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Christian Nationalism – Theocracy vs. Secular rule

Earlier this month I wrote a brief article breaking down the words “Christian” and “Nationalism”, attempting to more clearly define what the concept SHOULD mean, based on its individual components. My point was more to demonstrate how concepts get twisted in this present age of divisiveness. As readers responded, it forced me to more clearly think through the concerns progressives have regarding their gaslighting; believing Christians could successfully turn America into a theocracy (a government ruled by religious authority). One of the most extreme comments expressing this viewpoint was from a writer (whom I responded to in a post), referring to my views as “Christofascist Dominionist Theocracy”. 

While responding to more recent comments on the subject of Christian Nationalism, a reader expressed concern over Christians getting involved in politics from the perspective of verses such as (1 Cor. 4:4): 

Further, he challenged my use of Paul’s comments to the church in Corinth where he made the statement that we “need to be all things to all people in order to save some” (1 Cor. 9:22-23) by making the point that, 

“Paul strategically used his Roman citizenship as a tool for advancing the gospel, but he in no wise appeared to be a Roman patriot… Paul simply tried to be the best servant of God he could with the resources he had at hand.”

This articulate Christian writer concluded his excellent point by saying, 

“I very much want to be a patriotic American, but I’m perennially unconvinced on whether a strong love for my country is compatible with my faith.”

Consider a broader view of Christian Nationalism

Clearly, this is a complex issue for Biblical Christians. I personally know of folks who have been tossed back and forth on the question of entering politics, based on the leading of the Holy Spirit. A quick internet search will identify many Christian pundits who agree that from a Biblical perspective, “Christian Nationalism” is an oxymoron. I fully understand the concern Christians have with getting immersed in worldly politics. However, step back for a moment, and consider the following four observations. 

  1. There are some who honestly wish to assume public office to make life better for those around them. They often start at local levels, such as school boards, when they see their children not being served well. Or they get involved in city councils to make their neighborhoods safer, etc. As time goes on, these folks see more problems in a broader context and seek higher and higher offices. 
  2. A precious few of these happen to be Biblical Christians and they rely on Scripture, not culture, to form their worldview. 
  3. When they press for new laws, or often, simply desire that existing laws be adhered to, they are tarred and feathered with terms like bigots, anti-choice, racist, haters, fascists, sexists, and “Christian Nationalists”, during reelections. I would suggest the vitriol comes, not because they are trying to force a theocracy, but because they see morality through the lens of the Bible (“Christian”), and see public service (“Nationalism”) as a noble calling. 
  4. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, consider what America would look like in five years if all Christians suddenly refused to engage in establishing policies and laws through government service. 

What would our country be like if everyone who believed in God and held the Bible up as their moral guide for making and enforcing laws at school boards, much less in state legislatures or in congress, chose not to run or participate in any way? 

The answer to that question has already been written down in the Bible. It would be similar to life immediately following the Rapture of the church. 

Conclusion on Biblical Christianity and Christian Nationalism

Again, there is a delicate balance here and Scripture weighs in on both sides of the issue. We are clearly in this world and not of this world (John 17:15-21). We are to live peacefully with our neighbors (Rom. 12:18). We are also called to follow the rules of our elected leaders BECAUSE God appointed them for their service (Rom. 13:1). 

However, Jesus, becomes angry at the cultural disrespect toward God’s commands, turning over the tables of the money changers in righteous indignation (Matt. 21:12-13). Christ also got angry at religious leaders because of the laws they were forcing on the Jews: 

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. – Matthew 23:13

If Biblical Christians, in mass, decide to abdicate any form of public service that might be construed by atheists and humanists as Christian Nationalism, how long will we, as Biblical Christians, be able to walk the fine line of supporting our elected leaders who promote an exclusively human set of evolving moral standards? 

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. – Acts 5:29

As Christians, we may be understandably sensitive to the implications of terms such as Christian Nationalism or those who erroneously suggest we have the power to establish a Christian Theocracy. However, the vacuum created by excluding those Christians willing to step up in government leadership could only be described as a country experiencing…

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers… you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

AuthorJeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org

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