Strange Versus Wilson’s Christian Nationalism

Thus, probably most appealing to many inclined in this direction is the approach of Douglas Wilson, who approves of Christian Nationalism in his latest book, Mere Christendom (83–92), and who argues using a sort of theonomic/Christian reconstructionist hermeneutic. Wilson asserts in his book that “theocracy” is inevitable. He regards the standard that governs a society as its functional sacred writ; since every society is governed by some such standard, he argues, every society is a theocracy of some sort.

Wilson wants the Bible, which actually is sacred writ, to be that standard, for our, and every, society. Wilson expects all, not just the church, to adhere to God’s Word, with the civil magistrate enforcing both tables of the law. While all persons everywhere are indeed called to bow the knee to Jesus Christ, in this era, only God’s people will ever do that. If people are forced to submit to the whole of God’s law on some basis other than a renewed will, it will have to be coercive, especially in our current culture.

In this world, as Richard Gaffin notes in his seminal piece (“Theonomy and Eschatology”), the righteous will continue to suffer and there is no future golden age before the return of Christ. Wilson, however, calls for “mere Christendom” now, presumably one shorn of the undesirable execresences of earlier Christendom(s). Requiring the whole of a pluralistic society like ours, much of which is antithetical to God and His Word, to submit to God’s Word, however, highlights the problem. Historian Mark Noll notes in his recent masterwork on the Bible in this country, that, though the Bible was in earlier years, “America’s Book,” we have since witnessed a precipitous plummet, what he calls the rise and decline of a Bible Civilization (1794–1911).

Wilson espouses “principled Christian conservatism” (58), with politics, seeming paramount (98–99): all the “alphabet agencies” of the bureaucracy must be eliminated (EPA, IRS, and the like), term limits and redrawn ballots required, etc. (72–73). The feel of the whole book is that heaven demands, as reflected in the Bible, a Christendom which is a theocratic libertarian’s dream (Wilson self identifies as a “theocratic libertarian,” 120) and we should all get in line with that. Earlier partisans of Christendom, however, like the Puritans in Britain and the American colonies, were not libertarians (having sumptuary laws, fair price laws, speech/publishing restrictions, prohibiting theatre/fiction, religious holidays, etc.) and did not conceive Christendom as Wilson does. . . .

Christians certainly may, and should, seek to have biblical principles, whether expressed implicitly, or explicitly (garnered through natural law, or the Bible) given societal expression. The need of the hour in our highly politicized and polarized time is for Christians, whether to preach or simply to witness (I Peter 3:15), to hold forth the hope that is found only in Christ and His gospel. We should not sound like we are promoting just one more political  program in a world, drowning in partisan politics. The last thing the world needs from us is more hopelessness of that sort. We should, by our word and deeds, testify to a King who stands the kingdoms of this world on their head, a King who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

Alan Strange | “Christian Nationalism” | The Mid-America Messenger volume 42.2 (December 2023), 9.


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  1. RE: my previous – I did some surfing around on the Web, found a link to The Mid-America Messenger, and downloaded a .pdf of the latest issue. So now I see the entire article.

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