Millions in America and around the world are fixated on the 2020 presidential election. The stakes are high and every news cycle feels like a fresh gut punch.
“What kind of America do we want?” In just a few weeks, we’ll know voters’ answer to that question. But one thing is certain: The younger generation is arriving at a very different answer. For evangelicals like me, this is a cause for alarm.
Polls show that a permanent anti-religious, socialist majority through the vehicle of the Democratic Party is emerging in the United States, a majority that will be dominant by 2024, and locked in place by 2030.
My fellow evangelicals are so focused on winning this election, they don’t realize that the data shows we’ve already lost all elections after this one.
The mindset of the right has been to gear up and engage only during political cycles. The left engages 24/7, 365 days a year. If politics is downstream from culture, all we have to do is look upstream to realize that the left has seized nearly every center of cultural influence, from social media, entertainment, schools, news media, universities, and now even large corporations.
Young, church-going Christians aren’t fighting this leftward current. They’re swimming with it.
Comprehensive studies of evangelical youth reveal 69% who attend church do not believe in absolute truth, and agree that if your beliefs offend someone, your beliefs are wrong. Young Christians are also five times as likely as their older peers to embrace Marxist ideas.
In the 2020 campaign cycle, conservatives are spending almost $5 billion in reaching the 5% of the electorate thought to be undecided. That’s about 7.5 million voters. The math works out to a little under $600 a vote. Keep that in your back pocket for a moment, and then consider this.
When you add up every single college, non-profit, and campus group that is specifically preparing young adults to apply a biblical worldview to society, their combined annual budgets are less than what conservatives are spending every 12 hours on election-related advertising.
Spending $100 to fix a problem that could have been prevented for $1 is crazy. But that is essentially what conservatives are doing by lurching from election to election and ignoring cultural trends the rest of the time.
We need to think long term. This means investing in training young adults in a biblical worldview.
Pollster George Barna found that young Christians with a biblical worldview were supportive of capitalism (83%), conservative social policies (91%), opposed to abortion (89%) and supported the view that government for be small and limited in scope (83%).
Focused biblical worldview training has been shown to be incredibly effective. One study examined a long-standing two-week program featuring lectures and dialogue with top conservative and Christian thought leaders. Results showed that 4 out of 5 of those who attended stayed true to a biblical worldview for decades afterward.
The cost of biblical worldview training is small. For every dollar spent on persuading one undecided voter in 2020 it is possible to equip one young adult who will use a biblical worldview to make good lifelong decisions, including decisions about voting.
With this data it’s hard to fathom why we don’t see a bigger push in evangelical circles for biblical worldview training. One of the biggest excuses I hear is that those raised in the church will automatically end up being pro-life, pro-family, pro-liberty voters. This is not true. Only 19% of church-going, born-again Christians have a biblical worldview.
So if we are truly serious about ensuring that the next generation of Christians support the principles of freedom that our country was built on, then we must take decisive action, especially in this unprecedented time.
Thankfully, some Christians are waking up to the need. Biblical worldview curricula are popular in the homeschool community, which is growing rapidly in the wake of COVID-19. Resources such as the widely popular Tuttle Twins book series teach America’s foundational principles to young kids. Biblical worldview organizations have pivoted to on-line training and are reaching many times more people than before.
But all of this will make a difference only if churches get serious about biblical worldview.
Pastors need to feel supported in addressing cultural issues from a biblical worldview. More than two-thirds of spiritually active churchgoers say they want their pastors to do this. 90% of pastors say they believe the Bible speaks to today’s issues, but only 10% ever bring it up. They need our encouragement and support.
We have the ultimate answer for our culture’s hurts and failures. The tools and training are available to reach millions. Let us not miss this God-given opportunity to, as King Solomon said, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”.
• Jeff Myers is author of 14 books on faith and culture and is president of Summit Ministries.