Back in the 1990s, one of the most influential political organizations was the Christian Coalition. Today it is nonexistent. The goals of the group were excellent, and a number of victories were won. I attended a couple of the Road to Victory conferences in D.C. All the big names in the conservative political world fell over themselves to speak at these conferences.
Then came the fall. A combination of money troubles—some brought on by liberal spending, ironically—unfair government investigations, which ended in exoneration, and bad leadership led to the demise. There are many valuable lessons to be learned from the history of this organization. What happens when you abandon principles? What’s the result of losing one’s focus and becoming enamored with the world’s adulation? How can this be avoided in the future?
I teach a course called Biblical Principles of Government and Policy, in which I have the students read Joel Vaughan’s book The Rise and Fall of the Christian Coalition. Vaughan was present at the creation of the organization, and he was one of the last to leave as it crumbled. He knows, from the inside, what went right and what eventually went wrong. I had Joel come speak to my class yesterday. It allowed them, as young Christians seeking to make a difference in the realm of government and policy, to wrestle with those questions asked above.
All Christians need to think through the lessons that can be learned from the successes and failures of the Christian Coalition. I heartily endorse Joel’s book and recommend it as a thought-provoking read. We need to learn its lessons and make the proper application today if we hope to make a lasting impact.