The night before He was crucified, Jesus prayed for His followers. In His conversation with the Father, He lamented that the world hated them because they were not of the world anymore than He was. He asked that we be protected from the Evil one, set apart by His Truth. And so, we Christians who seek both His Spirit and Truth, have found that our position in the world is not easily or readily accepted, or understood. The world tries to classify us or categorize us by any number of different and rigid standards; pigeonhole us if you will -- and usually in opposition to whatever the current cultural ideology that is prevalent. And before you know it, the world has determined they know what our beliefs are and proclaims that there is a new Christian "movement".
I feel compelled to comment on the latest extremist label we've all been assigned to, which is "Christian Nationalism". What exactly is that? If you ask 10 different opinion-makers, you will get 10 different answers ... everything from Christianity.com who defines it as "fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ", to the Encyclopedia Britannica's definition of "the Christian whose devotion and loyalty to the nation-state surpasses other individual or group interests", to The Atlantic opinion editor who labeled Christian Nationalists as "religious radicals". In other words, if we are a Christian, love this country, and believe we are better when we follow God's principles, we stand in danger of being labeled extremist. So, not knowing any Believer who identified as a Nationalist, I was curious to see if there was actually an organization for proclaimed Christian Nationalists. Sure enough, there was!
ChristianNationalism.com is the official media outlet of the Christian National Alliance and gives their mission statement as follows: "We believe in the principle of America First and advocate the Three C’s: Christianity, Culture and Capitalism." The ten tenets of their Alliance are founded on various social, political, religious, and cultural beliefs. In fact, the Alliance openly states that a Christian Nationalist "adheres to a political platform that advocates for Christian principles in government and law." This of course naturally leads to the argument of "Separation of Church and State". It also leads to the consistently controversial Romans 13:1-2 minefield ... Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Naturally, there's a lot of room for disparity and misunderstanding in what exactly a Christian Nationalist is.
I find that whenever there is a new adjective or descriptive phrase that the culture bandies about, there's lots of room for distortion and confusion. I mean, there will be factions within the so-called "movement" that don't even agree on what they stand for, let alone those on the outside that want to throw shade to discredit the movement with their sneering expressions of contempt or disgust. And what do you get? Division, discord, lies, and alienation ... just what Satan delights in!
So how should we Christians approach this ideology? Is it Biblical? Would Jesus approve or support Christian Nationalism? I will be honest and tell you that considering the state of our nation today, I was concerned that the passion with which I've seen Christians pursuing political answers to our national problems would outweigh what I clearly see as spiritual issues. I really had to step back and see what God had to say about nations in His Word. Was nation-building part of His plan? I found a fascinating article on tomorrowsworld.org that made me pause and seriously deliberate these questions in light of our own situation. Let me share what I discovered for your own contemplation ...
First of all, I knew that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God that Jesus brought with Him was all about what a moral and righteous government looked like. I knew He was bringing a new system of lawfulness and fraternity to a world deeply in need of a new way to govern itself. And I fully understood that God knew what He was doing when He chose Abraham to be a part of His world governing plan: I’ll make you a great nation and bless you ... All the families of the Earth will be blessed through you. So, it looks like God is in favor of nations, per se.
Then God got down to business with building the nation of Israel when He ordained Moses to bring them out of slavery in Egypt. He fully intended them to be the role model for other nations to follow. And this is what He instructed Moses to tell them: I’m teaching you the rules and regulations that God commanded me, so that you may live by them in the land you are entering to take up ownership. Keep them. Practice them. You’ll become wise and understanding. When people hear and see what’s going on, they’ll say, “What a great nation! So wise, so understanding! We’ve never seen anything like it” (Deuteronomy 4:5-6).
After establishing a model of government, what was God's next step in building the nation of Israel? He put them on a solid religious footing with correct religious beliefs [taking them out of the idol worship of their 400 years in Egypt] and establishing foundational values for the new nation. These laws would make them stand out from the other nations of the world, and the laws were free to be used by any other developing nation. God next trained and instructed good Godly leaders for the nation of Israel. As the article points out, "God told Moses to staff his government with "able men, such as [those who] fear God; men of truth, hating covetousness" (Exodus 18:21). God indicated that He
would choose the king, that foreigners were not to lead the nation of
Israel and that a leader should not use his office to enrich himself (Deuteronomy 17:14–20)." How far have we strayed from that principle?
This advice would lead to God's standards and keys to good government; not today's criteria by which we choose our political leaders: popularity,
voter appeal, good television presence, excellence in repartee and
skill at fundraising. So we must ask this question: How far have we strayed from God's principles, and where does Christian Nationalism stand on this issue? Are Nationalists concerned with how candidates for national office fare according to God's standards, or the current criteria for office-holders?
The next step in God's process of Nation building was to establish a model for education. God's instructions always emphasized the parents' role in teaching children the fundamental truths and values of God... to grow in wisdom, to gain knowledge of how to serve others, and to develop the mind and character of God. Unless Christian Nationalism endorses a change from the current education system that gives more power to educational leaders than to parents, and unless they propose a return to a Biblical foundation of learning versus modern political philosophies and systems of government, then "America First" will never re-establish our greatness or prosperity.
So, now we come down to the crux of our dilemma regarding "Christian Nationalism". It clearly means different things to different people. To the writer of The Atlantic op-ed, even Catholic rosary beads have become a symbol of radical Christian Nationalism. He writes, "Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian
nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning
for radical-traditional (or ‘rad trad’) Catholics ...
On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture. These armed radical traditionalists have taken up a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal." Really?!?! Spiritual warfare through prayer is a spiritual weapon that God authorizes to defeat Satan and his demons. It is hardly comparable to a weapon of metal made by man.
On the other end of the spectrum, to the Christian National Alliance, political power is at the center of their "God and Country" philosophy. They seem to believe that the solutions to our national problems lie in rebuilding our national structure according to strict and rigid religious and government philosophies. But, I always have to ask myself if this is what Jesus preached. Taken too far, we can easily see the Pharisees and how they used religion and political power to limit the freedom of people to see God. I agree that this nation has deteriorated into a dysfunctional system of crime, violence, greed, sexual perversion, lawlessness, and selfish ambition. And yes, we need to return to Biblical principles, but Jesus never taught us that we could build Godly nations through our human efforts. We would always need to be willing to hear from Him, the Father, and Holy Spirit, and act on their instruction.
In fact, He tells us that conditions in the world will grow worse and "nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom", until Jesus, Himself, will have to intervene to prevent us from destroying each other and ourselves. Jesus will restore this earth to the dominion of God and establish God's Kingdom on earth, "as it is in Heaven'. It is Jesus who will take over the government of the earth and appoint qualified saints to positions of authority and leadership in civil and religious roles. It is Jesus and His saints that will institute true nation building and only then will the nations of the world come into alignment with His righteous religion, righteous government, and righteous education.
I don't like attaching labels or movements to Christians. Through right relationship with Him, and acting in our callings and appointments, we should be able to walk in unity to see His holy and righteous government instituted. I honor and revere the Christians in our national history who stood for their beliefs and hopes that this nation would adhere to God's Biblical tenets of nation building. And I would like nothing more than to see Godly men rise to the challenge of making this country fit the role model God outlined for us in the Bible. To be honest, I'm not sure we can achieve it at the rate we're going. Remember, it was God who built the nation of Israel, and they were only as successful as the men who walked in obedience to His plan. BUT THIS I KNOW! There is a day soon to come, when the government of this world will rest on the shoulders of our Lord, and all nations will walk in peace, comfort, and joy. Nations and families will be rebuilt; wars will be no more; and the environment will be restored. The Prince of Peace will reign and the glory and the honor of the Lord will be on full display! That's the future I believe in!
#ChristianNationalism #BiblicalTruth #GodsPlansForTheNations #ChristianMovements
Isaiah 14:26-27 This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?