The presidential election of 2012 is now history, and the result was a disappointment to many evangelical Christians. In the build up to the election, there was a sense, among the evangelical community and the broader conservative population, that the country was sliding, ever more quickly, downhill. It seemed like TV programs and movies are more blatantly promoting the gay agenda and godless relationships. Obamacare threatened the rights of Christian companies. The growing accumulation of power in Washington had come at the expense of freedom for the citizens. In the face of what seemed like a tidal wave there was a sense that the election offered an opportunity to turn the tide.
But, alas, it wasn’t to be. What’s it mean? And what is a Christian business person to do?
Here’s one person’s opinion.
The election was an indicator of a deeper trend. Prior to this, there was a general assumption that the US was fundamentally a Christian nation: that Christian values were at the heart of the American mindset.
What may have been the case for the past two hundred plus years is no longer. As a country, we got the government we wanted. And that government is an expression of the larger culture. The election was just the latest and most dramatic tell tale.
The US is no longer a Christian nation. Many Americans have substituted faith in the government for faith in God. “I’m entitled” is a far more common thought than “I’m responsible.” The spirit of Mammon is firmly enthroned in every level of society, and the thirst for power driving every bit of morality from the strategic plans of the politicians. If there was any doubt before, the evidence is clear that America is in decline. Our best days are behind us.
We will face an increasingly antagonistic culture, and perhaps a government intent on disparaging our faith. It’s entirely possible that, within a generation, Christians will face persecution in this country.
While this state of affairs is heartbreaking, it should come as no surprise when viewed in the long-term perspective of history. A Christian nation is a rare, if not unique, exception in the history of nations. The Lord’s people have almost always been the minority, and frequently persecuted for their faith.
Don’t expect the church to come to the rescue. In one sense, the loss of Christian America can be seen as a failure of the church, at least in its institutional expression. According to Oz Hillman, in the years 1980 through 2010, the American church spent 530 billion dollars on itself, and yet the percentage of born-again adult Christians has remained virtually the same. (Faith & Work, p. 31.) For the most part, the institutional church is impotent and irrelevant to the battle at hand. (See Is The Church Irrelevant?)
On one hand, then, we have a culture that is no longer Christian, and that portents to become increasingly dark and antagonistic. On the other, we have an institutional church which has proven to be ineffectual.
So, what’s a Christian business person to do?
Step into the gap. Do more of what we have been doing, only with more focus, intentionality and purpose. The hope of Christian America is not political, but rather spiritual. Our purpose is to transform hearts and spirits. Christian business people must now see their organizations as having the responsibility to impact people, transform lives and shine the light of Jesus Christ into a culture growing ever darker.
Whereas in earlier generations, we thought of the church as a building with a professional Christian (pastor) as the person primarily responsible, in the future, we’ll need to see a more powerful expression of the church in the Christian-owned, privately held business. We no longer have just businesses; we have God-given organizations that carry the responsibility of the Lord’s work. Christian CEO’s must begin to see themselves as ‘pastors’ who have the mission to extend the Kingdom into every nook and cranny of its company’s reach.
The election, though disappointing and heartbreaking for many, will signal a new era of Christ’s power in this country.