Christian Nationalism

By this sign, Conquer!

Something was in the air this week as we got hit by Christian Nationalism from multiple fronts:

The Gottesdiesnt Crowd: TGC 232 — Christian Nationalism

Stone Choir: Christian Nationalism Is Submission to God

Issues Etc.: 3054. Christian Nationalism – Andrew Walker, 11/1/22

Dr. Jordan Cooper What is the Deal with Christian Nationalism?

and Matthew Cochran caught it a week in advance, 14 Points of Christian Nationalism – A Draft

Your humble host received TGC and Stone Choir with great joy and mustered his way through Issues and Cooper. Receive the fruit of my labors. 

The Gottesdienst Crowd 

Rev. Braaten with Rev. Ramirez

Nationalism is a natural extension of kith and kin. It's Godly.

One of the big points Ramirez made is we need to speak clearly between the 19th century definition of Nationalism and the word as we use it today. In the 19th century it was simply flipping the switch from monarchism to popular vote. By hijacking "love of country" they were able to achieve the same means as the monarchists but with popular assent. The French revolution was nationalist. 19th century nationalism paves the way to globalism.

Nationalism today is a counterpoint globalism and focused on local.

Christian Nationalism is a leftwing smear, and many otherwise conservative Christians use it as a smear as well. They don't speak clearly, conflating Christendom with theocracy (Jordan Cooper makes this error). Will often lump the typical liberal labels of nazi or racist, simply carrying water for the left.

There is no such thing as secular government. You either have Christian influence or you have paganism/Satanism influence. No one is trying to recreate ancient Israel's theocracy. Even at that - there were checks and balances in Israel between the king, prophets, Urim and Thummim, etc. It's a silly argument.

The Enlightenment replaced God with human reason. Reason is the civic religion. You will always have "religion" in government. Blasphemy laws become hate speech laws. Desecrating a church becomes January 6. 

Some great discussion on Constantine.  Constantine wasn't a boogeyman until the anabaptists. Luther spoke positively of Constantine whenever he discussed him. Luther supposed Christendom, including blasphemy laws. Luther spoke clearly of a distinction, not separation, of church and state. The ruler has a duty before God to support and defend truth, which includes religious truth. Blasphemy laws exist from Constantine to today. Anabaptists were not allowed to preach in Lutheran Saxony! And nowadays we're taking our views from them. 

In America, separation of church and state at the federal level wasn't toleration of non-Christian religion it was tension between states who, effectively, had their own state churches - Anglican, Puritan, Presbyterian, etc. America was founded as a union of protestant Christian states with their own state churches. It was only on the federal level that separation took place. Individual states effectively had state churches - Anglican, Puritan, Presbyterian, etc. It was the Anabaptists who didn't have a state church who wanted hard separation!  Abuse of commerce clause and going from federalism to 19th century flavored nationalism is what very recently caused the shift.

Since it was the (now) Baptists pushing for a hard separation, it doesn't make sense why so many modern Lutherans want to carry water for them? Lutherans have become a "two kingdoms robot" when they view history through the anabaptist lense. Roe v wade is a litmus test for Lutherans.

Those who didn't want to celebrate God's blessing on America in reinforcing the sanctity of life in the womb have an intellectualizing kind of faith and that's loser mentality. The theology of the cross doesn't say being a loser is a virtue. It doesn't make cowardice a virtue. The theology of the cross is that you have a King who suffered and died for you.

It's pretty simple: Satan wants Satanism, Pagans want Paganism, Christians want Christianity... 

Fathers: start by building Christendom in your home.

Stone Choir

Corey and Woe

God desires Christian nations. The existence and prominence of Biblical genealogies show importance and the godliness of lineage. Especially pertaining to the lineage of Christ, but not only. 

Only in the Enlightenment do we conflate the words 'nation' and 'country'.  Our founders and anyone prior were under no such confusion. Country is geography, nation is posterity. The word 'posterity' as used by the founders in the preamble is not simply the people that would inhabit a geography thereafter but those born of them - a racial link. The fourth commandment refers not only to our parents but to our ancestors - a racial link. 

Historically speaking nations follow their leaders religiously - when a King converted, his followers did if only by action. But in the baptizing and rearing of their children, even if the parents were only acting the part the children were inculcated and brought into the faith. This is the story of the Christianization of Europe. Christian nationalism is likely why you are a Christian. 

What does a Christian nations look like? Christian government has positive obligations to God to prevent that which is evil and heretical - Islam, Jehovah's Witness, Christian science, etc. Our current government openly tolerates sin - abortion, transgenderism, gay and lesbian 'marriage', child sex changes. 

Two common objections exist. The first is the potential for abuse. But abuse of a good gift is not a reason to avoid a good gift. Secondly, the 'wrong' flavor of Christian might be in charge. This is a confusion - the Church continues its responsible for soteriology, and the Church does not drive the state. They are two distinct (not separate) kingdoms. Christ's left hand is the state, His right hand is the Church. Among Christendom we have similar societal concerns - abortion, transgenderism, child sex changes, etc. Christ's left hand handles those things. His right hand handles Word and Sacrament ministry. Ultimately we are Christians every day of the week and not just Sunday. Enlightenment era Christians tend to compartmentalize their faith. 

A good point was raised regarding the Epistle of James - it should be read in the context of "You're a Christian. Now what?"

Corey lead-out with a succinct definition of Christian Nationalism that covers the thrust of the conversation: "In the right-hand kingdom, our head ultimately is Christ. So of course our head is Christian, being Christ himself. All Christian Nationalism is, is a desire to have a Christian head in the left-hand kingdom. If you are a child, you want your father to be Christian. If you are a wife, you want your husband to be Christian. If you are a citizen, you want your king to be Christian. And that is what we mean by Christian Nationalism."

Issues Etc

Todd Wilken talking with Dr. Andrew Walker from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Kind of wide ranging as these episodes seem to be. General comments about the polarizing nature of the term, hard to take a mediating position. Critics either see it in the form of America having a unique covenant with God, or the inability to be American if you aren't Christian, and it's the government's job to reinforce this. 

One of the issues of Christian Nationalism would be in sacralizing culture, that participation in the culture feels but is not salvific.

The best point Dr. Walker made is regarding quietism. Christians don't have to accept a marginalized / quietized status. Accepting a quietist stand neglects the neighbor, a form of political gnosticism. 

Dr. Jordan Cooper

Cooper's main concerns is that the rise in talk of Christian Nationalism comes because of a strong tie between charismatic leaders and Donald Trump. Charismatics are "not part of the Christian church I want to bring attention to" Links to QAnon, etc. He sees the problem in that whatever flavor of Christianity "rules" will get imposed on others, he sees it as an "all-or-nothing" and leading to a state church, where the State would dictate theological stances. 

While he's correct to note liberal commentators use Christian Nationalism as an elastic term to denounce "anything right of me", TGC / Stone Choir provide more nuanced arguments.