I need to explore a weighty issue with you today.
The Trump transition team has announced that ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is the leading candidate to become Secretary of State. Why is the possible nomination of a businessman to be Secretary of State so momentous?
Next year the world will mark the five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Luther’s movement rejected the authority of the pope over the state, effectively separating politics from ecclesiastical control. The result, broadly speaking, was the birth of secular nation-states as Western civilization moved from the religious to the political era.
You and I are witnessing a Second Reformation today: the separation of corporations from nations and thus of economics from politics. According to Stratfor’s Jay Ogilvy, in this new economic era the power of the marketplace exercises greater influence over our lives than do governments. Nation-states are no longer able to shield us from economic shifts that cause unemployment, poverty, inflation, and war. Multi-national companies have more power than many countries and affect the lives of citizens more directly than their political leaders.
Witness the Great Recession, a crisis caused by economic forces outside the ability of the government to predict or prevent. The weekend bombings in Istanbul and Cairo are just the latest example of multi-national terror organizations attacking nation-states with impunity. (For my article on the bombing in Egypt, see Who are the Copts? Why are they being attacked?) Ogilvy cites the Edelman Trust Barometer, which reveals a steady decline of trust in government and a steady rise of trust in business worldwide.
Whom do you trust more with your healthcare: the government or your local doctor and hospital? Whom do you trust more with your retirement: the government and Social Security or your investments in the market? Whom do you believe will create the next economic boom: the government or businesses operating in the free market?
One clear factor in the recent election was that Trump’s supporters believed he could deliver jobs and improve the economy. The fact that he had no political experience was not a negative—to the contrary, it showed his supporters that he is not tainted by Washington and its policies. They were convinced that a business tycoon is the best person to lead our nation to economic prosperity. Now Trump is reportedly convinced that a business tycoon is the best person to represent our nation to the world.
While the Second Reformation shift from politics to economics is important for both politics and economics, it also bears significant spiritual consequences as well. We each have a “higher power,” what theologian Paul Tillich called our “ultimate concern.” We each trust in something or someone for what we need.
We are not to trust politics or politicians for our salvation: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation” (Psalm 146:3). Nor are we to depend upon economics or business leaders: “Whoever trusts in his riches will fall” (Proverbs 11:28).
No one can be God in your life but the one true God.
No one can be God in your life but the one true God. Trusting anyone but God to be God is like trusting Martians with your money. Scripture is clear: “Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!” (Psalm 144:15).
Can God bless America today? Can he bless you?