The capacity for a new political leader to usher in a national revival has been a subject of debate across generations. With a culture saturated with relativism, the slippery slope of spiritual and moral collapse is a ship long since sailed. Turning Ship America back to her Captain will be no easier than turning the Titanic away from the iceberg. And we know how that turned out.
But we know God can bring revival. The question is how. Can political change bring moral and spiritual change? Can the new Donald Trump be the old Artaxerxes, a man of little faith, used by God to do big things?
Let’s consider the experiment of 1916 – an election of 100 years ago. The contestants were Woodrow Wilson and Charles Evans Hughes. America’s moral decline and propensity for public drunkenness were at stake. A vote for Wilson was a vote for everything pure. And the “pure” vote won.
President Wilson signed into law prohibition, bringing an end, once and for all, to the social enemy of the day. The movement had been led by rural Protestants and social Progressives. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union and Anti-Saloon League celebrated with raised Bibles in their hands. The 18th Amendment was the nail that sealed the coffin – alcohol in America was dead.
Except it wasn’t. Political strategies, though well-intended, did not bring national revival 100 years ago. Do they ever?
Billy Graham says no. During a 1952 taping of Hour of Decision, Graham said, “I’m absolutely convinced that no matter who’s elected, America is not going to be saved unless we have a moral and spiritual revival. No nation has ever improved morally without revival.”
Can revival come to America? Absolutely. But it won’t happen because Donald Trump is President; it will happen because Jesus Christ is King. If revival sweeps our land, it will not begin in the White House, but in God’s House – and only if we as believers get really desperate.
Sadly, we aren’t there yet.