I was standing near the door of the Highlands Bible Chapel auditorium in 1987. We had renamed it from LaGrange Gospel Chapel a while earlier in hope that the name change, among other things, would give us a fresh start and help us grow. It hadn’t worked out so well.
I was still fairly new to evangelicalism in 1980 when Ronald Reagan first ran for President. I had been a believer for a little more than four years, and up until that year I had not noticed any overall political bias toward either the Democratic or Republican parties among my fellow believers.
But in my local church, a conservative Open Plymouth Brethren assembly, the campaigns of 1980 seemed to create a new a political rift between those who preferred Jimmy Carter because he was a Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher, and those who were fed up with the state of the economy and the low level of national morale and wanted him out. The latter group seemed vaguely aware that Reagan also professed some form of Christian belief, but for the most part did not think that either man’s profession of faith should be a determining factor in whether he was elected.