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