What is “Christian nationalism?” And why is it bad? Christian nationalism isn’t a new thing in the history of the world. It is an ideology and mindset that has existed in one form or another since the days of Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great. But it has recently made a strong resurgence in America over the last few decades, and has become all the more prominent under the presidency of Donald Trump.
In today’s podcast, I sit down with my guest Mike Schwiebert to discuss the issue of Christian nationalism in America. We talk about this topic ultimately in light of the recent “Jericho March” rally that took place in Washington, DC a couple weeks ago.
At this march, tens of thousands of Christians marched on Washington, alluding to the Biblical narrative about how the Israelites marched around Jericho for 7 days before conquering the city. During the Jericho March on Washington, many prominent conservative Christian voices spoke at length about the need to take the country back for God and to prevent demonic forces from stealing the election from God’s anointed President, Donald Trump.
The march featured conservative Christian voices and personalities such as Eric Metaxas, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, the “My Pillow” CEO Mike Lindell, Roman Catholic Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Jonathan Cahn, Cindy Jacobs, and many others.
Mike and I talk in length about the problematic lense that Christian nationalism in America operates through, and how it ultimately manifest itself. We also discuss the dangers it poses to the church at large, and the implications that it has in our witness for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Talking Points From Today’s Podcast
- Beth Moore recently tweeted “I do not believe these are days for mincing words. I’m 63 1/2 years old & I have never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it.”
- In response to this, Dr. James White responded “OK, just what is this new phrase, “Christian nationalism” all of a sudden?”
- So which is it? Is Christian nationalism one of the greatest dangerous to the church? Or is it something that doesn’t even exist? In today’s podcast, I am sitting down with Mike Schwiebert to discuss the issue of Christian nationalism.
- This discussion has been brought to the forefront because of the recent demonstration in Washington DC in which there was a “Jericho march” where a large group of Christians got together to attempt to manufacture a miracle on behalf of Donald Trump for the election.
- Rod Dreher response to Jericho March: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/what-i-saw-at-the-jericho-march/
- Christian nationalism rises above mere patriotism. Nationalism is the belief that one’s country is superior to most, if not all other countries.
- Christian Nationalism is the belief that God has called Christians to create a Christian Nation.
- Christian nationalism is a sense of identity that one’s nation has been chosen by God for a special unique purpose, and that Christians must support certain political actors, policies, and parties in order to carry out those divine purposes. Otherwise, one might find themselves opposed to God’s ultimate agenda, and will be unable to keep back the dark Satanic forces that want to take the country (and the world) over. Thus we have to “fight for the soul of America” and “turn our nation back to God.”
- This goes beyond simply living in a society where one tries to persuade others of certain policies based on certain values, or to simply evangelize your neighbors on the teachings of Jesus and its implications for broader society.
- Christian nationalism is built on the idea that America is a “Christian nation.” As manifested in America, Christian nationalism sees the founding of our nation as being overtly based on”Judeo Christian Values,” with the founding fathers largely being devoted Christians, instead of Deists full of Enlightenment values, mixed with some Christian perspectives and ideas. You largely hear ideas like this propagated by the likes of David Barton.
- In all fairness to guys like David Barton (though there is much room for criticism), you do see things like this among some of the early American settlers. This is seen very early in American history. The Massachusetts Bay Colony believed God had raised them up to be a “shining city on a hill” that would serve as an example to England and other nations how a Christian society could be organized.
- Since the days that experiment (and others like it) collapsed, you’ve probably heard regular calls for Americans to “turn back to God.” Much of the preaching of the “Great Awakenings” in the 18th and 19th centuries was infused with this thought.
- Thought which has continued to exist in mostly conservative circles, especially circles that have historical connections with the great historical Christian “revivals” seen in America. Dispensationalist thought, in which the nation of Israel is seen as having divine purposes for the last days and Bible prophecy, is seen as very important among Christian nationalist thinking in America. God blesses those who bless Israel, so if America wants to live in prosperity, America has to support the nation of Israel in everything she does. This has been pretty standard teaching by guys like Jack Van Impe, John Hagee, Rod Parsley, and pretty much a lot of the more famous TV preachers on networks like TBN. Such teaching is not questioned by many in fundamentalist Christian and Pentecostal type churches. That’s not to say all hold such views. They don’t. But you’ll find them pretty commonly accepted by many sincere Christians.
- This is a question of Bible interpretation. When we approach the Bible from a skewed lens, we end up in a skewed place. This is about how Christians read and understand the Bible.
- Christian nationalism attempts to force a marriage between the church and the state.
- Christian Nationalism is both anti-America and anti-Christian.
- In some circles today it is popular to talk about exercising “dominion” over spheres of culture and society, where the church dominates or leads.
- This phenomenon isn’t uniquely it’s American. It’s existed elsewhere. Historically it goes back to the conversion of Rome to Christianity. I think you definitely see it in the Edict of Milan and the official acceptance of Christianity by Rome under Constantine.
- We see it in the establishment of “The Holy Roman Empire,” which eventually crumbled. But even though it crumbled, it still found root in England, Germany, Greece, Russia, and any other nation that deemed itself officially a “Christian nation.” Chiefly, it seems to be thriving in America, and has flourished under Donald Trump.
- What exists in America then, is simply the fruit of the complex history of the world as Christianity seeks to live out the life and mission that Christ called it to.
- What connection does Christian nationalism have with racism in America?
- Christian nationalism is really white-christian nationalism. Book recommendation: The Color of Compromise Jemar Tisby
- How do we rid ourselves of this heresy? I believe we need a new sense of identity, and an understanding of our place in this world and how we relate to it.
- 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
- Joshua 5:13, 14 “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”
- Acts 10:34, 35 “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”
- Philippians 3:20 “our citizenship is in heaven.”
- A proper understanding of the Kingdom of God is the antidote.
About Today’s Podcast Guest: Mike Schwiebert
Mike has been married 31 years to his wife Rose, and they have a daughter named Ashley. Mike grew up a pastors kid, and has had a life-long love affair with the church and God’s people. He has served in vocational ministry for the past 30 years. He’s currently the Creative Director of Grace Covenant Church, in the Lake Norman area, just north of Charlotte, North Carolina. Grace Covenant is one of the largest Four Square Pentecostal churches in the country. He has a blog at TechnicallyThinking.org, which is about the intersection of church with technology. He enjoys cooking, has strong feelings about Texas style barbecue, and enjoys hiking and tech related stuff.
Mike can be reached on Twitter @mikeschwiebert