E024 - Should Christians Embrace Christian Nationalism? - Transcript

The Gospel Of Everything Podcast

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Listen to the episode here:  https://gospelofeverything.com/podcast/should-christians-embrace-christian-nationalism/

Welcome to the Gospel of everything podcast, where we consider everything in the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am your host, Jon Davis. On this show, we do not obsess over the end of the world, but rather we are looking to see the glory of God show up in every area of our lives. We are not waiting to go down in glorious defeat. We are expecting to win. Welcome, listener, to the gospel of everything podcast. This is Jon Davis, your host and talker in chief, and after a significant time gap, I am glad to be back talking with you today. This podcast is where you and I together consider all of life in the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I hope to inspire, connect with, and mobilize you, my fellow victorious kingdom ambassador. What is a victorious kingdom ambassador? A victorious kingdom ambassador is someone who is not looking obsessively for the end of the world, but rather is looking to bring God's kingdom more and more into the world, both now and in eternity. A victorious kingdom ambassador is someone who is not looking to change the world by humanistic, man made ideas, but rather by embracing God's revelation and everything that flows out of that. A victorious kingdom ambassador is someone who is not looking to be saved by another political government scheme, but rather looking to be saved by Jesus and then expecting to live out Jesus in every area of life. Please take a moment to pause and subscribe to this podcast in your favorite app before moving on to make sure that you never miss an episode. So today I want to talk to you about christian nationalism. I've been thinking about this for quite a while, trying to figure out how to get started. I have a pile of notes here, several different kind of false starts at creating notes, because I have lots of thoughts on this topic.

But my goal, my motive, is to equip you to discern what is going on around you. What are people talking about? Why is christian nationalism in the public discussion and debate nowadays? What is going on there? And should you be a christian nationalist? Am I a christian nationalist? Should Christians be christian nationalists? Or is christian nationalism some kind of an evil thing that we should flee from? If you listen to the voices out there in the world, you will find christian voices on both sides of that discussion, and you will find people talking about christian nationalism like there's a scary christian nationalist conspiracy that's trying to take over America by violence. So is that what's going on here? Well, let me say, first of all, I first observed or noticed the phrase christian nationalism, at least in my memory. Where I remember it was a number of years ago, I heard of a book. There was a lady talking about it, and I heard of a book. And to be honest with you, I didn't think too much of it. It just sounded like someone trying to discredit Christians speaking into the public square. But I spent some time, if you're one of my friends on Facebook, you've probably noticed that I was poking around, trying to figure out, does anyone know where this current fad of christian nationalism has come from? Why is everyone talking about it now? I don't know about you, but I'm in my fifty s, and I don't remember hearing that phrase much in my youth.

I remember hearing a lot about America being a christian nation. So is that christian nationalism? But I never remember anyone saying, we need to promote christian nationalism or we need to get away from christian nationalism. It's come from somewhere. It's a trend for a reason. So after poking around and doing some searching and googling and searching my library, I have a book in my hand. It's called Kingdom coming the Rise of christian nationalism by Michelle Goldberg. It was written, I think it was published in 2006. I haven't read it yet.

I got it from my local library, and I'm going to read it. So that's why I will say this might be the first of a number of episodes about christian nationalism, because maybe I'll learn something or change my perspective. But I actually wanted to record for you what I was thinking. Now before I read all these books. I also have Stephen Wolf's book. I think it's called the case for christian nationalism. I have another one by, I literally can't remember the names of the authors or the title, but it's a couple of guys who call themselves christian nationalists. So I'm going to keep reading on this and just make sure I'm discerning the times properly.

But in the meantime, let's you and I talk about this. All right, here's my perception so far, and this is from observing the phrase for a number of years and seeing how people are using it and how it comes up in discussion and how it is coming out in the public discourse. And this is my theory as of today, it is March of 2024. Right now, when I'm recording this, my perception is that the phrase christian nationalism is primarily a pejorative. It's an attempt to discredit Christianity in the public square. It's an attempt to keep it out of the public square. I think you have probably figured out by now that if you want to hover around in the shadows and be nice to people with the hope that some of those people you are being nice to will grace the presence of the Lord with their presence. That kind of Christianity is mostly acceptable.

But if you come out into the public square and say, christianity, Jesus. When I say Christianity, I mean the kingdom of Jesus, Jesus kingdom applies to enter any public element of society that's not as acceptable. You might find people don't like that. As long as you keep your Christianity to yourself and maybe just be nice to a few people to try and persuade them to be Christians, too, you're going to be all right. But if you go out into the public square, you're dangerous. You're a threat. So I think this is just a perception. Maybe I'll change my mind.

Maybe you can change my mind. I don't know. But I think christian nationalism is primarily a phrase used to scare you. If you are lean in one direction. It is a phrase used to scare you away from any sort of Christianity and public life. Like, if you were to say, but the Bible says when talking about politics and government, oh, no, not that you're a christian nationalist. To scare people away from anyone who talks like that, and for anyone who would talk like that, I think it's trying to scare you into the corners, scare you into silence, scare you into disappearing into the shadows. That's my perception.

And it's not a perception based on nothing. It's a perception based on conversations and observation over time. But like I said, as I continue to read these books, maybe I'll change my mind, but I doubt it. Now, my observation also is that Christians are responding to this in a number of different ways, two of them being primary. One, some people are falling all over themselves to distance themselves from this idea of christian nationalism. It's like, don't get that word on me. They're running away. Don't call me that.

That's bad. They're really making an effort to denounce it, like they don't want to be contaminated by it. And then there's another group of people who are embracing it, saying, here, we're going to accept this label. So what should you do? Well, depends a little bit on what christian nationalism is, but just some thoughts on words that have been pejoratives in time, like Puritan. I believe Puritan was once like an insult in an attempt to insult people, and now they're like a great historical group of influencers that helped build the United States. So which way is history going to go in 150 years? From now, will the christian nationalists be looked at as these are the people that finally brought revival to America and brought change in our society, or will they be looked at as something else? Or will the phrase know go out of public use? I don't just, I just saw a tweet. Do you call them, what do you call those now? X's, whatever they are? X, formerly known as Twitter. I saw a tweet of someone claiming that Joe Biden and the Democrat party are going to try and use christian nationalism in the upcoming election to kind of scare people.

I have no idea if that's true. It's just a tweet. Might be false, but that would definitely. If they did, we'll know soon, won't we? If they did, that will definitely put that out more into the public square. But I think I got distracted. I was talking about the different kinds of responses people have, but which way is history going to go? Should you call yourself a christian nationalist or not? I want to say at least right now at this point, I can't give you a clear answer on that because I don't believe the phrase is defined very well. I believe it's a phrase primarily designed to scare you in one way or the other. But what exactly is it? Now when you hear the word nationalism, I think a lot of people see people with their arms raised in the, you know, chanting Heil Hitler and proceeding to invade and destroy the world and kill millions of people.

So nationalism, this horrible, evil word, I think nationalism is more negative. It has a negative connotation at least some of the time. But what is it? What is christian nationalism? Well, for starters, what is nationalism? What exactly is nationalism? Well, I don't even find that phrase has a clear definition. I'm not saying you can't go online and look up a definition. I found a couple when I looked online, I didn't write them down, so I'll have to share them from memory or what I remember about them. But nationalism can be like the preference for your own nation over other nations, like a competitive thing. My nation, our nation, not your nation. One of the definitions kind of leaned that way.

Another definition that I saw was, it's just in contrast to internationalism or globalism. So it's the idea of national sovereignty. Now, I remember reading a book years ago that was talking about the founders of the United States as nationalists. One side was nationalists and the others wanted to keep the states more in, you know, relative to. Could you be a relative nationalist? Like, for example, if I have to choose between a global tyranny and my own nation governing itself, well, I would choose my own nation governing itself, wouldn't you? Wouldn't most people? Now, however, if you were to say, like, do I want more government to be happening locally where I live, or do I want more government to be happening on the national level, well, I'm going to say let's shift it more towards the states. Let's shift it more local for the reasons that I may discuss in other episodes. So in that case, maybe I'm not a nationalist now. I'm certainly not a nationalist in the sense that I think, screw all other nations, just mine.

Just ours. I've read a lot of Vishal Mangalwadi's content lately. I recommend him as an author for you. He'll turn your brain upside down. But he made me think because he talks about how european nations came out of biblical Christianity in Europe in response to empire. So it's like national as opposed to empire. So is nationalism my nation? Yes. Your nation, no.

Is nationalism governing locally in nations instead of kind of an imperial ambition? Is it something else? Well, I don't think it's very defined in the culture yet, but it's scary. So what should you do? Should you embrace christian nationalism, both the idea and or the phrase? So this is what I want to say to you. As far as whether you should embrace the label christian nationalism, I can't tell you. The jury is still out. To me, that's strategic. That could be just a matter of conscience. Because sometimes the devil wants to define words, and if we can define them, we'll do great good in society. But whether or not I want to be called a christian nationalist depends on what it is.

So if I'm expected to raise my arm and salute and chant, see Kyle, and try and dominate the other nations with military might, et cetera, no, I don't want to be a nationalist if it means christianizing nations. I forgot to mention that definition. I heard one person, at least two, I think, talk about christian nationalism just means to christianize nations. Make them Christian. If you want to hear my thoughts about christianizing nations, look up my two episodes on. I can't remember what they're called. I think it's called should America be a christian nation or is America a christian nation? Parts one and two. So search through the episodes and look for those, and you'll hear my thoughts on whether a nation can be christian, whether a nation should be christian.

But in summary, yes, I think we should christianize all nations. We should christianize everything. I recently had someone take issue with the phrase Christianize, and I understand. I kind of get why someone might object to that phrase. But what I mean by Christianize is to bring it under the lordship of Christ. So do we want our nation to be under the lordship of Christ? Absolutely I do. Obviously, someone who does not want Jesus to be Lord in their life is not going to want Jesus to be lord of the nation, but he is. It's only a matter of acknowledging it.

Jesus is the king of all nations right now. There is no escaping that. So I'm going to wait to decide whether I want to be called a christian nationalist right now. It's not really a label I prefer or have preferred. It's not important to me. But you know what? I'm not going to do, and I don't recommend you do it either. I'm not going to throw everyone who does use that phrase under the bus and distance myself. I think sometimes as Christians we do that.

It's like we're trying to please the world. We're trying to be acceptable to the world. So that's probably a whole episode right there, but probably some of my episodes have covered that already. But don't spend your life trying to please the world. Don't distance yourself from christian nationalism or christian nationalists out of the fear of man to kind of prove, oh, I'm not one of those kind of Christians. Get rid of that thinking from your life. Get it out of your mind. Erase it from your life.

So hopefully those thoughts will help you out as you hear christian nationalism and the upcoming events in our nation, keep your eyes out to see if people try and use it as a political weapon against Christians and Christianity in the public square. I'm expecting that to happen, but if it doesn't, great. Keep your mind sharp. Stay discerning. So thank you for taking the time to listen to this episode. I'm sure I'll have more to say about that later. I hope these thoughts make you think, and I hope they give you hope, and I hope they inspire you. And I appreciate so much you taking the time to listen to this episode.

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Listen to the episode here:  https://gospelofeverything.com/podcast/should-christians-embrace-christian-nationalism/