When I saw those words I almost laughed out loud. Yeah, I thought, really, really dangerous. These words unsurprisingly come from an article from the very left side of the political-cultural spectrum: “Disciples Confronting Christian Nationalism.”  Although, Sadly, many conservative Christian leaders and intellectuals believe the same thing. It seems the idea of a Christian nation to these Christians of both the left and right is a discredited and archaic position which inevitably leads to stoning homosexuals, burning witches at the stake, and basically a 21st century version of the Spanish Inquisition. They have a deficient understanding of both Christianity and what a nation is in God’s economy. Here are a few quotes from the article demonstrating what this looks like from the left side of the political/cultural spectrum.

Liberal Christians as they used to be called in the early 20th century always had a heretical understanding of the gospel, as so-called progressive Christians do now. So this sentiment wouldn’t surprise us: “Christian Nationalism betrays the gospel and threatens the church.” What exactly is the gospel if it doesn’t apply to nations? Their supposed Savior explicitly says it does when he tells his closest followers just prior to ascending to the right hand of God to exercise the rule he has been given with “all authority in heaven and on earth”:

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

He did not say to make disciples of all people, but all nations, ethnos in Greek. Even most Bible-believing, gospel-declaring conservative Christians miss this one, completely. That’s sad because it isn’t seeing nations as potentially Christian that “betrays the gospel,” but it fulfills it! This doesn’t threaten the church, but it’s one of the primary reasons for its existence! Or maybe Jesus was just kidding.

This leftist/liberal/progressive “Christian” assembly also passed a resolution denouncing Christian nationalism as “a distortion of the Christian faith.” How can you say making nations Christian distorts a faith whose founder commanded his followers to do just that? Again, most conservative Christians, primarily leaders and intellectuals, agree. I’ve found most Christians sitting in the pews every Sunday most definitely want their nations to be more Christian. If they didn’t why would they complain about it all the time? And we see in the following quote how the leftist antipathy to the concept of a Christian nation differs markedly from the conservative one:

The resolution notes Christian Nationalism promotes violence, authoritarianism, “White Supremacy, antisemitism (and other forms of religious bigotry), xenophobia, persecution and scapegoating of LGBTQ+ persons, misogyny, and ableism.” But this dangerous ideology does this, the resolution points out, as it “appropriates the name of Jesus Christ and the language and imagery of scripture to promote this ideology, in direct contradiction to the gospel Jesus preached.” 

And to put the cherry on the top they commit to working “to counter this heretical ideology.” Karl Marx could have been a member in good standing of this denomination.

Let’s make the case that a Christian nation is in fact a thoroughly biblical concept. (I try to stay away from the phrase “Christian nationalism” if I can because of the baggage it’s enemies put on it.) It’s actually an easy case to make, which I attempt in a chapter in my, God willing, forthcoming book, titled,

“The Westphalian Nation-State and The Christian Nation.” If you’re a Christian and believe in nations (i.e., you’re not a globalist), you should be a Christian nationalist. The concept of the nation, or specific people groups, is an important biblical concept, the word being used well over 600 times. In addition to the Great Commission, the Apostle Paul in Acts 17 lays out the case for the God ordained nature of nations:

26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 

You can’t get more biblically unequivocal than that!

Further, a religiously or morally neutral nation cannot exist, a myth far too many Christians believe. This idea of neutrality is the crux of the issue. Most Christians, and all non-Christians, believe a Christian nation is a synonym for theocracy, which is bad, and neutrality is the answer! Although why God ruling a nation (what the word means) is bad I have no idea. Their confusion lies in thinking theocracy means the church ruling the nation, or some man or people ruling in the name of God. Whatever the thinking, it leads inevitably to tyranny and the destruction of liberty. This distortion is more of the poisonous fruit of secularism.

So as not to be the big meanie Christians, they mistakenly believe religious freedom means a type of pluralism where all faiths are equally welcome at a neutral public table with mutual respect and tolerance for all. A perfect example of this misconception comes from David French, a one-time conservative who became an implacable foe of Donald Trump (joining what came to be called the NeverTrumpers). This quote comes from an article in the left-wing Atlantic magazine titled, “Pluralism Has Life Left in It Yet”:

The magic of the American republic is that it can create space for people who possess deeply different world views to live together, work together, and thrive together, even as they stay true to their different religious faiths and moral convictions.

This magic world of America French invents out of whole cloth never existed because in God’s created reality, currently fallen and chock full of sinners, such a pluralist Utopia does not and cannot exist. In fact, America was founded as a Protestant republic with shared biblical assumptions and the Bible as its foundational religious text. Most people don’t realize, obviously including French, that for the first approximately 170 years of America’s history most states had anti-blasphemy and sabbath laws. Doesn’t sound very magical or pluralistic to me!

What French and others like him seem to miss is that we are living in an era when America’s (and the West’s) established religion is secular progressivism, otherwise known as wokeness (i.e., cultural Marxism). It has its own anti-blasphemy laws, as we know all too well. There can be legal consequences, for example, for speaking any words perceived as racist or anti any so-called sexual minority. Despite all evidence to the contrary, well-meaning Christians and liberals who believe in liberty and truth think secular pluralism is the answer to getting rid of the established religion of wokeness. I’m afraid the world as God created it, and fallen, does not work that way. Every nation and the peoples in them exist and live out their collective world view. Vishal Mangalwadi states an unalterable fact of existence in his wonderful book, The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization:

Every civilization is tied together by a final source of authority that gives meaning and ultimate intellectual, moral, and social justification to its culture.

Every nation has some kind of religious establishment, some foundation upon which social order, or disorder, is based, and the consequences will naturally follow. As Christians we can either stick our heads in the sand and pretend neutrality exists, or start thinking seriously and rigorously about what a Christian nation would look like. Secularism cannot be fixed, and true pluralism, true respect for the faith commitments of all people can only exist in a nation that is Christian. Because of the spirit of Babel (Genesis 11) secularism will always and everywhere lead to tyranny and the destruction of liberty. Only where the Spirit of the Lord is can there be liberty (2 Cor. 3:17).

 

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