This piece was adapted from Russell Moore’s newsletter. Subscribe here.
An uncanny number of people are imagining the looming collapse of the United States.
Some speak openly of preparing for “civil war,” while others crow about the need for a “national divorce” between red and blue states. Most, though, whisper these thoughts. They look at a country seemingly at the breaking point and begin to wonder whether we may indeed be heading for a national conflict of some kind.
To answer such questions, perhaps even the most secular Americans should look to a religious phenomenon that has proven in years past to be a leading indicator of our nation’s future: church splits.
In the Baptist tradition, the year 1845 was key—we learned about it in church history alongside other momentous years like 325 (the Council of Nicaea) and 1517 (the start of the Protestant Reformation). In 1845, the denominational structure I grew up in—the Southern Baptist Convention—was formed.