I’ve not yet heard anyone call Bill Clinton the Antichrist, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Not since John Kennedy has a President caused such alarm in evangelical churches. (Remember the scary bestseller, If America Elects a Catholic President?)

Ironically, Bill Clinton is a lifelong Southern Baptist who can knowledgeably discuss the doctrines of original sin and justification by faith. He attends church, speaks warmly of his long friendship with Billy Graham, and points to the Graham crusade in Little Rock as a life-changing event for him as a teenager. Even so, evangelicals opposed his candidacy by a wide margin and have raised strident voices against his policies.

“I just have the feeling the country’s headed in the wrong direction,” said one friend of mine. Many share her uneasiness, for reasons that go far beyond Bill Clinton. The crime rate in 1960 was about 15 percent of the current rate. Promiscuity—in sex, drugs, violence, materialism—has become the spirit of the age. The United States can be considered a “Christian nation” only in the loosest sense. “God will turn his back on America,” said my friend, shaking her head sadly.

All this concern about “the decline of America” got me wondering how much attention God pays to national boundaries. Does God really judge the United States or any other country as a national entity? I have often heard this verse quoted as a formula for national revival: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14, NIV). Yet that promise was given as part of God’s covenantal relationship with the ancient Hebrews; its occasion ...

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