Gleanings – Signs of the Times

Strategicresourcetraining   -  

by Dr. Gerald Chester

Signs of the Time

In 2009, Chuck Colson published a Breakpoint1 newsletter that included his assessment of the Tytler Cycle of Civilizations applied to the United States of America (USA). The Tytler cycle is a nine-phase circular progression that begins when people in political and spiritual bondage are moved by faith to seek freedom. If they are successful, the cycle progresses through sequential phases of courage, liberty, abundance, selfishness, complacency, apathy, dependence, and, finally, back to bondage. On average the time frame of the cycle for democratic forms of government is approximately two hundred years. In Colson’s newsletter, he suggested that as of 2009 the USA was in the apathy phase (phase 8 of 9).

Since 2018, there has been a noticeable increase in the acceptance of socialism by the USA’s citizens. Socialism seeks economic egalitarianism for all people except the elite leaders who are not subject to the same rules as everyone else. In this paradigm, the people become increasingly dependent on the civil government. Perhaps this interest in socialism is a harbinger of the transition from apathy to dependency.

The final transition from dependency to bondage will be triggered by an economic reset. Could the USA, and indeed the world, be on the precipice of such a reset?

Some may argue that the stock market, at near record highs, is signaling otherwise. However, there are other factors to be considered, such as:

  • In October 2020, the US national debt exceeded $27T and continues to climb. The debt/GDP ratio was >136%.2
  • Currently, there is nearly $5T of uninvested cash—an all-time record and 32% higher than the prior record set in January 2009.3

Generally, economists view the ratio of sovereign debt to GDP greater than 65 percent as a warning sign. Is the uninvested cash level also a warning sign that investors are skeptical of the current market valuation? Is the United States on the verge of economic calamity? If so, what can be done?

From a Christian worldview, the root of economic blessing is obedience to God and the root of economic calamity is disobedience to God.4

There are many signs pointing to the culture of the USA’s disconnect from God. These signs include secularization in economics, public policy, education, and social norms. Even the emergence of the liberal church (a false church), over the past two hundred years, testifies to the rejection of the historic Christian view of God even among professing Christians.

Those supporting secularization contend that the disconnect from Christian standards is a sign of progress; hence, they embrace the moniker “progressive.” The truth from a Christian worldview, however, is that anytime individuals or societies disconnect from God’s standards, it is regressive not progressive.

When a society turns from God, there will be economic consequences. The only way forward is repentance and a return to real progressivism, which is connecting economics, public policy, education, social norms, and churches to Christian standards. Since organizations function in a cultural context, the choices of society will impact the ability of organizations to operate with excellence and profitability.

Here is your business tip. Wise organizational leaders and managers must learn how to read the signs of the times so that they will know how to respond to societal trends. The way forward is always alignment with the will and ways of God. This is the only path to divine blessings. Any misalignment with God will lead to judgment. In every way possible, leaders and managers must teach, support, and practice Christian values and principles. Enduring economic blessings are tied to obedience to God. There can be no compromise.