. The closest the winners of these elections got to a Christian World View were photo-ops with Billy Graham at the White House.

    Evangelicals are voting for Trump in great numbers because they feel betrayed by fear-mongering votes for former “Christian” Presidents and congressional candidates. All three legs of the Conservative coalition in the Republican Party feel betrayed. Fiscal – The Republican Party and its leadership, with but brief respite, has massively expanded government spending when it held the reins of power and signed off on it when in the minority. Foreign Policy – George Bush and company wrecked the stability in the Middle East. While he was keen on trying to influence Islamic culture on behalf of women with quotas in the legislature, he was unwilling to make the slightest effort to protect minority Christians. He may end up a key player in making the Middle East Christianity extinct. From Bush onward our war on terror has been conducted with stifling rules of engagement costing American lives, and resulting in releasing dangerous captured terrorists back into the battle. Social – If one is a social conservative, one has to look at the Republican Party as a total flop. It has done nearly nothing to promote its concerns.

    Probably the biggest disappointment has been the train of gutless Supreme Court Justices. Scalia singlehandedly wrote religious liberty out of the Constitution in the Smith peyote drug decision. Sadly, it was left to Liberal dissenting justices to express concerns about religious liberty. Roberts wrote out property rights by expanding eminent domain, and legislating Obamacare from the Bench (justifying it on arguments so weak, its proponents didn’t mention them in briefs or oral arguments). And finally, our own Reagan-appointed Justice Kennedy writes gay rights into the Constitution and calls all religious people who won’t embrace gay marriage “bigots.” The Conservative Court nibbled away at affirmative action and abortion, but couldn’t bring itself to face these issues head on. When the Liberal wing of the court had the votes, they had no such reservations, advancing sweeping victories.

    On top of this, after recent historic landslides giving the Republicans control of the Senate and House (and record State House and Governorships), they have been unable to stop anything Obama wants to do. He just ignores them and issues executive orders while Congress fully funds his budget and wrings its hands. They have said for the past two years, “Oh we just have the majority on the Supreme Court, majorities in the Senate and House, but shucks our hands are tied. If we only had the Presidency, we’d do something.” Then they have the nerve to pass a separate bill abolishing Obamacare after they’ve fully funded it in an omnibus budget bill. Surprise. Obama vetoes it. Speaker Ryan declares a moral victory. It seems to the average person a cruel joke.
    Christians voted for Trump in the primary because they want someone not beholden to the corrupt system that both most “Christian” and other politicians revel in. They want an outsider, non-career politician sitting in the Oval Office. The revolving door of nepotism in DC, public officials serving special interests in DC in preparation for big buck lobbying jobs, and utter disregard for the American people’s long term interests have reached a climactic electoral moment. Americans voting for Trump are voting for some relief from an ever intrusive, corrupt, elite, revolving-door, life destroying federal government. Trump may or may not deliver, but then again our current career politicians over the last twenty years have been a bust on every front with declining prosperity, crony capitalism, bigger and bigger intrusive government, no enforcement of immigration laws, less and less religious freedom, less and less privacy, more and more tentative, costly, destructive foreign wars.

    For Republicans, it was not the year for Harvard elite, Goldman Sachs’ Cruz. Cruz is a good man, but his timing was off in this climate.

  3. Karen McKim on May 14, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    In the first place, Cruz is not even eligible to be President, according to the Constitution. He "played' unfairly and was perceived as crooked, stealing delegates from Trump. He is a known liar. His father preaches a 'dominion' theology.I could go on and on. If I really thought Cruz was a born-again, honest Christian, who could help to save this country, I would have voted for him. How many Christians, in past elections, voted for 'supposed Christians" such as Clinton (a Baptist), George W. Bush;, Obama – who still professes to be a Christian? "By their fruits you shall know them." We did not see Christ living in Cruz.

    We are believing that God can use a very human man to bring about His will for this country, thus we are supporting Trump.

  4. Counterpoint on May 14, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Ron, The posts on Trump and the desperate need to put forth a “Christian” candidate for President ring hollow to many Conservative Christians. We’ve been there, done that, and have been disappointed over and over again. Let me take issue with some of the sweeping statements you make. First, the Jesus Movement of the 60’s and 70’s was the high point of the greatest revival movement in Christian history. There were more conversions, more churches built, more founding and strengthening of Christian Universities, more Christian music written, more radical life change, more creative entry into the arts, and a massive engagement in missions that dwarfed the previous revivals you note. It changed the forms of worship in every denomination. It changed Biblical scholarship. Very few scholars today deny that the Bible affirms the possibility of miracles and miraculous spiritual gifts today. This was an international move of the Spirit. Christians stood up and stepped into every area of life, political, social assistance, etc. The Charismatic Renewal jumped denominational walls. South Korea changed its national religion. The Pentecostal faith went from a minor movement to the majority Protestant faith in Asia, Africa, and South America, so much so that previously condemning evangelicals became less reluctant to share in taking credit for its success. It penetrated extremely remote places in Borneo, the Philippines, etc. as well as urban areas in Russia, Eastern Europe, and China. The second most identifiable Christian group in the world is Pentecostal/Charismatic, second only to Roman Catholicism. One has to go back to the Reformation to find something comparable in terms of influence and impact.

    Second, you write, “the first time in 240 years, Americans will not have a choice of a president with either a born again faith or biblical worldview.” I take issue with this. Do you think Obama v. Romney had a candidate with a Christian World View? How about Clinton – Dole, Nixon – Humphrey, Nixon – McGovern, Johnson – Goldwater, George HW Bush – Dukakis, Kennedy – Nixon. Please point out the born again Christians or the ones with anything that resembled a Christian World View. The closest the winners of these elections got to a Christian World View were photo-ops with Billy Graham at the White House.

    Evangelicals are voting for Trump in great numbers because they feel betrayed by fear-mongering votes for former “Christian” Presidents and congressional candidates. All three legs of the Conservative coalition in the Republican Party feel betrayed. Fiscal – The Republican Party and its leadership, with but brief respite, has massively expanded government spending when it held the reins of power and signed off on it when in the minority. Foreign Policy – George Bush and company wrecked the stability in the Middle East. While he was keen on trying to influence Islamic culture on behalf of women with quotas in the legislature, he was unwilling to make the slightest effort to protect minority Christians. He may end up a key player in making the Middle East Christianity extinct. From Bush onward our war on terror has been conducted with stifling rules of engagement costing American lives, and resulting in releasing dangerous captured terrorists back into the battle. Social – If one is a social conservative, one has to look at the Republican Party as a total flop. It has done nearly nothing to promote its concerns.

    Probably the biggest disappointment has been the train of gutless Supreme Court Justices. Scalia singlehandedly wrote religious liberty out of the Constitution in the Smith peyote drug decision. Sadly, it was left to Liberal dissenting justices to express concerns about religious liberty. Roberts wrote out property rights by expanding eminent domain, and legislating Obamacare from the Bench (justifying it on arguments so weak, its proponents didn’t mention them in briefs or oral arguments). And finally, our own Reagan-appointed Justice Kennedy, a Catholic, writes gay rights into the Constitution and calls all religious people who won’t embrace gay marriage “bigots.” The Conservative Court nibbled away at affirmative action and abortion, but couldn’t bring itself to face these issues head on. When the Liberal wing of the court had the votes, they had no such reservations, advancing sweeping victories.

    On top of this, after recent historic landslides giving the Republicans control of the Senate and House (and record State House and Governorships), they have been unable to stop anything Obama wants to do. He just ignores them and issues executive orders while Congress fully funds his budget and wrings its hands. They have said for the past two years, “Oh we just have the majority on the Supreme Court, majorities in the Senate and House, but shucks our hands are tied. If we only had the Presidency, we’d do something.” Then they have the nerve to pass a separate bill abolishing Obamacare after they’ve fully funded it in an omnibus budget bill. Surprise. Obama vetoes it. Speaker Ryan declares a moral victory. It seems to the average person a cruel joke.
    Christians voted for Trump in the primary because they want someone not beholden to the corrupt system that both most “Christian” and other politicians revel in. They want an outsider, non-career politician sitting in the Oval Office. The revolving door of nepotism in DC, public officials serving special interests in DC in preparation for big buck lobbying jobs, and utter disregard for the American people’s long term interests have reached a climactic electoral moment. Americans voting for Trump are voting for some relief from an ever intrusive, corrupt, elite, revolving-door, life destroying federal government. Trump may or may not deliver, but then again our current career politicians over the last twenty years have been a bust on every front with declining prosperity, crony capitalism, bigger and bigger intrusive government, no enforcement of immigration laws, less and less religious freedom, less and less privacy, ever more politically correct, more and more tentative, costly, destructive foreign wars. For Republicans, it was not the year for Harvard elite, Goldman Sachs’ Cruz. Cruz is a good man, but his timing was off in this climate.

  5. Ed Sinke on May 13, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Ron, a very sober but I believe accurate appraisal of our situation as a nation. This morning I read that the President is going to order that all public schools adhere to the policy of bathrooms being transgender. The danger of a nation that has been and continues to speak and promote that which is evil as though it is good and evil that which is good. Praying for our nation.

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