Are Christian Nationalists The Same As Christians Invested In Their Nation?

Most of the literature on Christian nationalism is written by activists and journalists who clearly have axes to grind. The concept is ill-defined, often amounting to little more than the idea that Christians are bringing their faith into the public square to advocate for positions disfavored by the authors. Thus, the literature usually portrays Christians fighting to end abortion or defend religious liberty as Christian nationalists, but understands Christians motivated by their faith to pursue civil rights legislation as laudable political activists. Read More»
Mark David Hall | “Christian Nationalism: An Existential Threat?” | September 8, 2022

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11 comments

  1. Hi, thank you for that link, CN has puzzled me. I ran in to some people saying they are Christian Imperialists, I was rather puzzled by those loaded use of words, Do you have information or a link to an explanation of this?
    Thanks,
    Alan

  2. Agreed. I take my discussion of nationalism from Johann Herder onwards. Few of the leftist critics have any clue what Herder is talking about. My take on nationalism is simple: I don’t want to be ruled by China or the UN. On the other hand, I am not claiming America is the greatest country of all time. It might be, but I have no way to really know that.

  3. The more I think about it, I do think framing our arguments from a natural law perspective is effective, not as a tactic, but as an extension of who we are in a pluralistic society. The part of natural law that I’ve personally overlooked is the reality of what is natural, hence good. We are defective but that is not a license to abhor and embrace what is natural and good (until we can be wholly restored). Looking at distinctions and commonalities of 2K has been helpful for clarity.

  4. Wonder if this book, which utilizes Whitehead and Perry’s book for data, notes that based on their own survey results, Whitehead and Perry found that 67% of Black Protestants, 52% of mainline Protestants, 21% of Jews, and 13% of no religious affiliation also were found to be “Christian Nationalists”?

    Not to mention politically 38% of Democrats and 42% of Independents were also, according to their survey, “Christian Nationalists”, and by ethnicity, black Americans were slightly more supportive of it than white Americans.

    But these spate of books seem to focus solely on white evangelical conservatives. I would wager this author leaves that information out.

    Whatever that survey is measuring, it isn’t “Christian Nationalism”, whatever that is.

  5. I believe that no credence should be given to the suggestion that Christian Nationalism is a concern. Those who cry out, “Christian Nationalism!”, may as well be ranting about international Jewry or some other inflammatory nonsense. I don’t doubt the author of those piece is sincere, but he treads close to being a useful dupe for the leftist agenda. Do not allow the conversation to be altered by those who lie about Americans who want nothing more than decency and social order to be maintained.

  6. Three notes

    1
    I read Hall to be mostly speaking against Miller and White/Perry’s ideas about Christian Nationalism, so I was surprised when he ended the review by saying that the book offered a reasonable critique from an insider’s perspective.

    2
    When Christian Nationalism came on to my radar, it was indistinguishable to me from the Social Justice we’d been teaching. Although it sometimes seemed to be a backlash against Social Justice, it seemed to function in the same two ways: either as a positive exhortation for the church to keep the law in a public/state sphere, or as a sort of partisan slur to say that it binds conscience to mandate the moral law in a public/state sphere. In general, the Social Justice language emphasized mercy ministry and missions, while the Christian Nationalism language emphasized holiness. But both seemed to be new ways of dealing with the God/Country break of the New Testament.

    Hall says “At its worst, Christian nationalism improperly conflates God and country,” but it’s too broad to be helpful to me. Is the Christian being taught too much reverence for his country, resulting in idolatry? Or is there wrong teaching of authority, like saying the church should wield the power of the sword? Or its converse: the state should hold the keys to the kingdom? There are so many different ways to conflate the two spheres. I wish Hall had ended with a link an article about the twofold kingdoms as a historic Biblical rubric to help sort this out.

    3
    When I see a claim that 81 percent of white evangelicals are motived by status anxiety, I do not refer to the twofold kingdom theology. Instead, I do a do a genial critique by assessing the genre and filter it as propaganda because of its fictional perspective: third party omniscience.
    Theology might teach that 100% of people are motivated by status anxiety – and should be (Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 14:27); but teaching a relationship between skin color and fear appears speculative. It’s just a social theory.

    I second Eric’s recommendation of Shenvi’s work.

  7. In my neck-of-the-woods, Christian nationalism seems to be taking shape as a civil religion characterized as a quasi-Christian-reconstructionist Trump-cult complete with baptisms.

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