Would Jesus Be an “American Nationalist?”

Would Jesus Be an “American Nationalist?” November 27, 2022

Would Jesus Be an “American Nationalist?”

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What if Jesus came to America today? A thought experiment. Which church, if any, would he attend? More importantly, would he identify himself with the white, American nationalist movement? Would he wear a “MAGA” cap?

Don’t think this is a silly question. During the 1930s in Germany many Germans thought Jesus absolutely WOULD support German nationalism and even the National Socialist Party. During the 1930s in the U.S. there was at least one large (meetings well-attended) religious movement that clearly implied that Jesus (and Saint Germain!) would support American nationalism. They mixed their version of Christianity with American nationalism and gained much support.

When I was growing up in the “heart” of the U.S. I was given the impression at church, at home and even at school that America was God’s favorite country called and destined to save the world through spreading “the American way” and Christianity (blended together) to the whole world. America was not only the best country; it was on its own plane altogether–“hovering,” as it were, above the rest of the world–between heaven and earth.

When I speak here of “American nationalism” I do not mean “American patriotism.” I’ve explained the difference here before and don’t have time or space to repeat myself about that. I am an American patriot but not an American nationalist.

Of course, true, yes, American nationalism comes in a variety of forms; they are not all exactly the same. “White, Christian American Nationalism,” though, is not difficult to identify. Would Jesus join or support it? Most of its “members” are self-identified Christians. Can they reasonably claim Jesus as on their side in the so-called “culture wars?” If not, what should your Christian attitude be towards it?

Suppose what we all really know to be “White American Nationalism” (Christian or not) gains so much strength among Christians that it becomes part of the very definition of what it means to be Christian in America. (I don’t think that way, so this is a thought experiment in which I am supposing or pretending that a category like “Christianity” can be defined by the majority of its professors.) Shouldn’t we then form something like a “Confessing Church” movement in America to separate ourselves from that and them and recover the gospel in which Jesus Christ alone is Lord? Shouldn’t we adopt our own version of the Barmen Declaration (look it up)? Where is the “tipping point” where that ought to happen? How far must they go and how numerous (or just powerful) must they become before we separate ourselves from them?

As an evangelical Christian, I look to organizations such as the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals) and “Christianity Today, Inc.” and even the National Council of Churches to openly condemn (white) American Nationalism–especially that attempts to blend Christianity with it. That’s syncretism and it’s happening all over the U.S. I personally ran into it when visiting certain conservative churches and I have talked about those experiences here before. I won’t repeat those stories. In those cases I did not worship with them; I only observed.

What would it take for us, American evangelicals who do not worship America or any other country and who recognize the newish movement of White American Nationalism mixed with Christianity (so White Christian American Nationalism) to separate ourselves from it openly and unapologetically? Almost every evangelical or conservative Christian denomination in America has SOME churches, pastors and members who clearly fit that profile (of White Christian American Nationalism). I am talking about them. What to do with ourselves in relation to them–religiously, in terms of Christian worship and fellowship? If a denomination will not discipline them, challenge them to change, to repent, or even expel them (in extreme cases), what should we do?

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