America’s Tomorrow (series)

PHOTO: Creative Commons

1. Introduction

By Jim DeCamp, September 6, 2019

This is the first post in a nine-part series on our nation’s future. If it seems uncharacteristically straightforward, the days are evil and time may be short.


I grew up in South Korea of missionary parents. Born in Seoul, I lived in that beautiful land, off and on, through high school. My father was himself born in Korea, imprisoned by the Japanese in 1941, and later served as an Army chaplain in WWII. He passed on love of freedom, and inspired me to defend it.

The cause of liberty has occupied much of my life. I served nine years as an Infantry officer, then 22 years as an Army chaplain, with overseas assignments in Germany, Korea, and the desert. Since retiring from the Army and from the pastoral ministry in 2011, my oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic” has grown from a professional to a personal credo.

With all of our sins (which we will get to), Constitutional self-governance has made America the most prosperous and free nation in history. America is where liberty lives.


My first allegiance is to the One Who made me, redeemed me, and called me His own possession. I owe everything past, present and future to Jesus, Who gave His life for my sin, conquered the grave, and is coming again.

By His Word and Spirit, my heavenly Father gives understanding and power to walk in His way. It’s a daily journey and, as this series will point out, fraught with challenges. For example, try loving others in the human family unconditionally, sacrificially, and see how you fare. I’ll be the first to admit that I need help! And outside of my family, the first people I am to love are fellow believers….

Jesus said that many would reject His way, and few would follow Him. There is purpose in standing for what is true, and enormous hope in the knowledge that the Creator of the Universe has everything under control. Each detail will, one day, bring greater glory to God, and in this I find great peace.


The integration of faith and citizenship––offering allegiance to God, then to one’s country––is a calling some Evangelicals appear to have lost in the last 25 years. The resulting void in the public square is being filled by very different voices.

Our Judeo-Christian foundation has sustained this country through peace and war, depression and prosperity, evil and repentance, and thus far through revival and rebellion. The legacy we leave to our descendants occupies more and more of my thinking. God, may it not be one of silence.


In September and October of 2016, I posted a nine-part series highlighting the public policy differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The present nine-part series will be more cultural, spiritual, and relational in nature––though political applications may be found.

2. America’s Tomorrow: God Owns the Future

By Jim DeCamp, September 9, 2019

Momentary trials, eternal glory.

I write this post “…not to scare but to prepare.”[1] For those of us who love the United States of America, this post may be sobering. But first:


This post will touch on “the end times.” It is not intended to be a discussion of prophecy, but rather my rationale for what I share in this series. Friends, PLEASE do not approach this series as a forum on prophetic interpretation. Such a discussion could be fruitful, but that is not our purpose here. Other earnest believers differ, and I don’t presume to have it all worked out. What I share is what God has given me a little to understand.


We can all be certain that God has a plan and it will unfold according to His sovereign will. Though it pleased God that we should have partial understanding, the Creator of heaven and earth, of space and time, has no such limitation. God owns the roadmap and the timeline; indeed, the future belongs to Him alone. The One Who has “brought us out of darkness into His marvelous light”––and Who holds our destiny––has a plan. 


I broach this subject of the end times because of today’s geopolitical landscape, and because I must reckon with what I find in God’s Word.

The Second Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., and Jews were dispersed (known as the Diaspora). The trickle of God’s people returning to their homeland became a flood following the unspeakable attempts to destroy them all in the 1930s and 1940s. The Jewish State was reborn in 1948––a milestone in Biblical fulfillment––and was admitted as a member of the United Nations in 1949.

 (See this explanation of U.N. Resolution 181 in 1947, Israel’s Declaration of Independence in 1948, and other such declarations by nations in the modern world: .)

God has prospered this land and nation. Desert––parched for nearly two millennia––is now lush with produce. Israel enjoys a strong economy with some of the largest known reserves of natural gas in the world. A leader in high-tech research, communications, and medical advances, Israel is also forging a new relationship with her Arab neighbors. Israel is an increasingly attractive trading partner, and life within her borders is safe.


The prophet Ezekiel saw a day when the nations would rise up against Israel. Many today see an alliance forming between Russia, Iran, and Turkey (Ezekiel chapters 38-39). According to Ezekiel, Israel will be unable to defend herself against such a massive force. Apparently, no one comes to her aid, because Israel will be delivered only by the intervention of Almighty God. “…Then they will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 38:23b––ESV)


Where is America in all of this? Most students of Bible prophesy do not see American as figuring in end-time events. But we are talking about Israel’s strongest ally with the most powerful military the world has ever seen! The most prosperous country in history! Mighty nations have fallen before; in fact, history shows they have all met demise.

If these scholars are correct in their understanding, I can only say that this country––this land that I love––has been openly inviting God’s judgment. God has shown His patience with tribes and nations before (over hundreds of years, in some cases), but God will have the last word.


Friends, America has the freedom to thumb her nose at God and is taking full advantage of it. I will discuss these offenses primarily in post #7. For now, the solution lies not in politics, but in the God of the Bible. This is no time to “play the fool,” as a teacher of mine used to say. God in His mercy has given us time to repent, to get right with Him, to come to Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:2: “…the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”


There will be a final line, but you can know God today. God, in His patience and kindness, is forgiving and will receive anyone who comes in repentance. Whatever the future of our country, you will stand before God one day.

“Return to me, and I will return to you,” God said to His people through the prophet Zechariah (2:2). “Come to Me,” Jesus said (Matthew 11:28). Repent and come to Jesus…while there is time. There is no sin He will not forgive if you come to Him in true repentance. Walking in His way brings freedom, joy, and trials…and it ends in eternal glory.

[1] Dr. Ed Hindson of Liberty University, quoted by Behold Israel founder, Amir Tsarfati, in his book The Last Hour

3. America’s Tomorrow: Persuasion in the Din of Strife

By Jim DeCamp, September 14, 2019

PHOTO: “Head to Head” by Don Sutherland, Creative Commons

Ground rules for the taking.

When we see cultural decay everywhere, it’s time to take inventory of our own life. Talk is cheap; our rhetoric must be bathed in integrity so that it can be truthful, wise, and effective.

Whether it is cultural needs or Constitutional principles that are on your heart, this post is for you. This post is about listening well, speaking/writing wisely, taking a close look at ourselves, and surrendering to God.

Timidity or boldness?

“Wow. I’ll never do that again!” said someone who ventured into a volatile subject and received a tongue-lashing for his trouble. Thin skin, of course, can lead people to flee controversy, but there are also other motivators.

We all have a history.

  • Bad memories of past conversations.
  • An aversion to conflict under any circumstance.
  • Unwillingness to engage in hard subjects unless one is assured of prevailing.
  • Fear that one’s core beliefs could be challenged.

Strong stimuli.

In a trash-talk world featuring passion-over-substance arguments, who knows what to expect? But some folks persist in entering public forums. Some motivations for doing so:

  • There are those who feed on controversy; it’s all they know.
  • Others are motivated by raw anger, fueled by past injustice or deception.
  • Many are driven by a political solution for a world losing its center of gravity.  
  • Here’s another approach, old as the hills and scarce as hens’ teeth: LOVE. (May my high school English teacher forgive the mixing of metaphors.)

We will circle back to LOVE as the most enduring, effective force in most communication.

With the Master at the helm.

So…are you one to avoid disagreement at almost all cost, or do you enter the fray for a reason? People of all persuasions are welcome here, though it is Christians––whom Jesus variously described as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”––to whom I am writing.

Our mission is to glorify God and serve as His hands and feet in this sinking world. His words daily ring out: “Repent and follow me.” “You will be my witnesses.” “I will be with you.”

Power, obedience, protection.

It is not our responsibility to change people; we have no power to do so. What we have been given is the Gospel. And we have heard God’s command to go out into all the world, empowered by His Word and Spirit. The authority to make this happen––and, indeed, all of the results––owe to His gracious work, alone.

So why not end this discussion right here? Because God has something to say about His calling and equipping, and the obedience by which we venture into the world. The admonition to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” presumes we will be in close proximity to danger.  

First preparing the soil in our own hearts.

Christ charged His followers to take His Gospel of repentance and redemption into all the world. We know this message to bring freedom of mind and heart, a new affection, and the promise of heaven.

Yet this message is also the leading edge of a clash between two worlds that have been at war since Adam’s sin plunged all creation into open rebellion against its Maker.

When Jesus declared, “You will be my witnesses,” He was assigning us quite possibly to a combat outpost (so to speak), where there is danger, trial, testing. Soldiers are trained to overcome fear and, with growing confidence in their commander, to obey orders. Christ’s followers are called to take inventory, and to lay aside all that hinders the mission.

Patience in sharing the Treasure.

Truth that winds its way to the core of one’s being may be perceived as a threat. Because of this, many people are more likely to change their mind in the context of a trusted relationship.

Group settings are good for imparting information (as in a classroom) or exhorting others (through a sermon). God can and does move people deeply through these means. Yet most of us may find ourselves in relationships through which God will be pleased to work. Be content to serve where God places you.

Conveying Truth deep within.

Especially when facing hostility, it’s easy to vent passion that will be taken as anger. An experienced believer once cautioned those preparing to testify before a committee, “You can give them a piece of your mind, and it might make you feel better, but know that you just lost any opportunity to influence that committee.”

Pray as you ponder how your listeners may be attracted––or threatened––by your message, and use the wisest words available to carry Truth deep within.

To appeal and not distract.

  • CLARITY…to avoid confusion.
  • CHARITY…to rise above stereotypes.
  • INTEGRITY…without which the message is compromised.
  • PRAYERFUL PREPARATION…employing weapons of the Spirit (love, joy, peace….).

The well that never runs dry.

At the deepest level, military people do what they do out of love––love for freedom, love for their country, love for their family, for their neighbor and their neighbor’s family. Conviction to defend liberty runs deep and is necessarily very strong. Yet this conviction is bathed in sacrificial love.

The battle many of us wage today is rhetorical in nature: we are contending for Truth in the marketplace of ideas. It is easier to blurt out our two cents’ worth and let the chips fall. The fact that we must give serious thought to our message––content and delivery––makes us more dependent on God (if we humble ourselves). And humility puts us in a position to be used by God, Whose mercy never fails.

See Galatians 5:22-23 and Ephesians 6:10-20.

Let’s not kid ourselves, friends: only the overcoming Spirit of God can penetrate our own hearts; and only God’s Spirit will draw the heart of the one who is far from Him.

God’s ways are above our ways. The Bible is brimming with paradoxes of the faith: life in death, strength in weakness, joy in sorrow, victory in defeat.  

By the power and love of God we are made ready for His service. Pray for those who lie about you, and who persecute you. Pray that God will lift them to newness of life, that they may know the Creator of the universe, Jesus Christ.

And––you know what?––if they join the ranks of the redeemed, they will have the same peace and purpose in Christ that we have found. Then, instead of contending against them, we will with joy stand with them in the cause of righteousness.

4. America’s Tomorrow: The Nation Where God Placed Us

By Jim DeCamp, September 19, 2019

PHOTO: Addressing the (Indiana) Hamilton County Commissioners on a free-speech issue, Feb. 12, 2018.

What difference should a country in which we live make in our political involvement?

A modern paradox.

Curious to me is the lackadaisical approach to personal liberty by those in this country who should know better. But it’s also inspiring––those surviving under tyrants who manage to maintain their purpose, morale, and faith.

We in America have freedoms that the persecuted around the world can only dream of. Yet some, it appears, have persuaded themselves that freedom here is undeserved––even underrated.

It’s like two nations, two populations: the persecuted who long to breathe free, and the free who are preoccupied.

Possible explanations.

  • Some Americans may believe that what we have will always be here. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” when asked about threats.
  • Some feel a level of guilt that they should enjoy the fruit of liberty while those in some other countries are denied it.
  • Still others harbor such animosity toward this country that the sooner we taste the yoke of bondage, the better!

Foundational thoughts.

  • Our rights enshrined in the Constitution are worth studying, savoring, and defending.
  • We in America inherited inalienable rights from our Creator––rights that we should freely and faithfully exercise. 
  • Preserving rights that were safeguarded for us is our responsibility to the next generation.

Faithfully using what God gives you.

Should it make a difference in our civic life that we live in a “free” land? (Many people do not enjoy this blessing.)

For example, untold thousands of North Koreans exist in extra-judicial facilities––concentration camps––erected for political and religious prisoners. In some cases, when an individual is condemned to such a camp, the sentence applies to his entire family; indeed, to all his descendants. Some prisoners were born in these camps; it’s all they have ever known. Torture, starvation, slave-labor––these are the stuff of life in North Korean concentration camps. (The victims may be excused for not taking their grievances to the guards!)

If we Americans remain silent about serious grievances in our country––such as suppressing religious freedom––what would be our justification? God has not placed us in North Korea nor Iran nor Venezuela; He has placed us in this United States of America, and our Constitution guarantees the right to redress grievances with the government. It’s easy to enjoy the fruit of liberty while maintaining an unwarranted silence. It’s also dangerous.

Stewardship and a Biblical example.

We will discuss this subject in more depth in post #8. Suffice it to say here that we are responsible to God to be good stewards of our blessings––not the least of which are our individual rights, beginning with the First Amendment.

We are to respect and obey those in authority over us, yet the Bible doesn’t end its teaching there. The political system within which God places us may or may not permit the voice of the people to be heard. The Apostle Paul took full advantage of his standing under Roman law––even exercising his right to travel to Rome and plead his case before Caesar! (“I appeal to Caesar.” Acts 25:11b––ESV).

Should we do less?

5. America’s Tomorrow: Beyond the Ballot

By Jim DeCamp, September 27, 2019

PHOTO: Creative Commons

Does it matter for whom I vote? I want to make the case that it does matter––urgently so.  

This post will discuss three elements of a voter’s decision: party platforms, public policy, and integrity; then add a note of hope.

What to make of them?

“There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between a Democrat and a Republican in this state!” said a friend after we moved to Indiana in 2011. My reply contrasted the respective party platforms, which was not a difficult task. The ensuing years have revealed a slippery, shadowy process, at times. So what to think?

I, for one, think that the platform of a political party is extremely important because a platform gives an indication of a party’s fidelity to the Constitution. It also 1) declares public policy priorities, 2) lays out a vision for the future, and 3) assists voters in making an informed decision.

The nuances in platform language notwithstanding, platforms remain a significant expression of a party’s beliefs and commitments. They also are a standard by which members of that party can be measured, and differences between parties recognized.

What an election is all about.

I’m interested in what politicians say, yet what I care about is how they actually vote. And, in the case of incumbents, I want to know if they are faithful to what they promised the voters.

My friends should know that I want to uphold high moral standards, and hope to see them modeled in others. Upright personal conduct and decency in one’s language––these I want to see, as well. HOWEVER, I cast my political vote based upon public policy commitments made by a candidate…and, in the case of an incumbent, promises that have been kept.

Most often employed when a candidate or party cannot win on policy.

  • Ad hominem attacks. These are assaults on one’s person and are devoid of substantive arguments. They fuel the politics of personal destruction. Example: “She is a despicable person and is not fit to hold elected office.”
  • Ad populum arguments.  These are intended to incite an emotional response instead of foster rational thinking. They are attempts to persuade people that something is true “because many people already believe it.” Example: “Everyone knows that this world will end in 11 years unless we take action now!” See the resource at this link for many examples of ad populum––fantastic predictions that have been proven wrong.…/18-spectacularly-wrong-apocalyptic-pr…/

Wise voters will recognize these distractions for what they are, and will engage in thoughtful conversations over the very best public policy.  

…upon which a platform should rest, and by which policy should be implemented.

“Honesty is the best policy,” Cervantes wrote in Don Quixote. It also tests the soul as few other virtues do. Party platforms are instructive, and public policy is the end result. Yet if a party lacks honesty/integrity in the passage or implementation of its platform, one may wonder how long that party will thrive.

I’m going to leave it there.

Why it matters.

Never has a president faced such relentless and fallacious media assault, withstood an historic coup d’état (which continues), contended with establishment opposition in both parties, confronted a subversive Deep State…AND AT THE SAME TIME fulfilled so many campaign promises as has Donald Trump.

2020 matters.

The lowest unemployment rate in history, including women, African Americans, Hispanics and Asians. A booming economy. Unprecedented support from minorities. A military being rebuilt. Supreme Court justices who revere the Constitution. Lower taxes. Fewer regulations. Early release from long prison sentences for those who qualify. Diplomatic breakthroughs with North Korea that no one––in 70 years––had attempted. New respect around the world. Passionate regard for babies who are being taken out of this world––1.3 million per year in our country, alone. New respect for rights enshrined in the Constitution. Optimism inspired by promises kept.

2020 matters.

These are among the public policy successes inspired by President Trump’s determined leadership. These are why his polls numbers continue to hold strong. These are why ordinary Americans attend Trump rallies by the tens of thousands––many obliged to watch on a large screen outside the venue.

2020 matters.

The alternative.

The opposition party is determined to continue the flood of people whose first official act in this country is to break the law. Defiance of the law by so-called sanctuary cities is undermining the rule of law. Illegal immigration is drawing human traffickers and terrorists, drug dealers, gang members, and violent criminals. More government power and overreach, resulting in less freedom and prosperity for the people––these are the results of the Democrat party’s agenda. Utter disregard for the Constitution. Anti-religious fervor, continued decline of family and cultural, the taking of preborn babies’ lives––now even after birth!, violence in the streets while first responders are attacked––these are among the threats this party’s policies pose to our nation.


My greatest hope.

Our nation faces calamity, though we have begun a political comeback. Indications are that the people want another four years of Trump at the helm. I’m committed to doing all I can toward that end…and looking forward to it!

Yet my greatest hope is not in politics nor continued prosperity nor military might. My greatest––and only real––hope is in the God Who endowed us with inalienable rights; Who created, preserved, and blessed us; Who will forgive if we repent, and once again bestow His mercy. We will survive not on our terms, but on God’s.

“Return to me and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty.

6. America’s Tomorrow: Relating to Believers Who Disagree

By Jim DeCamp, October 3, 2019

Instruments in God’s hand.  

BLUF (Bottom Line up Front): Discussions of political differences between Christians should:
> Be bathed in the love of Christ for one another, and
> Be held with an acknowledgement of God’s sovereign plan for history. 


Consider these four passages (English Standard Version):

Lead with listening:

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19


Respect those in authority / Be at peace:

“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13


Love other believers:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35


Show regard for others:

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

To glorify God in our lives.

Consider these three passages:

Grow in the Lord:

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17-8


Serve one another:

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11


Our longing:

 “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14

A blend of emotions.

I had looked forward to writing this post more than any other, yet in truth it has been the heaviest to bear. Looked forward to because the Good News is the answer to our nation’s ills; heaviest to bear because we at times dilute the Gospel and distract from the Hope of the World.

The first five posts addressed our nation and world. The next three will be more introspective: (6) relating to other believers, (7) what we think of this country, and (8) how each of us will stand in the future.

I want to “practice what I preach” here, to live out what I write about.

Everyone craves it.

Remember when reality TV was all the rage? “Who’s going to get voted off the island this week?” Adventure with uncertainty riveted viewers.

I wanted to say to these fans: “If you’re looking for a challenge find something important, pour your life into it, and you will have more adventure than you imagined possible.” That’s easier said than done because we are talking about life––a come-as-you-are party––baggage and all.

This is no less true for followers of Christ for we are all sinners, though I would add:

> We have a demanding mission: “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8), and

> We have been given God’s Word and Spirit––all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). God calls us to go to any lengths necessary to follow Him.

The most important lesson on conflict I’ve learned.

How many times I couldn’t begin to say, but very often I have asked, “Lord, whatever made him say that, would You please remove it and replace it with something good from You?” I have found that when praying for someone in this way, I begin to love that person. Now, that’s not my spirit at work!

To pray for someone who has wronged you, for a political opponent, for someone at church––this is the call of the disciple. It is obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Spirit.


…to accomplish His perfect will.

> God exploited a tyrant (Pharaoh) to drive His people out of Egypt (Exodus 6:1).

> God harnessed a pagan king (Nebuchadnezzar) to force His people into exile (2 Kings 25), and another pagan king (Cyrus) to return them to their land (2 Chronicles 36:22-23).

> God used the decree of Caesar Augustus to direct Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem where the Savior would be born, in fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy (5:2).

…to accomplish His perfect will.

> God’s power visited the boy, David, to fell a giant of a man (1 Samuel 17).

> God anointed the Apostle Paul to take the message of redemption in Christ to the gentiles. God said to Ananias, about Paul, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).

> God inspired the Apostle John to record events that would occur far into the future: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony” (Revelation 1:1-2).

Key to understanding many disagreements. 

More in the next post, but suffice it to say here that the Gospel should unite Christ’s followers, not divide them. However, in many churches people are divided by something that has been banished from church and long since buried, but which will not go away.

I refer to influences that affect believers and unbelievers, alike, every day and night. I have in mind pressures on the family budget, safety in the neighborhood, underperforming students who languish in impoverished schools and grow up in severely challenged families. My heart is heavy for conditions that demoralize whole neighborhoods through intergenerational dependency, and suck the hope out of image-bearers. (This is a very abbreviated list of woes.)

What I’m pointing to is not feelings (which may draw us together at an emotional level), nor Biblical beliefs (which can unite us at a foundational level). Rather, I speak of policies, public policies, that have consequences of the kind mentioned above.

So what to do if fellow believers support policies that perpetuate the status quo?

Trusting God for the hard task.

I’m not thinking, here, about persuading another believer to my position. Instead, my question is, “How ought we relate to fellow believers who disagree on these policy matters?”

If God intends to punish our nation for persistent defiance of Him (see post #2), and if we believe those who espouse these policies are therefore contributing to our demise, how do we bridge the divide with them?

Answer: the love of Christ. The power of the resurrected Lord is greater. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “When God calls a man, He bids him come and die.” It’s the willingness to lay it down for the sake of the Body of Christ. This, this is the pathway to peace among believers.

…to fulfill His sovereign plan (and this is the hard part for me).

If America is to be punished for her wickedness, God may use anyone––including the political convictions of some Christian leaders––to pave the wave for a tyrant’s rise to power.

At the personal level, there have been seasons in my life when God used the misconduct of others to redirect my steps. God is more than able to use anyone and any behavior to advance His perfect will.

…in God’s way.

God uses all kinds of people to shape events for His greater glory: sometimes for our good, sometimes resulting in our hardship, sometimes transforming hard times for our blessing and for His glory.

Joseph announced to his brothers who had sold him into slavery in Egypt, “…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good….” (Genesis 50:20a).

Ours is to surrender.

Pray for fellow Christians with whom you cannot agree politically. Converse and seek to persuade; do not lash out. If you must separate, do so peaceably. Who knows but God may be using them to unfold His plan.

Ours is to follow hard after the God of history, Whose ways are perfect, just and upright (Deuteronomy 32:40). May it please God to use each of us as an instrument to display His glory.

7. America’s Tomorrow: Loving or Loathing

By Jim DeCamp, October 11, 2019

PHOTO: Independence Day Parade, 1968, Wheaton, Illinois.

My answer to “It’s always been an evil country.”

Where learning starts.

Last month I had coffee with a friend whose beliefs are polar opposite from mine. (A good way to learn.) He pointed to a hot cultural subject and asked, “How would you respond to him in that situation?”

My reply: “It makes me want to have coffee with him.” I was suggesting that I must first listen to the individual before knowing how best to respond to his need.  

Similarly, a helpful response to the evil-country remark above will probably begin with a curiosity to know more.

That’s funny––I had the same question! (Turns out, more than meets the eye.)

For example, I’ve heard the words, “America’s always been an evil country,” from more than one person in more than one context. It’s too important a statement to ignore, yet it’s complex, and an effective reply needs to cover more than one base.

This post brings reflections from three distinct directions: theological, political, and revolutionary. What might there be in each of these arenas that could lead one to utter such a strong statement?

Theological. Political. Revolutionary.

>>>>>THEOLOGICAL REASONS for saying “America’s always been an evil country.”

“The human heart is evil,” based on the teaching of Scripture.

Leading up to Christ’s redeeming work, the Apostle Paul points to the utter sinfulness of each and every human heart: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23––ESV).

In this sense, every tribe and nation that has ever existed is evil; “all have sinned,” the Bible says. There has been hatred, violence, slavery, immorality, pride––every manner of evil––dating back to “The Garden.”

Theologically, I get that: “America has always been an evil country.” We acknowledge past sins, and for present sins we must repent and move forward as fellow Americans.

>>>>>POLITICAL MOTIVATIONS behind “America’s always been an evil country.”

“Any market-based, small-government system is evil,” from a socialist/progressive/government-centric perspective.

The progressive vision of a powerful central government that rules by dividing the population into groups, that limits free-market opportunity and curbs individual liberty––this vision spurns the notion of limited government and personal freedom.

“America’s always been an evil country” would be a natural response from this way of thinking.

>>>>>REVOLUTIONARY THOUGHTS feeding the words “America’s always been an evil country.”

(For purposes of this post, I make the assumption that those taking the political approach will not resort to violence, while revolutionaries will employ violence as an acceptable means to an end.)

“Only by forceful overthrow of government will our beliefs prevail!” says the revolutionary.

This is the one who is prepared to use arms, not to protect himself from a tyrannical government, but to destroy established authority. This is the one who is fueled not by a well-intentioned dream of equality and justice, but by wrath that lays waste to each obstacle. This is the one whose true intentions lie in the shadows till the proper time.

This is the person for whom “America’s always been an evil country” is a battle cry.

…recognize faults in this nation, yet offer sharply contrasting remedies. 



English poet, Philip James Bailey (1816-1902), wrote in “Festus”:

America! half brother of the world!
With something good and bad of every land.


Some parting reflections.

> What I think.

I love this country. I don’t love her sins, past and present, but I love everything that is good about her. She has the capacity to right wrongs. She is the land of liberty, opportunity, innovation, creativity, and prosperity. She has a generous heart toward the poor and disabled, and has spent much blood and treasure to safeguard liberty around the world. I am not a my-country-right-or-wrong person; I love America in spite of, not because of, her sins.

> What I know.

This country is in open defiance against the Creator, and has been inviting God’s judgment for some time. We have disregarded the created order by attempting to pervert marriage and gender. We shed the blood of the innocent, an act which some now celebrate. We suck the humanity out of whole communities of image bearers––especially in our cities––by shackling them to failing schools, undermining their family structure, and injecting dependency that denies them the fruit of their labor.

> What I implore.

Do not mistake God’s patience for His approval or indifference. Whatever your station in life, now is the time to repent. God will forgive when we come in repentance. In this world, the only safe place to be is within the will of God. As in Noah’s day, those on the outside will perish.

8. America’s Tomorrow: Making Ready for the Day

By Jim DeCamp, October 17, 2019

PHOTO: Paul Arps, 2014, Barbed Wire Fence at Auschwitz-Birkenau/Creative Commons.
PHOTO: Creative Commons

Beware the cunning appeal of persecution.
This post will consider challenges for believers in the not-too-distant future, God’s promised provision, and our eternal hope.

…of what matters.

August, as I begin writing this, boasts “the dog days of summer” when football players may lose 10 pounds quickly. It’s sweaty in the heat, and grass stains are a badge of honor. It is, in a word, grueling.

There’s something All-American about that: hard work, teamwork, sacrifice, reward for one’s labor. It’s about setting a goal, then pursuing it.

And at what price?

Whether one is hoping for a D-1 scholarship, running the race of a patriot, or seeking first the Kingdom of God; there are goals to strive for, virtues to cherish, and a finish line to cross.

There may also be a price to pay…under strange new rules. That’s what this post is about: persecution––which is almost a foreign language here in the States. I am thinking primarily about people of faith and about their readiness.

A gut check.

We Americans have a history of romanticizing war. Whether raw courage in the Revolution, bravery by both sides of the Civil War, or sacrifice in the World Wars of the last century, many are stirred by the selflessness of those who served. Yet there is often more than meets the eye.

In our day, as in years past, many return from war with chilling memories. Their readiness to serve remains; however, after their ordeal the fanciful portrayals of Hollywood seem almost sacrilegious.

I grew up listening to harrowing accounts from Fox’s Book of Martyrs–and of the faithful in our day––certain that I would be true to the end. It is sobering to think that, from my own experience in war, I won’t know how I will react until I’m actually in that situation. So how to make ready?

By my observation, today’s American church is dangerously unprepared for battle. We are confident we will stand, yet we are untested. And few are seeking training opportunities.

Take time to inventory.

Working assumptions can guide the study of a subject, yet unchallenged assumptions invite disaster. I do not write as a champion of persecution; these are lessons learned from my own life and the lives of others.


> Make the glory of God the main thing––the beginning and ending of your life’s calling.

> God is your strength to love your enemy, your power to endure trial, your inspiration to name the name of Jesus.

> Pray today for the hardest to love; they may be your persecutor tomorrow.

> Build courage for that day…by demonstrating it now. (If addressing a school board, city council, or state legislative committee is daunting, what better way to prepare to give a public witness one day?)

…a question, and a challenge.

> “Historically, the church has been more effective/had more power when undergoing persecution.”

There are many examples in church history––including the last century––to prove this statement true.

> We sing, “Like a bride waiting for her groom, we’ll be a Church ready for You.”

This is a positive goal to which to aspire.

Question: What is your confidence that the good statements above will describe you?

Challenge: Ask God right now to build faith, strength, and boldness in your life, in order to bring glory to God on that day.

Sufficient for the calling.

The Bible is replete with faith-builders, with God’s promises:

> “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).

> “I will be with you” (God to Joshua, Joshua 1:8)

> “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Jesus to His disciples, Matthew 28:28).

> “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Future glory.

> “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’” (Matthew 25:34).

> “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). 

> “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Focus on faithfulness.

Make ready for the future by embracing the witness God gives you today. No word, no task, is too small.

Trust God’s promises. It may be grueling, but the finish line grows larger. 

9. America’s Tomorrow: Concluding Thoughts

By Jim DeCamp, October 24, 2019

“Faithful to the end.”

Taking our bearings.

“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough,” said Albert Einstein.

Intellect may not point to the future, but perhaps wisdom should. For the future is the world into which our children and grandchildren will be born; the future is what we are building every day of our lives; and the future belongs to the God of time and space, holiness and justice, judgment and mercy, history and eternity.

Stir reflection, build resolve, humble hearts.

This series has been devoted to the future of America, the land I love. We have recognized Constitutional self-governance as the political legacy of our Founding Fathers, and the Judeo-Christian worldview as the foundation for a culture that has thrived. We have lamented America’s sins––past and present––and offered hope for spiritual redemption. Post #2, especially, sounded a warning of coming calamity if we do not humble ourselves before Almighty God.

The first five posts pertained to our nation and world. The next three were more introspective: (6) relating to other believers, (7) what we think of this country, and (8) how each of us will stand in the future.

This final post is incomplete, because there’s a lot of living yet to do…