The temptation in watching trends is that we imagine God in Deistic fashion, as if he were uninvolved or absent in human affairs. But history is not an inevitable progression. God may choose to start a revival in the United States this decade. He may allow the U.S. to wither from a nuclear attack. Who knows what the Lord has planned? We should never speculate about the future in a way that makes God seem distant and removed.
There is, however, something to be said for understanding the times in which we live. If we can discern contemporary trends in evangelicalism, we should consider their implications and trajectory. Here are five trends to watch:
1. Chastened Expectations of Culture Change through Politics
Evangelicals will be less inclined to focus our efforts on changing culture through the political process. Books like Culture Making by Andy Crouch, To Change the World by James Davidson Hunter, and Christ and Culture Revisited by D.A. Carson are already influential among thoughtful evangelical leaders. Younger evangelicals (on both the political right and left) are increasingly put off by the politicization of evangelicalism.