Why I Have Mixed Feelings About Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option

While Dreher is writing about the rise and fall of America, I feel stirred to write about the fall and rise of America.

Three Episodes from the Life of St. Benedict, painted in 1475 by Neroccio di Bartolomeo de' Landi

By Michael Brown Published on March 17, 2017

I’m thrilled that the The Benedict Option, the new book by the well-known conservative journalist Rod Dreher, is getting an immediate national hearing, and deservedly so. Dreher brings an urgent word at an urgent time, stating in no uncertain terms that we are in a spiritual and cultural crisis of monumental, historic proportions. Let the wake-up call be sounded! At the same time, Dreher conveys a spiritual pessimism that seems to deny the possibility of an imminent, culture-shaking revival, as if there can be no great awakening in this generation. Says who?

Dreher Offers Timely Wisdom

To be sure, Dreher’s book is filled with godly wisdom and Christian challenge, calling on believers to reassess what it means to be followers of Jesus in a very worldly world and encouraging all of us who live in America to recognize the great differences that often exist between biblical faith and political conservatism.

And, to repeat, his warnings to American (and European) Christians are urgent and necessary, as he writes:

There are people alive today who may live to see the effective death of Christianity within our civilization. By God’s mercy, the faith may continue to flourish in the Global South and China, but barring a dramatic reversal of current trends, it will all but disappear entirely from Europe and North America. This may not be the end of the world, but it is the end of a world, and only the willfully blind would deny it. For a long time we have downplayed or ignored the signs. Now the floodwaters are upon us — and we are not ready.

Yes, he continues,

The storm clouds have been gathering for decades, but most of us believers have operated under the illusion that they would blow over. The breakdown of the natural family, the loss of traditional moral values, and the fragmenting of communities — we were troubled by these developments but believed they were reversible and didn’t reflect anything fundamentally wrong with our approach to faith. Our religious leaders told us that strengthening the levees of law and politics would keep the flood of secularism at bay. The sense one had was: There’s nothing here that can’t be fixed by continuing to do what Christians have been doing for decades — especially voting for Republicans.

Certainly, this needs to be said, and we must feel the weight of these words. Indeed, if we had been listening carefully, we would have heard Christian leaders like Francis Schaeffer telling us decades ago (even in the late 70’s) that we had become a post-Christian society, prompting him to write his Christian Manifesto, among other relevant works.

From my perspective, though, the problem remains the same now as then; it has just become more acute. That also means that the solution remains the same; it is just more desperately needed.

The True Solution: Spiritual Awakening

That solution is a massive spiritual awakening that produces a gospel-based moral and cultural revolution, and it is for that awakening and revolution that I live every day of my life.

So I differ with Dreher when he states that “Nobody but the most deluded of the old-school Religious Right believes that this cultural revolution can be turned back. The wave cannot be stopped, only ridden.”

The solution to a post-Christian society is a massive spiritual awakening that produces a gospel-based moral and cultural revolution.

Actually, I know many thousands of fervent young people — they are anything but “the old-school Religious Right” — who are praying and fasting and believing and striving for a massive turning in their generation, like 16-year-old Autumn, who joined me on the radio this week to explain why her generation is “the pro-life generation.”

And there is a whole generation of homeschooled kids who are growing up today with a strong counter-culture mentality, not easily swayed by their peers, and their numbers are growing, not declining. Will they have no discernible impact in the days ahead?

And what of the fact that the Left keeps getting more extreme, from the latest examples of transanity to the latest examples of college campus PC madness? Will not this produce a cultural push-back?

Dreher asks,

Could it be that the best way to fight the flood is to … stop fighting the flood? That is, to quit piling up sandbags and to build an ark in which to shelter until the water recedes and we can put our feet on dry land again? Rather than wasting energy and resources fighting unwinnable political battles, we should instead work on building communities, institutions, and networks of resistance that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the occupation.

But who can really live like this? When the moral confrontation comes to your place of business, to your school, to your family, to your life, to your church, do you simply retreat and say, “I surrender my convictions and capitulate, seeing that there’s no way to turn the cultural tide”? God forbid.

We Still Need Gospel-Inspired Activism

I understand, of course, that Dreher is focusing on political battles and on political solutions to society’s deeper problems, and I concur with him that our energies must not primarily be spent there. But surely, if we don’t let our lights shine brightly and clearly in the culture, we will be held responsible by God for our nation’s even more rapid collapse. And how do we explain to our children that, due to our spiritual pessimism, we gave way to the flood, which has now swallowed their future as well?

If we don’t let our lights shine brightly and clearly in the culture, we will be held responsible by God for our nation’s even more rapid collapse.

I have been reminded by pro-life champions that things looked much worse for their movement in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade than they look for the pro-family movement in the aftermath of the 2015 Obergefell decision redefining marriage. Yet they didn’t throw in the towel, and despite the horrible loss of more than 55 million babies, we continue to see pro-life gains to this day, with the possibility of the reversal of Roe v. Wade on the horizon.

Just as importantly, countless thousands of babies have been saved since 1973 because these pro-life warriors did not throw in the towel or drop out of the battle. Try telling the men and women and children who are alive today because of pro-life tenacity that it would have been better if these pro-lifers decided not to fight the abortion flood.

America’s Rise and Fall, or Fall and Rise?

Again, I absolutely affirm Dreher’s call for a return to a deeper biblical faith (after all, I wrote a book called How Saved Are We? in 1990) and the exhortation to build a real, at times hidden, counterculture society (after all, I’ve been preaching about a gospel-based revolution — hardly a light concept — since the late 1990’s, saying that it must begin in the church).

Thus I embrace the strong challenges put forth in The Benedict Option and I affirm many of the strategies. At the same time, I feel that now, more than ever, is the time for us to engage — meaning, engaging in personal repentance, engaging in prayer for awakening, engaging in unashamed evangelism, and engaging in confronting the culture, with pastors and Christian leaders taking the lead.

Later this year, Thomas Nelson will be publishing my newest book, Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation. In this book, I also lay out clearly the dire condition of our nation — in graphic and stark terms — but rather than seeing the current darkness as irreversible for the moment, I see it as the backdrop against which our light can shine even more clearly.

That’s why the last chapter of the book is titled “The Church’s Great Opportunity.” In it, I point back to past times in our national history, such as immediately before the Great Awakening in the 1700’s, when Rev. Samuel Blair explained that “Religion lay as it were dying, and ready to expire its last breath of life in this part of the visible church. …”

Then the awakening came, and the rest, as they say, is history.

So, while Dreher is writing about the rise and fall of America, I feel stirred to write about the fall and rise of America.

Am I wrong?

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  • Gary

    If you believe, as I do, that we are in “the last days” of history just prior to the “Great Tribulation” and “the end of the world as we know it”, then you believe that the current situation is reflected in II Timothy chapter 3, and chapter 4:1-4. No indication in that scripture of any nationwide “revival” or masses turning to Christ. There is no doubt that society is becoming more wicked and corrupt. Could God change that? Sure. Will God change that? Based on the NT, I don’t think so.

    • A Cater

      I have to agree based on the fulfillment of end time prophecies (eg.Israel restored as a nation) . The Bride of Christ is looking for the Rapture then the gospel will return to Israel’s elect (Rev 7) during the tribulation. The nominal church continues to stumble along in Spiritual blindness of their sinful social”gospel” with little interest in God’s Word or holiness

      • Paul

        I’m curious to know what you mean by sinful social “gospel”.

        • A Cater

          I mean lowering the standards of holiness as defined in the New Testament to attract church membership. Born again believers that have received the Holy Spirit are repulsed by the wickedness of today.

      • Kevin Quillen

        if the restoration of Israel as a nation is relevant, please tell me how long a generation is. The generation that sees this event will supposedly see the return of Christ. 1948 was 69 years ago. How much time could there be left? Maybe it is time to rethink this? See my response to Gary above.

        • Autrey Windle

          What is wrong with just believing that Jesus will return and no one will know the day or the hour? So everyone can disagree about the interpretation of end-time prophecy, but God knows the truth and has said the return will happen. Why not just be a good Christian and pray for the lost souls to be saved before the hour is upon us? You don’t have to agree on much of anything, but if it gives you comfort or interests you, you can invite the Lord to give you ears to hear, eyes to see and compassion for everyone, not the least of which are believers of different religions. They may need your understanding and compassion even more than the heathens and heretics if you really think about it. The devil wrote the book on divide and conquer. Please, brothers and sisters, don’t give the enemy an inch. Join in prayer for our nation and our world together as the body of Christ in it’s multi-faceted reality. In Jesus name, AMEN.

          • Kevin Quillen

            My brother; Jesus said He would return in the generation of His disciples. Either He was wrong, or He lied, or He came back when He said He would. C. S. Lewis said that Matt 24:34 was the saddest verse in the Bible. The credibility of Christ is at stake. The correct understanding of prophecy is critical. The world may say that if Jesus cannot be trusted then why should we believe anything? Many have rejected Christ because of this. We must get it right.

          • Autrey Windle

            Kevin, I have been researching as you asked and I have to say that I hope you will do some research as well. I do not understand how you could possibly agree with Christianity and the word of God and come to these unusually transparently wrong conclusions.. No wonder you don’t like religion! What is a wonder is that you see yourself as following the words of the only God-breathed document ever made available to all mankind. I will Pray that you have ears to listen and eyes to see. There is certainly an end to the current madness and, while bittersweet, the ending has already been written and will come to pass whether you believe it or not. There is a lot of comfort in the inevitable sadness around us if you believe and trust the return of Jesus will restore. Go with the one true God and may you find the actual truth. Amen

        • A Cater

          Thanks for asking. I don’t think it’s defined in Scripture but it’s commonly felt to be 40 years as a minimum but could be much longer. Reading your comments to Gary it appears you’re not a Believer in Bible prophecy as it relates to the Endtime and the hour in which we’re living so obviously we have vastly different views.

          • Kevin Quillen

            I am a pantelist. All prophecy has been fulfilled. The “end times” is past. That phrase related to the end of the Old Covenant. Prophecy was completed in 70 A.D. when the Temple was destroyed and the Jews lost their favored status. There is one race now, according to Ephesians 2:14-16. The rebirth of Israel was and is meaningless. We(Christians) are the New Jerusalem, the city of God. We are living stones(1 Peter 2:5) and pillars in the temple (Rev 3:12). The earth will not burn up as commonly believed. The verse most used for this is 2 Peter 3:10, the word “elements” here refers to the “law” ending. Paul uses the same word in Galatians for the weak and beggarly “elements” of the law. So, if you believe that the rebirth of Israel is significant, how much longer can the “generation” be?
            I mean no disrespect, but would like to encourage you to research preterism and Christian Universalism. Combined, they become Pantelism. All prophecy fulfilled and ALL will come back to our Father through Christ. You and I are “saved” from the wrath of God by accepting Jesus in this life, those who do not come to Christ will be punished in proportion to their sin and when the punishment brings repentance, and their knee bends to Jesus, they will join us in Heaven.
            God is love and love does no harm. Jesus told us to love and to do good to our enemies, would He do less then He expects of us?
            May God grant you peace and wisdom.

    • Clark Coleman

      I have been hearing this kind of thinking since at least the 1970s, and it has served to destroy the church’s spirit everywhere it is found. “Why bother to fight some battle, when it is all about to end anyway?” Nowhere in scripture do we see such an attitude condoned by God.

      • Gary

        I’m not suggesting running away from battles. I’m suggesting that things on this earth are soon going to change dramatically. Society has been gradually getting worse for decades, and shows no sign of improving, despite what some Christians have done to try to keep it from doing that. History is about to end. Christians will soon be removed from the Earth. God will soon pour out his wrath on whoever is left. I understand that most people don’t believe that, but I do. Until I am removed, I intend to try to live right and resist evil, just like I have been doing.

        • Kevin Quillen

          Gary, End times foolishness is a big reason for our present state. There is no rapture, destruction of earth, no Armageddon, or return of Christ. We are in the eternal state right now. This is it. Please research J N Darby and then go and listen to Don K Preston videos about the “end times”. I mean no disrespect but this has to end. Dispensationalism has made Christ seem to be a liar or a lunatic. If a simple statement from Christ to His disciples cannot be understood, then we are in serious trouble. Matt 24:34. Food for thought….if Christ has not yet returned, then you cannot be sure of your salvation, because He has not fulfilled His role as High Priest. Heb 9:28

          • Gary

            That is not what the Bible says. I could not disagree with you more. Yours is an Unchristian point of view.

          • Kevin Quillen

            I am a “pantelist”. Combination of Full Preterist and Christian Universalist. Look them up and do a little research, you might get a surprise.

          • Ravi Malka

            This view point has no substantial biblical truth in it and is founded on shifting sand

      • Kevin Quillen

        this end times silliness is harming the image of Christ and making Christianity look so foolish.

  • Autrey Windle

    I’m not a biblical or any other kind of scholar but I retain the impressions and impacts of my reading and hearing. I don’t know this journalist but these reports are leading me to investigate. I have to say I agree with you about the fall and rise of America. I know the truth of Americans having let the mission creep of the radicals tear away the fabric of unity of these United States, but I believe that God is the greatest power, not these angry lemmings. I, like hopefully thousands of others like me, have overcome the abuses of the religions of my childhood and returned to God to find many churches have turned from the old condemning judgmental ways to kindness, forgiveness and espousing the true love; the grace of God. I know saving America seems like a long shot, but if not America then who? We are the only nation in the world founded on religious liberty for all. I remember hearing stories in the Bible besides the obvious David and Goliath about God evening the odds for His chosen outcomes by miraculous wins on the field of war against His children. Insurmountable just means God gets to show off a little and when He flexes His muscle; then there will be no doubt where the miracles come from. I, personally, know this as recently as last summer and have all the Doctors to validate it. I am one miracle being witnessed by one community or city; think what God will do with thousands more just like me in everyone’s own backyard. We little miracles, who honor and love our Heavenly Father, are America’s revival and we can turn the ugly Babylonian tide everywhere it threatens to erode our shores. We are the church and we are returning to church buildings as they start opening their doors to the Bible and not just religion. Yes, I believe we have assurance to be hopeful for God’s protection and America’s redemption.

  • Don Bryant

    I gave just read Benedict Option. Very friendly to Dreher’s posture. I do think most Christians underestimate the depth of the darkness rolling in. Dreher gets this right. But it is clear that he has no Evangelical theology of revival, which is sparse in the liturgical/sacramental traditions. God does not have to send revival, and He may not. He may bring a great judgment upon us for our rebellious ways. He would be just in doing so. Yet He may in a monent send upon us tongues of fire that lead to a new live and boldness that rolls away the dark clouds. Surely this is our hope. But much of what Dreher recommends we should be doing anyway.

    • Read my comment above and consider the Dominican Option. The Dominicans re-evangelized Europe at the turn of the 13th century. 😉

  • Mark T

    I believe there will be no revival in America or Europe. Josiah did all he could do to remove all the wickedness from Israel and in all his efforts to clean things up God makes this statement. 2 Kings 23:26 Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.

    Like the nation of Israel we have raised a generation that is from it very core deprived of moral goodness and the only way to correct this is for God to purge as He did with Israel. They had to go into captivity to be cleansed. We are in the same type of days of Jeremiah where it was inevitable that they were going into captivity. It is through this that revival will come. God promised that those who trusted in Him would be cared for through this time. Jeremiah 24:6 “For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.” Our message should be get right before it is too late.

    The church does not even understand holiness any more. We call holiness evil legalism. Salvation is by grace alone but holiness comes by godly legalism (defining common standards of separation from a worldly system). The church has very much defined itself by our culture under the deception that we need to be relevant. We cannot call the sinner out of the worldly cultures that stand against God when we adopt that which we should reject. Calling people to salvation is to call them to leave the worldly system and we say nobody will accept Jesus if He doesn’t accept them for who they are. The fact is nobody can truly accept Jesus unless they turn from the world. I came out of Rock n Roll and it is a culture of evil. It is founded on Aleister Crowley’s religion and spread by the false prophet Timothy Leary. The music represents a culture of occult. That start may have occurred in the sixties and now we are reaping the fruits of it. It makes me so upset that Christians have made the music even the music of the church patterned after this evil.

    • Kevin Quillen

      The “church”” will do anything to stay relevant. Power and position. Man made Christianity. I do not know of a “church” that Jesus would set foot in today. We are the “CHURCH”. If we would just forget all about going to church and BE the Church, Christ would be well represented..

      • Autrey Windle

        Although, I have found a little church of no denomination but heavy on the word of God and fabulous music. It’s too far to go often, but I have a new friend or two and attend when I can. Mostly I live among the heathens and they never insult my God to my face or walk away when they see me coming so maybe God has me here for a reason.

    • A Cater

      I would have to agree with you that the modern”church” (so-called) is in an Apostate state. Rev.3 declares that Christ will “spue thee out of my mouth”. The Laodicean church age is the 7th and final gentile church age.

    • eddiestardust

      The Holy Spirit is always at work 24/7/365 . We can’t always see his work but sometimes we do notice the outcome of tiny pieces of his work. Every smile, every good act is a part of his work. Is is not true that it is darkest just before dawn or that the coldest part of the night is just before dawn? HRC lost…perhaps there was a reason?

      • Mark T

        Believe what God puts in your heart about the future. In my heart it is too late for America. God had Josiah be king and he really did a great job of cleaning things up. The problem was Israel’s heart was so black with idolatry that God had to do a cleansing. I believe we are at this point in America, Canada, and Europe. That does not mean that God cannot bring revival elsewhere in the world, but I just think time is up for this planet and the tribulation cleansing will have to take place and that will bring the greatest revival ever. Jesus will be king and all that love him will live.

  • Edward Koestner

    As a Catholic, Dreher’s ecumencial approach is confusing. From a Catholic perspective, there’s the coming triumph of the Virgin Mary, that was promised at Fatima, Portugal. The Blessed Mother told this to the 3 shepherd children: “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph.” In the context, the word triumph is important. It’s not just a victory. It’s more than that. It’s a great victory; a triumph. John Horvat II’s book Return to Order is more along the line of preparing for this triumph, then retreating to fight another day. I would say that Return to Order represents the Crusading Option.

    • Kevin Quillen

      if you seriously believe that Mary spoke to children at Fatima, then you believe that the Bible is not the ONLY source of God’s word to us. Also, you are saying that revelation may not be yet complete. You live on very shaky ground. Will your belief be shaken some day by “new” revelation? Probably, the leaders of the “church” will change the “truth” as necessary to keep control.

      • Richard Malcolm

        Catholics believe as a matter of dogma that revelation is transmitted both through Scripture and sacred tradition (Dei Verbum 8-10). We are not, obviously, sola scriptura.

        But as for private revelations like that at Fatima: The Church’s position is that followers are not obliged to accept their content as part of the deposit of the faith; it investigates them and makes a determination of whether such an appearance is worthy of belief (constat de supernaturalitate) by Catholics. Fatima was determined to be such an appearance. But a Catholic is not obliged to have a devotion to it, and the Church does not employ to to help determine doctrine.

      • eddiestardust

        Kevin, you are NOT Catholic so why don’t you quit talking about Catholic teaching?

    • Richard Malcolm

      Note: Dreher converted from Catholicism to Eastern Orthodoxy a little over a decade ago.

  • I’ve heard several interviews of Dreher, and his dogmatic pessimism is annoying. Many Christians are given to this kind of America is going to hell in a handbasket inevitability. Especially our premillennial dispensational friends. A fascinating read is George Marsden’s “Fundamentalism and American Culture,” which shows how 19th century conservative Christians in a very short period of time went from post-mill (positive) to pre-mill (negative) in the early 20th century. Things, they think, are always going to get worse and worse until Jesus comes to rescue us. We live in a fallen world, and things will always get worse and better, and better and worse, and so on and on, until Jesus comes back. I was just reading Jeremiah 29 this morning, and I think God’s commands to his people exiled in Babylon are apropos for we in the 21st century who are spiritual exiles in a fallen land:

    4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

    We must out breed our spiritual enemies, and immerse our children in the explanatory power of a Christian worldview. The explosion of Christian classical education (including homeschooling), and classical charter schools give me much hope for the future of our country. All secularist-liberalism can do is build “men without chests,” and in due course the hollow nature of that worldview will be plain for all to see. Most of us who are old enough thought the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall would be eternal. It wasn’t, and neither is secularist-liberalism.

  • Wherever I’ve seen the Benedict Option come up on the internet, I’ve offered a different approach. Dreher is on to something by looking at the religious orders but I think he picked the wrong one. The Benedictines are too isolated. I believe the most appropriate religious order to model our counter to the modern waste land is the Dominican Order. Some background since many here are not Catholic. There have been many Catholic revivals over the centuries. The most famous may have been at the turn of the turn of the 13th century with the formation of the Franciscans and Dominican friars. Both St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic de Guzman – just about simultaneously, by the way – re-evangelized Europe. The Dominicans in particular were formed to counter the Albigensian heresy. And they were successful. Dominicans are just as contemplative and learned as the Benedictines, but they, like the Franciscans, have the call to engage the culture and evangelize. They are the scholars of the religious orders. St. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican. We need to re-teach western culture its religious and moral roots. So I call for the Dominican Option; learn and teach, pray and preach, live appropriately and reach out.

  • Sharon Spicka

    I totally agree, Dr. Brown. Our faith demands faith.

  • Nelson Banuchi

    I have a concern that in seeking to counter the cultural left, conservative Christians may inadvertently, if blindly, go too far to the right as seems possible by the election of a somewhat delusional person of dubious moral character and genuine Christian conviction as POTUS.

  • Nelson Banuchi

    I have a concern that in seeking to counter the cultural left, conservative Christians may inadvertently, if blindly, go too far to the right as seems possible by the election of a somewhat delusional person of dubious moral character and Christian conviction as POTUS.

    • Gary

      Trump is not very conservative, from my perspective. He is immoral and not a Christian, imo. But I voted for him in hopes that he would be better than the alternative. And I think so far, he is.

      • Nelson Banuchi

        “Trump is not very conservative…He is immoral and not a Christian…But I voted for him in hopes that he would be better than the alternative.”

        And that’s where the problems began. People seem to have possibly gone against their conscience – perhaps thinking tolerate the bad now in order to obtain the good (something God would not do) – and voted their “hope and see’s”. That hope could very well be short-lived…

        • Autrey Windle

          How long-lived is your ‘hope’ and where do you get your ‘hope’ from? God has used less Godly men than Our President to govern His children. And very successfully if you want to read about it…

          • Nelson Banuchi

            That less godly men have been used by God is not doubted (e.g. Lonnie Frisbee), however, (a) it should make us ashamed before the throne that we can do no better, and (b) that is no reason for us not to point expose hypocrisy and sin.

            (Perhaps that’s our problem, we are neither personally ashamed and afraid to point out the sin in ourselves and others).

          • Autrey Windle

            I hardly think Lonnie Frisbee is mentioned anywhere in the word of God. I am so happy to hear that you didn’t want any of the candidates offered to win the Presidency, but barring the second coming happening last November you surely must agree that someone had to assume the office…or were you expecting a shadow government coup by Obama to continue to rule as the King? It makes me a little ashamed that so many Americans act like they are ashamed to be here and I do wish those people would all just move to another country and leave their loathed citizenship behind. You still didn’t say where you would or do find your hope that you seem to be saying is so much longer lived than my hope.

        • Gary

          Well, either Trump or Hellary was going to be President. I preferred Trump. And I still do.

          • Nelson Banuchi

            I preferred neither…and still do.

            It is a sad commentary on the morality and and reasoning of the American people when what perhaps were the obviously worst candidates for such a high office on the only choices we have.

          • anne55

            I am still sad Bernie was not an option.

          • Nelson Banuchi

            I’m happy Bernie’s ​not POTUS!

      • anne55

        He certainly doesn’t live Christian values. But, to think he is ‘better than’ the alternative, I don’t agree.

    • Autrey Windle

      I get your concern, but who would you have voted to counter the left? I hope you might stop and consider what you said without offering your counter-option. You also may be giving more info than you think when you say ‘conservative Christians’. I am a Christian. I live by the same book of instruction as every other Christian. God doesn’t belong to conservatives or liberals. God is God and woe be to those who know who He is and deny His authority. I hope , my friend, that we all make the obvious right choice when asked that question.

      • Nelson Banuchi

        There was no viable conservative candidate for whom to vote. That said, I placed a vote for someone not on the ballot. I don’t quite get what your aiming at with the rest of your comments, so I’ll just pass it off. My apologies.

  • Charles Burge

    I think it’s easy to forget that there’s a much bigger world beyond America’s shores. We are not the only place where there are Christians! God promised that there will always be a remnant. He didn’t say anything about it being located in the United States. Even now, Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds in China. Yes, they currently live under tyranny, but who is to say that will always be so? It’s also growing in Brazil, and remains strong in South Korea. And by 2050, Africa is projected to contain a quarter of the world’s Christians.

    Americans have plenty of reason to be concerned, and I also believe things will continue to get worse for us here in the USA. But to say that this signals the death knell for Christianity as a whole, I think, shows a lack of faith and lack of vision.

    • Autrey Windle

      He didn’t say it wouldn’t be America, either…

  • Richard Malcolm

    …we continue to see pro-life gains to this day, with the possibility of the reversal of Roe v. Wade on the horizon.

    Even if Donald Trump is able to replace a liberal justice, Michael Brown is a heck of a lot more optimistic about the prospects of overturning Roe than I am.

    But then I think he’s more optimistic than I am across the board. every single battle of the Culture War has been a sound and thorough defeat for traditional morality. Even with the most robust pro-life movement in the world, a steady trickle of state laws, and ever more robust Marches For Life every year, the United States has one of the most liberal abortion regimes on the planet. Contraception? We’ve gone from strict proscription to forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for it within five decades. Some may be breathing a sigh of relief over the election, but at best, we’ve been given a temporary reprieve. If there’s a Great Awakening in the offing, there’s no sign of it – and we have to be prepared for the possibility that one will not come in out lifetimes.

    As a Christian, I must have hope. But that is not the same thing as optimism.

    • Autrey Windle

      As a Christian you must have hope. I like that. I would love it if, as a Christian, you might say you Get to have hope. Optimism is only a hope skip and a jump, or one good leap of leapfrog if you will, from apathy which is the one guarantee that we lose the war against our values and God’s best and truest desire for His children. My life story gives me every worldly right and likelihood of giving up on mankind and God, but I CHOOSE to do neither. Every man has that option and, if you will again, every man has the responsibility, especially as Christians, not to give in or give up no matter the odds against us; because we know God’s protections and promises. Be encouraged , Dear brother! I have it on very high authority that it ain’t over til the fat Cantor sings…

    • Gary

      Employers should stop offering health insurance to employees. No health insurance, no contraceptives paid for. The only thing the government could do then is require businesses to provide health insurance. I doubt Trump would do that, but he might. And some states might.

      Legal abortion is an idea that the establishment likes. The Supreme Court will only give it back to the states if there are enough non-establishment judges on the court to do it, and that would take some doing, and some time.

      In my state of NC, we don’t protect homosexuals of any variety from discrimination. I view that as a VERY positive development. There are actually 28 states that have no state-wide law prohibiting discrimination against queers, though some cities in some of those states do. But in NC, the state even prevents cities from doing it. I hope Trump won’t go along with any federal attempt to protect sodomites, more than he already has. We’ll see.

      • eddiestardust

        You must be a very rich person to say this or you are nuts or a troll:(

  • Jim

    When Paul was converted, the situation was worse than it is now. Paganism was the official religion of the empire. Immorality was the norm. Christianity was but a small group of Jews in a backwater of the Roman Empire. Everyone persecuted the new Christians. Yet within a couple of hunded years, the official religion of the Empire was Christianity, the emperor was at least nominally Christian and Christians were free to worship in the open and the church was growing by leaps and bounds.
    The situation is not hopeless as long as the church is willing to hang on, pray and be light and salt. The problem is that too many churches are churches in name only. They have no power, no Spirit and are generally social clubs unwilling to actually challenge anything and more interested in social events and fellowship than reaching the lost.

  • dave jones

    I agree with Dreher’s idea that we will have to start focusing on building communities, institutions and market economies because of the hostility toward biblical faith in Christ, both in Europe, The US and in the West in general. The Middle East and Eastern Churches already have a history of faithful endurance in persecution, we will have to look to them for help as well. Which is a complete reversal and a humbling in the West because we’ve seen ourselves and have been a leader of worldwide evangelism and support to the nations for many generations. I also believe the reason this move to prepare for persecution isn’t already happening full scale is as he puts it, the “willfully blind” still don’t see it coming. I’m not against the idea of the fall and rise of America but sincere faith requires a moral response. Dr. Brown isn’t wrong if we respond in the right way.

  • Mike Reeves

    As one who lives over the pond in England I start by stepping back from the America perspective and attempting to take in the position globally. I see both the gentile church and the restored house of Israel facing violent persecution before the Messiah’s return – but that is surely no reason to disengage – rather it encourages us to engage – but since our physical well-being will be on the line, it will be a time when we will have to be totally dependent on God to be hearing, where, how, with whom or what, to engage. I’m not sure that it will be a time for continuing with the way we have engaged so far. The day of the overtly Christian ministry may soon be over – but that doesn’t mean that God’s counter-cultural warriors will be gagged – instead we will need new strategies, new ways, guided by our battle commander on who we will have to totally and radically depend. I suspect that the prayers “let your kingdom come” and “come quickly Lord Yeshua” will be more than ever at the centre of our hearts. Bring it on Lord!! What am I saying??

  • To answer your question, yes, I believe you are wrong.

    You go about it too narrowly, as if the main issue here is America and whether or not she rises or falls. That is not the issue here. I love America and have spent a decade enjoying her goodness. I even married an American. However, although America has been a beacon of Christianity in the past, she is also the world’s absolute champion in exporting sin and sin’s culture to the world. When Mongolian Yak herders sit in their freezing tent in the middle of the tundra and spend their hard earned money on gasoline for a generator so that they can watch BayWatch on their tiny TV, you know something is wrong.

    I read R.R. Reno’s book “The ruins of the Church” a while back and he draws similar conclusions. The west is becoming post-Christianity fast and few people know how to navigate these waters. Northern Europe (my area of the world where I serve as a UMC elder) is perhaps the most advanced/decayed post-Christian part of the world and few have a clue how to reverse the trend (Hillsong and a few others seem to be doing something right, but it is very small scale).

    The Church has spent so much capital and resources and time fighting a battle she couldn’t win (and perhaps shouldn’t have fought in the first place). Maybe this is the time when we re-group and find our bearings again. For starters, we could work on finding that holy love that Christ gives that automatically makes the world sit up and take notice…instead of yelling at the world to take notice. Just a thought…

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