WASHINGTON – There's an impending flood of darkness looming over the earth, and Christians need to shift their strategy. That's the alarm being sounded by one conservative Christian author.
Rod Dreher is a senior editor of The American Conservative magazine and author of the new book The Benedict Option.
He points to contemporary culture and statistical trends that show Western civilization's turn from traditional values embraced by Christians for centuries.
With shifting attitudes on issues from consumerism to same-sex marriage, Dreher believes American Christians are losing their cultural memory of Christianity and need to act now.
"Do we continue to try to shore up the existing social order and live as if we're in normal times?" Dreher asks in an interview with CBN News.
"Or, do we instead take a different path and retreat strategically into our own churches and communities, to strengthen them to go more deeply into scripture, to build thicker bonds among each other so that when we go back out into this world, in this post-Christian time, we can more authentically be the face of Christ to them?" he continues.
Dreher bases his argument on the idea of strategic retreat, insisting that the formation of Christ-centered communities is the solution for Christians to challenge the West's accelerating moral decay and to more authentically "be the face of Christ" to others.
"I think we believers have got to look inward to ourselves, turn away from the ordinary go-along to get-along ways that a lot of us have been living, and come up with ways together to strengthen our commitment to the Lord," he says. "Only in that way can we continue to be salt and light to this world."
Yet, some conservative Christians – buoyed by the election of President Donald Trump – may see things differently.
Eight-one percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump, eager to undo eight years of liberal social policies put in place by former President Barack Obama.
An Eastern Orthodox Christian and a self-identifying conservative, Dreher offers this warning.
"If Christians believe the election of a man who's on his third marriage, who doesn't have any discernible Christian background – that that's going to turn things around, I think they're deluding themselves," he tells CBN News.
"I say that as someone who felt a real sigh of relief when [Donald] Trump won because of religious liberty. I was so afraid that if Hillary Clinton got in, there would be much more progress from the Left to take away religious liberty – especially to hit Christian colleges and universities. I think that that will probably not happen now under a Trump administration," Dreher explains.
While the president's personal past and his relationship with evangelicals have been described as complicated, President Trump has been vocal about his appreciation for the religious voting block. He also has surrounded himself with evangelical leaders, both within his administration and as non-governmental advisors.
Yet, as Dreher points out, the president has yet to offer or sign any executive orders that explicitly address religious liberty.
"I think that even if Trump were a saint, and even if Donald Trump did everything that we Christian conservatives wanted him to do, he himself could not turn back the tide of secularization – the degrading of the culture – things that have been building up for decades even centuries," Dreher explains. "This is beyond politics."