We were all unfamiliar with the term “Christian nationalism” until a couple of years ago. However, some people are demanding that we should agree with its ideology.
Most of us had never heard of the term until the media blamed Christian nationalism for the Jan. 6 riot at the United States Capitol Building in 2021. The media attempted to make Christian nationalism synonymous with evangelicalism. That seemingly prompted all sorts of professing Christians to embrace the term.
From what I’ve read, there are four or five kinds of Christian nationalists. In a sense, this is mostly why I am not a Christian nationalist. I don’t think it’s wise to describe myself as a Christian nationalist when some of the people who embrace that label are completely unbiblical.
If the term was older than two years in mainstream culture, I would probably think differently. But I don’t think it’s worth fighting for a relatively new word with so many connotations.
The different kinds of Christian nationalists include: the New Apostolic Reformation movement, some theonomists, Kinists, and according to leftists: all Christians.
The New Apostolic Reformation is generally a more political version of the Word of Faith or prosperity gospel. It’s made up of professing Christians who believe humans lost dominion over the earth to Satan after Adam’s sin. According to them, God has restored the offices of apostles and prophets to lead Christians to take back dominion from Satan that rightfully belongs to humanity. They say there are seven areas that Christians need to regain dominion over. The government is one of these areas.
However, there’s an entirely different group of Christians who are also calling themselves Christian nationalists: theonomists. Simply, theonomists believe God’s judicial laws for Israel in the Old Covenant are the standard for all nations. Therefore for some theonomists, “Christian Nationalism” seems like a simpler term to describe their beliefs.
I recently wrote an article about a group of professing Christians called Kinists. I said, Kinism is an ideology within some Reformed circles that teaches that a person’s so-called race makes them “kins” or related to people within their racial group. According to Kinists, all white people have a shared ethnicity and culture that should be preserved. Therefore they support racial segregation in communities and families. Meaning, they’re especially opposed to “interracial” marriage.
Kinists have also taken the Christian nationalist label. As I mentioned in the article, some of the most popular books promoting Christian nationalism are from authors with a “soft” form of Kinism.
Also, as I mentioned in my review of Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States, according to the authors of that book and other leftists, if you’re a Christian with a Biblical view on race, gender, and sexuality — you’re a Christian nationalist.
There are other versions of Christian nationalists, including some Reformed Christians who are influenced by Stephen Wolfe’s The Case For Christian Nationalism. So clearly, there are broad and narrow definitions of Christian Nationalism.
According to the leftist definition of Christian nationalism, I’m a Christian nationalist. But I’m not interested in accepting the terms leftist use to describe my political views. Especially since they’re attempting to conflate all evangelicals with the Kinist versions of Christian nationalism.
However, this doesn’t mean I don’t want America (or my beloved Canada) to be a Christian nation. Opposition to Christian nationalism isn’t the same as opposition to a Christian nation.
Christian nationalists should stop making the fallacious claim that conservative Christians who reject Christian nationalism do not want Christian nations. Just as people can reject the concept of antiracism while hating racism, Christians can reject the concept of Christian nationalism while wanting Christian nations.
Every Christian wants their nation to embrace Christian ethics. Every subject of the Kingdom of God wants their nation to honor Jesus Christ as the king of kings. We simply disagree on how that should happen or what that should look like politically.
For instance, I strongly disagree with Christian nationalists who reject freedom of religion and freedom of speech. This is one of the main reasons why I reject Christian nationalism.
Christians in America have a different nation and covenant than the ancient Israelites. So in that sense, we’re not called to be prophets for a theocratic system like Moses. We’re called to be preachers of the Gospel like the Apostle Paul, who said:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
The Apostle Paul didn’t say Christians should restrict an unbeliever’s right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. He says we destroy their heretical arguments with the Gospel, not authoritarianism.
It’s not the Church’s responsibility to punish unbelievers. That responsibility belongs to Christ. He will punish unbelievers when he fulfills His Kingdom in the New Earth. Until then, however, His Kingdom isn’t of this world (John 18:36).
That doesn’t mean we should believe in the myth of neutrality. There’s no such thing as a religiously neutral nation. Every nation’s laws are primarily influenced by one religion. From its founding and for most of its existence, American law was primarily influenced by Christianity. Now, however, America’s laws are primarily influenced by postmodernism or secular paganism.
That’s actually why freedom of religion is necessary. It protects minority religions from persecution by official religions. For example, what do Christian nationalists say to persecuted Christians in Northern Nigeria? Do they have a right to freedom of religion?
What arguments should Christian organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom International make to defend them from persecution? If we support blasphemy laws for unbelievers, what legal basis do we have to fight blasphemy laws in Muslim nations?
So although I want America, Canada, and every nation in the world to be a Christian nation, these are just some of the reasons why I am not a Christian nationalist.
Originally published at Slow to Write.
Samuel Sey is a Ghanaian-Canadian who lives in Brampton, a city just outside of Toronto. He is committed to addressing racial, cultural, and political issues with biblical theology, and always attempts to be quick to listen and slow to speak.