First published on Christian Converser
In the first part of this series we took a look at the issue of conspiracy theories and how by feeding into a Christian Nationalist narrative, actual growth of the Kingdom of God is hindered rather than helped. As is often the case on this blog, further reflection on this subject has led to a second part being written. Herewith.
Christian Nationalism itself has been examined previous times on this blog (the posts were originally produced on a related blog and have been imported here). The primary concern is the way in which CN has captivated the Christian community and become the dominant political force in church circles worldwide. Most of what passes for evangelical support of the former Trump Administration in the 2016-2020 period, and which remains nascent as the prospect of Trump campaigning for a further term in 2024 continues to gain traction, is on a platform of Christian nationalism. To briefly sum up why this is the case, Christian Nationalism as a church cause, especially a political one, is strongly tied into support of dispensationalist theology and its alleged premise of the restoration of theocracy parallel to the historical State of Israel. The restoration of the Jewish kingdom is a strong theme found throughout churches of Christian Nationalist belief, especially in the USA. This then feeds into assumptions about Christian nationhood in such countries, which is also tied to dispensationalist beliefs. In short, Christian nationalists believe it is their role to usher in what they believe is mandated in the “end times” as outlined in Revelation.
The converse theological view, as outlined many times previously in this blog, is that no such situation is intended by God. If we assume that Revelation was written for events that occurred in its day, as is one of the possible interpretations, then there has never been any intention for the re-establishment of the Jewish theocracy, let alone any Christian one. The key assumption for this theological viewpoint is that God has decided that theocracy does not further the Kingdom; this appears to be borne out in the studies. Therefore this poses a serious challenge to key dispensationalist concepts and the purported benefits of theocracy as a whole.
In reality, US support for theocracy as in the State of Israel and Christian nationalism in the country have a great deal to do with politics in a highly divided and polarised nation. But also, the American flavour of theocracy and faith, as has been previously observed, seems to lend itself more readily to obscure, less credible, dubious or extremet theological beliefs. There are many possible reasons for this but fervency of belief is not among them, because evidence from the survey clearly shows that a country like the US where Christian faith has been favoured is not one where actual adherence is strong. This has naturally led to the perception that Christians’ way of life and faith are under attack (which is certainly true) but the reaction which has led to a renewed push for Nationalism, which has been the cause of conservative church leadership for decades (as seen in Jerry Falwell Snr’s Moral Majority and its successors) and mostly recently espoused in the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency, is not the correct one that is going to lead to the advance of the Kingdom as a whole. In all reality, the US situation has a lot more to do with the political divisions in society and the desire of conservatives to remain dominant; fervency in Christian faith is almost inextricably intertwined with political conservatism in the US to a much greater degree than in other parts of the world.