The year 2020 has certainly been a breathtaking year. Likely before the year even begun, two books were being written two figures on the conservative Christian scene—Cal Thomas, a journalist; and Albert Mohler, a theologian. These two books seem to be something of a prophetic call for Christians who live in the US. By prophetic, I mean in the sense of describing in detail what we are facing and what it means to be a faithful Christian at this time. I’d like to share some thoughts about them, and hopefully encourage you to read them for yourselves
“America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers and the Future of the United States” was written by Cal Thomas, and released in January. In the book, Thomas goes through several historic world empires using a model of empire history that sees world empires as having 250 years of greatness before they fall from a position of great influence. Each empire (Persia, Rome, Byzantium, Arab, Spain, Ottoman, Britain, Russia, and finally the USA) is taken through seven stages – pioneers, conquests, commerce, affluence, intellect, decadence, and decline. He hauntingly asks us at the beginning, “How would your life change if you knew the exact date of the end of the world, and that date was only a few years away?” Based on this model (it‘s only a model, and not a prediction), America has until July 4, 2026 until it has fully declined from “greatness.” Even with the Trump MAGA phenomenon (not an endorsement; I am not an enthusiastic Trump supporter like some of my Christian brothers), the events of this year seem to lend support that the direction is down and recovery may be impossible. The latest flareup around police brutality seems to be particularly bad, and in a direction toward anarchy.
“The Gathering Storm: Secularism, Culture, and the Church” was released by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. just this month. This book is truly about a loss of religious liberty which will lead to a loss of freedom in general and comes from a denial of God. It deals with the development of secularism, the mindset of a rejection of God practically and often actually, along with how it has impacted various aspects of American society with appropriate engagement of developments from Europe. Sadly, Christians have not been able to successfully stop the trend since the Enlightenment of the 19th century. Mohler addresses the denial of God’s design in the value of life, marriage, family, and gender/sexuality. These four areas are the foundation upon which the main threat the book builds toward — the threat of secularism for religious liberty. He also sketches the outcomes of the underlying secularization in two areas: (1) the lost and wandering generation (my generation) and (2) the secularizing influence of the cultural engines of Hollywood, big business, Silicon Valley, and academia. His conclusion is that we are here because God was denied as a fruit of the Enlightenment and modernity. The outcome must be a denial of religious liberty, and therefore the only solution is to reaffirm God’s existence, truth’s existence, and the idea of liberty as a corollary of proper value of human life.
At the end of their books, both Thomas and Mohler in general terms call us Christians to be faithful to our faith, even in the face of these troubles. Thomas outlines several suggestions for us, but it all boils down to being faithful to live like a Christian even as society may fall around us. He upholds the hope of 2 Chr. 7:14 as a general principle for the possibility of turning things around, though I would caution such an application of that verse though the principle still is valid. Mohler ends his book using the triad of faith, hope, and love—calling Christians to hold firm to the doctrines we profess, to have hope in God and in His ability to still work through the gathering storm, and to love people–people who may hold beliefs that are indeed harmful to themselves and persecute us for holding the very beliefs that are for their benefit and salvation from a society that cannot sustain them. I need to still deepen and strengthen my faith in view of the myriad of challenges we face.
I recommend both of these books to you–believers and even unbelievers.
If you are a non-believer, you will gain insight into history through Cal Thomas’s book and into Christians perspective about the trends that are popular in America while contrary to Christian faith.
If you are a believer, read these books to gain more insight into what we are seeing, and gain some motivation to face the course we are called to with joy and faithfulness. We must focus on revelation as the answer to the revolution posed by secularism. Deepen your faith, as I am am trying to do. Keep on serving God and building your families as you are able, and look to the soon and imminent return of Jesus Christ.