There is a term that is frequently being used in Christian circles nowadays called ‘Christian nationalism.’ This refers to a Christian, who strongly identifies with their nation and vigorously supports its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of other nations’ interests or religious affiliation.
The reason this is so important is that it influences the way we interpret the Bible. There are two ways people attempt to understand the scriptures. One is exegesis, and the other is eisegesis. Exegesis is the process we use in reading a passage of Scripture to discover its intended meaning. In short, its goal is so we can better understand the Bible in its original historical context in hopes that we can understand it better in our modern context. Christian nationalism is not the result of exegesis, i.e., drawing out meaning from biblical texts, but is the result of eisegesis, i.e., where we read into the biblical texts. This phenomenon is not new; the apostle Paul writing to the Christians in Philippi challenged them on this very point. Paul asserts in Philippians 3:20 that ‘our citizenship is in heaven,‘ and is his most decisive argument against Christian nationalism.
Have you ever wondered why some Christians are so fanatical, unwavering, and seemingly unquestionable in their support of politicians and their causes? For instance, when Trump first ran for office, the prophetic associated him with being similar to King Cyrus, as found in Isaiah, chapter 45. Cyrus is a representative of a nonbeliever appointed by God as a vessel for the faithful. As much as we would like to say this prophetic use of Scripture is correct, it is a stretch to tie Trump together with this scriptural reference. Using chapter number ’45’ as a reference to the 45th president because it helps emphasize your own point is more wishful thinking than accurate homiletics. The religious rights fanatical belief that Trump is their man, especially after the January 6th storming of the U.S. Capitol, has put them in a dangerous position.
It is a quick route to the gallows if you are found guilty of leading an armed insurrection. That was what Pilate was trying to find out about Jesus. Was he leading an insurrection? When Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king, he was doing it on Caesar’s behalf. It was Pilate’s job to convict and put to death anyone involved in an insurrection against Caesar. That was the reason the Sanhedrin brought Jesus to stand trial before Pilate. It was the only offense that was punishable by death. When Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king, he was trying to determine if there was a reason to try and crucify Jesus. Jesus tells him, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36) When we look at the scriptures to determine the Church’s role in the world’s political affairs, the correct exegesis would be to use the above Scripture as our foundational response. My question to the Church is this. When did Jesus change his mind? Especially when it comes to what our role is in determining who the next president will be. Remember, it is impossible to lead an insurrection when “your citizenship is in heaven?”
We should encourage each other to vote our conscience, keeping in mind that our citizenship is in heaven. Our allegiance is to Jesus, not to any political party. The American Church has become enamored with politics to the point of becoming obsessed. We have more faith in the Supreme Courts’ ability to legislate morality than we have in the Church’s ability to change people’s hearts. A pastor who is teaching sound doctrine, and by that, I mean imparting the nature and character of Christ through the Holy Spirit and the scriptures, should not have to tell his congregation how they should vote. Jesus rejected political influence when He was on this Earth because that was not His chosen method to further His Kingdom. He explicitly said that His Kingdom is not an earthly one (John 18:36). When people tried to make Him their king, He escaped the crowds (John 6:15)
The Pilates of this world have the Church in their cross-hairs, watching to see if it can and is preparing to lead an armed insurrection against the current leadership. On the sixth of January, Christian Nationalists were a part of an insurrection within the walls of Congress. The next day I heard Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who grew up in East Berlin and understands what an insurrection looks like, say that watching the rioters in Washington DC, reminded her of when the German parliament building in Berlin, the ‘Reichstag’s’ was burned to the ground in an armed insurrection. It was the event historians claim ushered in the Nazi Regime.
Separating Fact From Fiction
It is so hard to tell right from wrong. I can remember when the evening news was an hour long, one half being world news the other half being local news. All of which came from three networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC. Now our information comes from 120 news organizations with 92,000 articles posted online twenty-four hours a day. Many individuals and countries fill the airwaves with so many untruths that it is impossible to tell what is real from a lie. There are so many conspiracy theories that it is difficult to tell fact from fiction. There is still one way we can get to the truth. Jesus said in (John 8:32), “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And again, in (John 18:37), Jesus says, “I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth; everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” When you listen to Jesus, you hear the truth because He is the voice of truth. You won’t get that from any other news source
The only way to impact a geographical area for ‘good’ is to get people who live in it to become citizens of the Kingdom of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The more we influence those around us into accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior, the more we will see their lives change because of the Holy Spirit, which lives inside them. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19–20) It transforms their sinful desires as they begin to glorify God. (Romans 12:1–2). The more we allow the Holy Spirit to change us, the more we become like Jesus. (Romans, 8:29). The more we embrace the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the more we see ourselves as ambassadors and citizens in the Kingdom of God.
So, what does Jesus have to say about Christian nationalism? After he died and rose again, Jesus met with his disciples and commissioned them to “go and make disciples” out of differing nationalities. Baptizing them and teaching them. (Matt 28:19-20). We must grasp this concept! Jesus was only interested in recruiting more heavenly citizens for his kingdom. He was not interested in promoting and expanding any nation’s geographical borders or taking the seven mountains of cultural influence to take dominion over all the Earth. If our citizenship is found in the Kingdom of God, geographical and cultural boundaries will disappear.
I encourage all who profess Christ to share the Good News of Jesus in word and deed. If we become enamored and influenced by Christian nationalism, it will distort how we as Christians read and understand the Bible. We will then find ourselves easily deceived by every false rumor that the ‘Prince of the air’ brings our way. One only needs to look at the current political situation to see the impact the error of Christian nationalism has resulted in. It is hard to comprehend how some evangelicals have become so unwavering and unquestionably supportive of charismatic political figures. Without a doubt, it is the result of Christian nationalism. You can honor and show respect to the office and still hold the person in the office accountable.
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