Theologian: Claim that ‘Christ is King’ violates Ten Commandments is a ‘curious complaint’

Debate over Christian declaration erupts after Daily Wire links phrase to 'antisemitic crowd'

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Is the phrase "Christ is King," a name which is not only bestowed on Jesus in the Scriptures but is also part of the name of countless American churches, hospitals and other institutions, "antisemitic"?

The debate kicked off last week as the phrase “Christ is King” began trending on X ahead of Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week for Christians worldwide. Two leading figures at the conservative news site The Daily Wire criticized how the phrase was being used in the run-up to Holy Week.

Andrew Klavan, a podcast host at The Daily Wire — which parted ways with host Candace Owens following months of disagreements between her and Ben Shapiro and a controversial interview with a rabbi and her re-tweeting posts on social media that many deemed antisemitic — said the phrase “Christ is King” is being used as an antisemitic attack.

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Klavan, who identifies as a Christian, added that while he believes Christ is King and Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior, the phrase is being misused by an “antisemitic crowd” who are misquoting Scripture. He doesn't disagree with its substance — only its intent.

“Christ is the King,” said Klavan in a March 22 segment. “And one day every knee will bow to recognize that He’s not just my King, but the King of the universe."

“But when you use that phrase to mean God has abandoned His chosen people, the Jews, through whom He came into this world incarnate and that He's broken His promises, His covenant with the Jews, you are quoting Scripture like Satan does in the Bible. You are quoting Scripture to your purposes, and that to me is specifically wicked.”

Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing appeared to stand with Klavan on his views, adding that he believes saying “Christ is King” could actually be seen as a violation of one of the Ten Commandments.

Darrell L. Bock, the executive director of Cultural Engagement and senior research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas, told CP he doesn't consider Boreing’s claim equating “Christ is King” with taking the Lord’s name in vain to be theologically credible.

“This is a curious complaint,” Bock told CP via email Tuesday. “Christ means King as the Messiah (which is what Christ means, “anointed one”) is king of God’s kingdom. 

“It may be redundant, but that is because many people think Christ is a name and not the title that it is.”

Boreing tweeted, “Additionally, saying ‘Christ is King’ for an evil purpose — like using it as a weapon to express your hatred or disdain for the Jews — is a grave sin. It plainly violates the Third Commandment ‘Thou shall not carry forth the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.’” 

Bock rejected Boreing’s application of the Commandant to the phrase, adding that it simply is “acknowledging who Christ is and what He is called to do with divine sanction.”

When asked whether followers of Christ might be sinning by declaring “Christ is King” — as several Christian influencers have alleged — Bock said, “Not at all.”

“They are recognizing Jesus is Lord and Christ (i.e. king),” he added, citing Acts 2:36, which reads: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

In addition to being the traditional namesake of a Catholic feast as well as the names of various denominational churches, hospitals, and other institutions across the country, both the title and notion of Christ the King appears throughout the Bible.

The phrase appears in the Gospel of Mark by the “chief priests” and “scribes who mocked” Jesus: “So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.’” (Mark 15:31-32)

Pointing to a rise in the “hatred of Jews,” Klavan rejected the notion that the Jewish religion “is based on rejecting Christ.”

“That’s crap,” he said. “The Jews were around for a long time before they were prepared to bring Christ into the world. That is not what defines the Jewish religion.”

Comparing The Daily Wire's decision to sever its ties with Owens with being “just the same as if someone supported abortion,” Klavan also tied the phrase “Christ is King” to Owens’ departure.

“No matter what they call us, and they’re going to call us everything,” he explained, “if Candace wants to say those things about the Jews, about Hitler, no matter how much she dodges and weaves, she has to leave The Daily Wire.

“She has to leave for one reason above every other. There are lots of reasons, but the one reason above every other is because Christ is King.”

After comparing the phrase to saying “Eat some cornbread” — which, Boreing said, could be seen as racist if he said it to “black commentators I don’t like” — he argued the phrase “Christ is King” “may be antisemitic in connotation while not in denotation when it's being used to express antisemitism.”

Boreing, who also identifies as a Christian and the “lower-case god king” of The Daily Wire, argued that wrongly using the phrase “Christ is King” could be a “grave sin.”

Boreing later clarified that while he has no problem specifically with the phrase, it all depends on what is meant by saying it: “Christ is King, as I said in my post. Say it loud, say it proud — if what you mean is that Jesus Christ is King. If you have other motives — if you are trying to express your hate or disdain for someone, or promote yourself or your gang, or justify some evil — try not taking the Lord’s Name in vain instead.”

Last Friday, Boreing announced Owens was no longer with DW. 

“Daily Wire and Candace Owens have ended their relationship,” Boreing tweeted on March 22.

That announcement set off a wave of backlash against the conservative outlet, which was founded in 2015 by political commentator Ben Shapiro, an orthodox Jew, and Boreing, a film director.

Owens herself responded to the controversy by tweeting, “The reason why some people believe that with enough insistence they can convince American Christians that the basic truth, ‘Christ is King’ is actually antisemitic, is because they have been successfully spiking the ball on Christianity for the past 60 years. 

“Inch by inch, by pretending to be our friends and making us fearful of having the media project us as overzealous is how they have scored so many wins.”

Ironically, Owens was criticized for using the same phrase last November during a public spat with Shapiro, when she proclaimed “Christ is King” after Shapiro called her response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel “disgraceful.”

Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post and the author of BACKWARDS DAD: a children's book for grownups. He can be reached at:

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