There is a sense a panic among some Evangelicals about the possibility of a Biden-Harris victory this November. These fervent Trump supporters are certain that such victory will result in the resumption of the Paganization of America, with increased Christian persecution and the total spiritual ruin of our nation.
I personally do not share these catastrophic expectations, and have recently published a slender book on the serious spiritual damage that the Trump administration has caused to the long-range good of Evangelical/Pentecostal Christianity. Although I believe there is some danger that a Biden administration could take a radical secularist and ant-Christian turn, I do not think it is probable. As of now, I will cast my vote for the Biden-Harris ticket and fervently pray for a revival to come both to the nation as a whole, and specifically to Biden and the personnel of his administration.
Some Trump supporters may consider this wrong headed and impossible. But let me recall American history to a time that had a similar religious divide. In the election of 1800 Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican) ran against John Adams (Federalist). The spiritual issues revolved around the fact that Jefferson was a Deist and did not believe in the Bible as the word of God. He dismissed all of Jesus’ recorded healing as myths. Also Jefferson had looked favorably on the French Revolution (1789) even after it took a turn into anti-Christianity and terror. The Federalists quickly became suspicious of the French Revolution, and under the Adams Administration (he won the presidency in 1796) there was an undeclared naval war between Republican France and the United Sates. It could have evolved into all out warfare.
The political campaign of 1799 was full of mud-slinging and exaggerations just like modern campaigns (alas). The Democratic-Republicans accused the Federalists of backing England in its struggle against France with the purpose of ultimately establishing an aristocratic government in the United States, just like in England. The Federalists accused the Democratic Republicans and Jefferson of favoring the Terror of the French Revolution (guillotine and all). They asserted that if Jefferson won, America would experience a similar reign of Terror, Deism would be established as the official state religion, and “women would be ravaged in the streets.” Most orthodox Christians voted for Adams, while the less orthodox and Deist, which were a majority in 1800, voted for Jefferson. Jefferson won the presidency in a convoluted electoral process in which Alexander Hamilton (a Federalist) turned his support to Jefferson.
The Jefferson administration did not turn out anything like the catastrophic expectations of the Federalist had prophesied. It is considered by most historians as a “middling” good administration with such accomplishments as the buying of the Louisiana territory from Napoleon and ushering in a period of economic prosperity. Jefferson as president gradually drifted to some to the Federalist positions in regard to the role of government. Of course neither the Terror nor the guillotine came to America, and women were as safe in the streets as before.
In fact, Jefferson’s term in office turned out to be the period of the Second Great Awakening, (1797-1805). This was the most spiritually significant revival America has experienced thus far. It essentially converted American from a predominantly Deist country to a majority orthodox and Evangelical one. The revival is remembered mostly for the huge meetings at Cane Ridge, which was a frontier “camp meeting” under the open air. Out of the Second Great Awakening there developed the “anxious seat” and ultimately the Evangelical sacrament of the “altar call” where Christians first enter into a relationship with Jesus. Before that, as for instance under the evangelization of George Whitefield, the Gospel was preached but the hearer was directed to “go to the woods” (or any solitary place) and pray to discern if he or she was elected by God to be saved. This was a flawed theological tradition derived from classical Calvinism. Some did not hear an affirmative message and believed they were doomed eternally.
But back to Jefferson. He was blissfully unaware of the tectonic spiritual change that America was experiencing in the Second Great Awakening and continued to be a Deist to the day he died. He did have a reconciliation with John Adams in his later years – a grace and sign in American history that deep political divides can be overcome.
Now, the main point of this essay is that revival can come again to America regardless of who is president. Revival seems to depend on two factors: God’s sovereignty, and the Christian’s persistence in repenting on behalf of the nation and praying for revival. Scholars and Bible teachers are divided on which factor is most important. I believe that the Lord wants to send revival at all times, but waits until the prayers of the saints reach a certain critical (desperate) level before He responds. That is what happened in the Second Great Awakening, where a holy remnant of Scottish American Christians on the frontier saw and understood the terrible Deist situation of the Nation and prayed for revival. If I am wrong, point that out to me in heaven when you get there. I am 78 so I will probably beat you there.
- Continue to pray for the government in power, wither your party is in power or not. Don’t believe that revival depends on who is in the White House.
- Continue to repent on behalf of or nation for its sins, especially repenting on behalf of those ho have no concept of sin or unrighteousness.
- Continue to pray and believe for a great revival to sweep through this nation. (We should not confuse a nation-changing revival like Cane Ridge with local “revivals” that are often little more that routine evangelical meetings. For instance in the Welsh Revival of 1900 there was such a heavy presence of God that even unbelievers could see a glory cloud rolling in on one town after the other. It was reported that one unbeliever shouted to another, “Run, if the cloud hit you you will never drink gin again!”
- If the Biden-Harris ticket prevails, pray for revival to touch the White House and the entire administration, and that the policies put forward by that administration be godly and for the benefit of the entire nation. If Trump wins pray that the Spirit fall mightily enough in the White House to transform Trump from his boorish, egotistical manner. (He could use some of that right now).
 William L. De Arteaga, Discerning Trump’s Character and Presidency: A Theological reflection on How False Prophecy Influenced American Politics. (Amazon: KDP, 2020).
 Perhaps the best single work on the Second Great Awakening is Paul K .Conklin’s Cane Ridge: America’s Pentecost (Madison,: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990).
 On the development of the altar call, originally called the “invitation” see my work Forgotten Power. (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 2002). Chapter 12, “From Camp Meeting to Altar Call.”
 When I was pastor to my Hispanic congregation in Marietta, Georgia, I would sometimes preach a controversial message, and I would say to them, “Let’s meet at my mansion in heaven in 75 years and have coffee and pastries, and you tell me when I was accurate or way off.”