Christian Missions Without America?

Dear Praying Friends:

In February, 2017, I listed several “’Old’ Strategies for New Realities.” One of these was “Developing low-cost, high-yield structures and programs that do not rely on continued American power and prosperity or continued freedoms in the West or in Asia.”

Although American power has been declining rapidly since then, we could soon see an even sharper fall in the ability of American churches to deploy and support traditional missionary workers and of the United States Government to protect them or other Christians around the world, including Asia. In this letter, I will explain why I make this statement.

The “bottom line” is that almost all strategies and methods of reaching Chinese and others worldwide with the gospel will have to be based on a world without the Pax Americana that has prevailed since the end of World War Two and without the same level of American personnel or financial resources.

Cascading crises

All the trends that I mentioned in my last letter, and more, have converged into a combination that will likely culminate in a collection of calamities that point toward the demise of the United States and even the entire Western world. The earth is rumbling beneath us. The foundations are shaking.

Could we be on the cusp of the kind of civilizational collapse and the rise of a new dominant power that happens about every five hundred years? (You can Google “civilization collapse” to find a number of different models and theories of this recurring phenomenon.)

The pandemic of 2020 has not only exposed, but widened existing fault lines. Not only has this novel virus killed more than a million people and sickened many more, but the resulting lockdowns have devastated entire economies. Europe and the United States are entering what some economists are calling the Second Great Depression, as countless companies have declared bankruptcy or simply closed their doors, and millions have lost their jobs.[1]

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the annual federal deficit and the overall government debt could produce a financial crisis that would suddenly destroy confidence in the U.S. dollar and the government’s ability to meet its obligations, much less to finance either social or defense commitments.

The income gap between the rich and the rest of us has surpassed that which existed in 1929; indeed, the middle class is fast disappearing. As the rich get richer and the poorer get poorer, social unrest erupts into protests. These not only reflect rage over racial inequalities, but the despair of millions who see no secure future for themselves. The degree of social instability now is the greatest in our history.

The two major political parties are locked in a bitter struggle for supremacy, with little room for compromise. The intensity of political conflict has reached the level prevailing in 1860, leading some to talk about something previously unthinkable – a second civil war.

To these looming crises, we can add conflicts between races, men and women, urban and rural dwellers, and those who adhere to traditional moral and social values versus those who promote what they call a social revolution.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking tension is that between the older and younger generations. Parents and children increasingly inhabit two separate worlds, with radically different views on a whole host of burning issues and little prospect of communication or even, sometimes, mutual respect.

Whoever occupies the White House will lead a nation that is falling apart.

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon!”

He will also face the greatest threat to national survival since the Cold War. Russia and China have stepped up their challenges to American dominance. The United States and China could easily be at war within the next year, or even sooner. With its military assets dispersed around the globe, the U.S. might be defeated by a concentration of hostile forces.

In Christianity in America: Triumph and Tragedy, I asserted that this nation is the current manifestation of biblical Babylon. The resemblances are too many to miss.

Both the great city that suddenly fell to the Medes and the Persians and the one described in Revelation 17:1-19:10 collapsed so suddenly that everyone was shocked. Could the same catastrophe befall the United States?

How then shall we live?

Even assuming that my assessment is too pessimistic, at the very least we can say that the modern missionary era is ending. In the future, we will have to put our trust in God, not men or money. We must adopt low-cost, sustainable methods of reaching the nations with the gospel. We must learn to pray. Above all, we must “rest [our] hope fully on the grace that is to be brought to [us] at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).

Before the Lord returns, however, let us remember that, even now, “The LORD reigns!” (Psalm 99:1). Christ is “seated at [the Father’s] right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion and very name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And [God] put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things for the church” (Ephesians 1:20-22).  Jesus said, “The gospel must first be preached to all the nations” (Mark 13:10) and declared, “You will be My witnesses . . . to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Christ certainly does not need American prosperity or power to build his church!

Yours in his victory,


[1]For substation of the statements in this paragraph and three that follow, see;  and