The Problem With Mixing Christianity and Nationalism

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Kyle Roberts is Schilling Professor of Public Theology and the Church and Economic Life at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.  He explains, from the perspective of Christian teaching, some of the problems with what happened last Sunday at First Baptist Church in Dallas.  I am glad that a theologian has commented on this story.  As a historian, my level of analysis is limited.

According to Roberts, there are 10 “negative consequences” when a church conflates nationalism and Christianity.

  1. It contributes to false assumptions of God’s special blessing or privilege
  2. It confuses the power of God with the power of the State
  3. It confuses the gospel of grace with the “good news” of material wealth and security.
  4. It undermines the separation of church and state
  5. It undercuts the prophetic power that Christianity needs in order to be salt and light
  6. It makes us forget that nation-states are a recent development
  7. It undermines the cross
  8. It replaces transcendence with immanence
  9. It disrespects those who have been marginalized by the configuration of powers in the nation-state
  10. It suggests that the basis of Christian hope is not the counter-cultural Messiah, but the “worldly” powers of the State.

Click here to see how Roberts develops each of these points at his blog Unsystematic Theology.  Great stuff.

2 thoughts on “The Problem With Mixing Christianity and Nationalism

  1. Hey,

    I think you might be interested in my book that just came out in January of this year called “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”, [featuring a Foreword by author and pastor Greg Boyd].

    My book asks the question: “What if the greatest threat to Christianity in America was something called “American Christianity?”‘

    The book takes a provocative look at how the American Church became entangled with politics and – most importantly – how necessary it is for the Church to separate faith from politics.

    Starting from the earliest days of Church History, the book explores why the first disciples of Jesus refused to become entangled with politics, and how the faith became entangled over the centuries.

    Why is it so dangerous to mix faith and politics? Because you can’t convert a culture if that culture has already converted you.

    To learn more about the book visit: http://www.JesusUntangled.com

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  2. Thank you for sharing this Dr. Fea. I have made many of the same arguments with my friends and family who claim to be “washed in the blood of the Lamb” people of deep Christian faith but who also wholeheartedly support Christian Nationalism or Dominionism. They dismiss my opinion because I have gone over to the “Dark Side” of being a Secular Humanist. I agree that this criticism of Christian Nationalism packs more of a punch coming from a theologian. I will share it with the friends and family I mentioned.

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