The chorus of Christian voices condemning Christian Nationalism has shown an unusual harmony across various denominational and theological commitments over the last few months. That chorus has reached a crescendo since the events of January 6, 2021.
Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, Relevant Magazine, and America Magazine: A Jesuit Review have all run articles critical of Christian Nationalism over the last few months. This unified Christian voice is strikingly harmonious with the secular voice of news institutions such as USA Today, New York Times, Associated Press, and NBC News all of which have run stories critical of Christian Nationalism within the last week.
However, this perspective is not universal among Christian institutions, writers, and public intellectuals. Darrell Dow writes for Cross Politic in support of Christian Nationalism.
The Jericho March, an ongoing series of public prayer vigils, is an admittedly odd ecumenical assemblage of Catholics, Jews and Protestants, media celebrities such as Alex Jones, and public figures like Michele Bachmann and General Michael Flynn. These small gatherings of religious believers undoubtedly contain some bizarre theology and strained ecumenism alongside dubious claims of private divine revelation. But in the grand scheme of things they are small and relatively inconsequential events.
Nevertheless, the marches have drawn the ire of Christian clergymen and public intellectuals not primarily due to the theological commitments of organizers but because of a connection with the #StopTheSteal effort and the charge that the election was pilfered. Christians seeking to salt the ground in light of Trump’s defeat and vanquish any vestiges of nationalism are working feverishly to undermine the nationalist movement by tying it to odd and extraneous elements in American life rather than the legitimate grievances of Middle America. Horton and his comrades in the Big Eva chorus seem blissfully unaware that we are living through an elite attempt to fully de-Christianize the West.
One can barely conceive of Western Civilization without reference to Christian nations and magistrates adopting a fundamental principle that social order and law are predicated on a belief in God (i.e., Christendom). Horton dismisses Christendom as coercive and incompatible with the Gospel, siding with the Anabaptists rather than Knox, Zwingli, Calvin, and Luther. Horton also assumes that he can deconstruct Christian politics from an apolitical stance. But his arguments have a political impact, leaving the door open to a takeover of the state by anti-Christian forces that use state power to enforce their own set of smelly orthodoxies.
TGC followed up with an even more egregious analysis by Baylor historian Thomas Kidd. Kidd describes nations as “imagined communities” rather than organic, natural, God-created entities. Because he fails to define nationalism, Kidd is unable to explain why it is “bad” and opts instead to offer the unsubstantiated assertion that, “America has long nurtured more problematic forms of Christian nationalism.” He also conflates nationalism with dispensational eschatology and militaristic action designed to bring heaven to earth. Kidd is under the illusion that he is describing Donald Trump and Pat Buchanan. In truth, he paints a picture of George W. Bush and Bill Kristol.
Is “nationalism” an object of idolatry as Horton, Kidd and others claim? Or are nationality and ethnicity an integral part of God’s economy and our piety? In what follows, I will attempt to defend the latter view, sketching a brief apologetic and defense of nationalism based on a theological reading of scripture.
Read the full article here.