In convos about Christian nationalism, it's important to define terms clearly.

"Christian nationalism" is a specific ideology that ties the future of the Church to the future of the State. It overlaps w/ secular nationalism but has incredibly toxic implications for gospel.
Some folks might say, "Well, I'm a Christian & I think we should prioritize America 1st over global concerns. Does that make me a Christian nationalist?"

The answer is a strong... maybe.
To know if you're ascribing to Christian nationalism of simple political nationalism, you'll need to interrogate your relationship btwn your nation & practice of your faith.
This will be extremely hard to do especially if you've been discipled in American evangelicalism in the last 40 years. Rhetorically speaking, we have conflated God & country to extent that it's hard to know where one stops & other begins.
Here's an example: In early 2000s, I had an ESL student from Bavaria. He was devout Lutheran & wanted to go to church for Easter. But when he got there, he saw an American flag on platform & was so disturbed that he left the service. He told me about it in class next day.
The funny thing was that it had literally never occurred to me that having an American flag on platform could in any possible way signal a conflict of interests. He could, especially given Germany's religious history. As outsider, he had perspective on something I was blind to.
The point isn't about flag. It's about what the flag represented & its presence in the church. What exactly was the relationship btwn my Christian faith & my American citizenship?
To what degree did my sense of America as a "Christian nation" affect my worship of God & commitment to his Kingdom? How easy was it to conflate the two--to wage political battles in the name of Christ?
A Christian nationalist isn't someone who is simultaneously patriotic & Christian. It's someone who thinks their patriotism makes them a better Christian.
Here's the dilemma: Our Christian faith should make us better neighbors in the nation in which God has placed us. But it might not always make us more loyal citizens & being a loyal citizen will definitely not make us better citizens of the Kingdom.
(As an aside, the solution to Christian nationalism is not globalism b/c that doesn't necessarily deal w/ the core problem. Instead, we must wrestle w/ the relationship btwn our allegiance to Christ & our allegiance to man-made govt.)
All that to say, the threat of Christian nationalism to the Church & to the gospel is deep. Not only will it divert our attention from eternal realities, it will divide our allegiances.
When the pursuit of political power calls us to act in ways antithetical to the gospel, we'll have to decide which master to heed. But insofar as we've already convinced ourselves that God & country are the same, we can justify anything as righteous pursuit of God's kingdom.

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More from @sometimesalight

15 Dec
A few thoughts to follow-up on yesterday's thread about Christian Nationalism:

Part of what makes Christian Nationalism so hard to nail down is that it overlaps & mirrors other ideological approaches.
It is not simply "nationalism" (a focus on one's own nation) so much as how you define the shape & contours of that nation. Christian nationalism defines the Nation & Church in relationship to each other.
In Christian Nationalism, part of being a good Christian is being loyal to the Nation & part of being a good citizen is being Christian.
Read 16 tweets
14 Dec
Per previous threads, please note that I'm using simplified categories for Twitter. Plenty of folks are developing robust definitions of Christian nationalism rooted in data & history.
We has a good convo with @socofthesacred on @PersuasionCAPC earlier this fall:…
Read 7 tweets
14 Dec
One more thought about Q of nationalism, globalism, & Christian's relationship to country:

For folks interrogating their own practices & paradigms, please entertain the possibility that you might not yet have all the necessary pieces to construct a healthy dynamic.
For example, as you become aware of threat of Xian nationalism, you might be tempted to rebound to a kind of globalism that doesn't necessarily move you forward.
What you'll need to add to your toolkit is understanding of place, Providence, & neighbor-ness. What you need is a more robustly developed ethic that teaches you how to love & serve God above all other loyalties w/in the specific boundaries he has placed on you.
Read 7 tweets
13 Dec
The idol in your backyard will destroy you sooner than the idol in your neighbor's yard.
Put more bluntly, there's no point in preaching against idols you don't worship. There's a whole lot of reason to preach against the ones you do.
This is why whataboutism is so pointless. Not only is it LAZY, it misses the reality that different groups have different idols & need to have their specific idols toppled.
Read 5 tweets
13 Dec
I'll never understand the logic of telling a pastor or teacher that you can trust them to teach the Bible but can't trust them when they point out cultural idols.
Seriously. Why would you trust someone to teach you the BIBLE if you can't also trust that they've been informed by it? Why would you trust them to explain the WORD OF GOD but be unable to explain how that word might apply to this moment?
I'm not talking about pastors & teachers going outside their area of expertise. I'm not talking about unquestioning loyalty.
Read 5 tweets
12 Dec
Was thinking again today of the tragedy of confusing the trappings of Christian nationalism & middle-class lifestyle w/ following Jesus.
It occurred to me that a lot of parents may have worked really, really hard discipling their kids in what they thought was Christianity. They sacrificed money, time, energy.
Obviously, kids make their own choices, but I know a ton of my peers who grew up in Christian subculture who no longer claim Christian faith. I can't help but wonder what they're actually rejecting.
Read 8 tweets

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