Some statements on this have been recently published for our consideration.
In recent years there has been much attention in the media to the danger of Christian Nationalism. Some of it is due to the prominent influence of Christian leaders in American politics, with careless language and actions that deserve criticism. But much of it is due to deliberate strategy by pagan globalists to intimidate believers to stay quiet and inactive in public policy. (A recent document on Christian Nationalism is available for paid subscribers. It was signed by over 400 leaders.)
The name of my substack blog (and my Twitter) is TransformNation. The whole idea is based on the mission given to Christians by Jesus at the end of the Gospels. In Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV) Jesus said to “…go and make disciples of all the nations…” This meant that Israel alone was not their mission. And that salvation alone was not enough. It meant saving souls in the nations, of course, but then bringing the nations themselves into alignment with the discipline or beliefs and practices that God had established. The great Bible commentator Matthew Henry said of this verse 400 years ago that it meant to “make the nations Christian nations.”
This comprehensive idea of discipling nations has always been normative in Christian thought until the last century or so, when many church leaders began to narrow their focus. The term “nationalism” only began about 200 years ago. It was used originally in a positive way but gradually became used often to speak of something unhealthy. As a result, now when Christians speak and work for national transformation, it can seem like something inappropriate or even dangerous. We admit that in two thousand years of church history, there have been errors in the application of this mission. From this we must learn, and do better, but not retreat from the challenge.
A very recent document was drafted by some American Christian leaders regarding Christian Nationalism that has some helpful viewpoints for consideration. I have attached it below.
Nationalism – A Christian Statement
[portions drawn from www.narandchristiannationalism.com]
WE BELIEVE that nationalism is a biblical concept in the sense of nations having defined borders and identities, as mentioned by Paul in Acts 17 and by Moses in Deuteronomy 32. God sets national borders and governments and authority spheres for a purpose. WE ALSO BELIEVE in the positive value of respecting national borders and national authority, in contrast with an international one-world government. At the same time, WE REJECT as unbiblical the belief that America is a uniquely chosen nation, similar to Old Testament Israel being the chosen nation of God. (Although God has used the USA in various ways to bless the world with humanitarian aid and military support, and although the Church of America has sent out missionaries worldwide, in the New Testament, Jesus, as the King of kings and Lord of lords has a special assignment for every nation, tribe, kindred and tongue represented on the earth.) WE ALSO RECOGNIZE that there is a dangerous and unhealthy form of “Christian nationalism,” one that speaks of a potential Christian uprising against the government or hints at the use of force to advance God’s kingdom. WE CATEGORICALLY AND UNEQUIVOCALLY DENY any affiliation with or connection to that form of Christian nationalism. Because WE BELIEVE that God made one human race expressed through different ethnicities and races, all of which deserve dignity and respect as His image bearers, WE REJECT all ideologies and movements claiming ethnic or racial superiority. WE DENOUNCE calls to violent, armed resistance in the name of Christian nationalism or as an alleged means of advancing the cause of the gospel. WE REJECT the triumphalist, top-down, take-over of society as part of a so-called “dominion mandate,” also noting that we do not know of any major Christian movement that espouses such a top-down, take-over mentality. WE REJECT the merging of Christian identity and national identity, as if the Kingdom of God and our particular nation were one and the same.
In contrast, WE BELIEVE the biblical way to influence society is by living the cruciform life in which believers lay down their lives in the service of others, resulting in human flourishing for the glory of God. This can include Christ-like engagement in every sphere of society. And WE DO BELIEVE that Christians have as much right as any other group to have their voices heard in the public square and to influence society, functioning as the salt of the earth and light of the world, and we encourage such activities as good citizens of our various nations and as part of our sacred calling. WE BELIEVE that Christians should seek to make a positive impact on every aspect of society, including education and media, along with politics, and that by acting on gospel principles, whole nations can be changed. WE BELIEVE that Christians should be politically informed, should exercise their right to vote, should hold elected officials accountable, and when called by God, should run for political offices themselves.
BUT WE SEE IT AS SPIRITUALLY DANGEROUS IF/WHEN…
1. We wrap the gospel in the American flag (or any national or state flag).
2. We equate our country with the Kingdom of God.
3. We confuse patriotism with spirituality.
4. We compromise our ethics to keep our party (or leader) in power.
5. Our church/denomination/ministry becomes an appendage of a political party.
6. We put more trust in earthly methods than in spiritual methods.
7. We marry the cause of Christ to the cause of a political party (or leader) as if they were one and the same.
8. We become as vulgar and rude as the candidates we follow.
9. We look to the White House or any branch of government in any nation more than to God.
10. We make a human being into a political savior.
11. We equate loyalty to God (which should be unconditional) with loyalty to a party or political leader (which should be conditional).
12. Our prayers and our prophecies become politically partisan.
FINALLY, WE CONCLUDE BY CONTRASTING THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITH EXTREME NATIONALISM: • The Kingdom of God prioritizes the advancement of the gospel. Extreme nationalism prioritizes the advancement of its ideology even at the expense of the gospel. • The Kingdom of God produces loyalty to Christ above all else. Extreme nationalism produces loyalty to one’s nation above all else. • The Kingdom of God raises the banner of Jesus above all else. Extreme nationalism raises the national flag above all else. • The Kingdom of God promotes the interests of God above the world. Extreme nationalism promotes the interests of one’s nation above the Kingdom. • The Kingdom of God views the world through a biblical lens. Extreme nationalism views the world solely through a geopolitical lens. • The Kingdom of God is dependent upon neither an earthly kingdom nor an earthly ruler but upon Jesus as the King of kings (Revelation 19:16). Extreme nationalism is dependent upon both the ideology of an earthly nation and its ruler. • Followers of the Kingdom of God are passionate about a Christ-centered global awakening. Adherents of extreme nationalism are focused primarily on a political/ideological awakening. • Christ-followers are primarily identified with the Kingdom of God. Extreme nationalists derive their primary identity from their nation. • Christ-followers derive their primary value from being children of their heavenly Father (Romans 8:14-17). Extreme nationalists derive their primary value from being citizens of their country.
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