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The kingship of Christ is a historical reality, not a political prop

US conservative author Candace Owens speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2022 (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, on February 25, 2022.
US conservative author Candace Owens speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2022 (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, on February 25, 2022. | CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Bad actors are trying to weaponize Christ’s kingship by turning it into a manipulative political slogan. But “Christ is King” must only be declared as an invitation to faith and a shout of praise.

Last month, right-wing Twitter was set ablaze with the breaking news of Candace Owens’ divorce from Daily Wire. Though the specifics of who left whom remain unclear, the split seemed to be a long time coming. Owens, always a lightning rod for controversy, has been embroiled in a months-long public feud with Daily Wire host and co-founder Ben Shapiro concerning the war in Gaza. Since the start of the war, Owens has come under fire for statements that many have called “hateful” and “antisemitic.” Though the Daily Wire initially expressed support for Owens, another round of antisemitism allegations ultimately spelled doom for the increasingly tumultuous relationship. 

Although initial commentary over Owens’ departure from the Daily Wire focused on concerns about free speech and right-wing cancel culture, the conversation quickly evolved as critics called out her “abuses” of her Christian faith. In a recent episode, Daily Wire podcast host Andrew Klavan questioned Owens’s use of the phrase “Christ is King,” calling it a “wicked” use of the truth and comparing her use of Scripture to the tactics employed by Satan. The comment sparked an intense debate among conservative Christians online over whether the phrase “Christ is King” can be used as a dog whistle for antisemitism.

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Some commentators, like Allie Beth Stuckey and Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing, argued that declaring “Christ is King” can be done in furtherance of evil purposes, and recommended caution in how we as Christians invoke the name of God. Others though, like BlazeTV host Lauren Chen, argued the phrase isn’t antisemitic and is simply being used to boldly proclaim Christ’s divinity. Never one to miss out on a controversy, Owens waded into the conversation to state that no one is shouting “Christ is King” at Jews and argued further that anyone claiming “Christ is King” is antisemitic demonstrates their contempt for Christianity.

The conversation over Christ’s kingship occurred at an auspicious time: Easter season. Easter is a time for pious reflection on the humility of Christ and the power of his sacrifice. Eastertide is a reminder that Christ is indeed king and that this is indeed good news. And of course, no Christian should fear proclaiming Christ’s lordship over creation. 

Yet, some corrupt this good news for their own private ends. Undoubtedly, many proclaim Christ’s kingship for the sake of truth, but others do so to communicate cultural or political affiliation or even to taunt Jews and non-believers. But Christianity is not a costume to be donned when it suits us. It’s not a political prop, and it’s not a shield for sin.

What’s more, to imagine biblical truths cannot be subverted to further evil purposes is an exercise in biblical ignorance. The Third Commandment shows that there is no good so great that man cannot corrupt it through his wickedness. We can see such corruption playing out in the New Testament when the Roman soldiers and Jewish leaders mocked Christ’s kingship during his Passion, and when the Devil tempted Christ by twisting Scripture to suit his vicious purposes. Certainly, it would be foolish to say these insults and lies belittle the glory of Christ’s kingship or confuse the sincerity of God’s Word. However, to say they are not corruptions or misuses of the truth would be equally foolish.

Calling out the sinful abuse of the biblically true phrase “Christ is King” is not a denial of Christ’s kingship or an expression of shame for one’s faith. Rather, it is to say that when we invoke Christ’s name, we should be careful to ensure we are not doing so in vain but in worship. Any other use is to dress vice as virtue. God commands us not to take his name in vain. Implicit in that command is our need to discern the difference between a reverent declaration of praise and a vicious slander.

Certainly, as Paul says in Philippians 1, God can take Gospel truths spoken out of selfish ambition and work them toward righteous ends. Yet, does this mean we should suffer sin in gladness so that God’s grace may abound? Paul says no. God’s intercession to transform our wicked works for good does not diminish the hypocrisy of perverting God’s message, nor does it give absolution to the one who takes the Lord’s name in vain.

The faithful should not fear speaking the truth of Christ in boldness, nor should we be ashamed of our Lord or his command to call non-believers to repentance. However, we also must not misappropriate Christ’s name for our own purposes. After all, Christ said that not everyone who calls Him “Lord” will come into His kingdom, only those who do the will of His Father. If we are to confess that Christ is king, we must live as our king has commanded, conforming our image to his and showing that he is indeed the king of our own lives.

Christians should boldly and joyously proclaim “Christ is King.” Yet, this truth must be declared to give glory to God. As we contemplate the enduring power of Christ’s sacrifice, we must embrace the reality that “Christ is King” and reject profaning Christ’s name for political or sinful purposes.

Tyler Cochran is a law student at the University of Iowa and a master’s student at Houston Christian University. He writes on religion, politics, and culture and his work has been featured in National Review, Townhall, and The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter @tylercochran54.

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