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What is Christian nationalism?

Great Cross of Christ (60′ tall) on Dunbar’s Knob in Jumonville, PA, USA

A recent survey conducted by Pew Research found that 60% of Americans believe that America was founded as a Christian nation. Nevertheless, only 33% believe that the US is still a Christian nation today.

The survey also found that 45% believe that the US should be a Christian nation and 47% believe the Bible “should have a great deal or some influence on U.S. laws.” Meanwhile, 21% said it should have little or no influence.

So this leads us to the broader issue of Christian nationalism which has become a topic in recent days.

What exactly is Christian nationalism?

In a nutshell, it is the belief that America, similar to Israel, is a Christian nation chosen and in covenant with God.

I think we need to look at this issue in light of what happened under the Roman Emperor Constantine, which ironically took place on Oct 27, the same day the results of the survey were released.

In his article, On this day in Christian history, Constantine saw a vision from God: “Conquer by this”, Ryan Denison, Ph.D., believes that Constantine, who co-ruled/ruled Rome between 306-337 had more impact on the western world, than any historical figure after the first apostles.

Just prior to Constantine’s arrival, Rome had been ruled by Diocletian (286 – 305 AD) who systematically tried to wipe out Christianity as soldiers went door to door forcing people to hand over Biblical scriptures and to worship the emperor. Refusal often resulted in death.

When Diocletian retired the Empire was divided setting up Constantine’s father, Constantius Chlorus, as the ruler of the west and Galerius in the East.

However, Constantius died within a year of his appointment.

Maxentius was in line to succeed Constantius, but many in Rome’s military preferred Constantius’ son, Constantine, leading to a civil war.

Though Constantine’s father was a pagan, his mother was a believer and Constantine obviously had a familiarity with the Christian faith.

Prior to going to battle, Roman commanders traditionally invoked the help of the gods. And in what would become the deciding battle with Maxentius, Constantine would have done the same. He seems to have chosen to call upon Jehovah.

He received a vision of the first two letters in the Greek alphabet of Christ’s name, ChiRho and heard the words ‘by this sign you shall conquer.’

Constantine ordered the symbol ChiRho painted on the shields of his soldiers.

Though outnumbered, Constantine won the battle and Maxentius was accidentally killed, leaving Constantine standing alone as the emperor of the West.

The following year, he made Christianity a legal religion in the West and convinced the Eastern emperor, which was now being ruled by Lucinius, to do the same. But Christianity would not become Rome’s sole legal religion for another 70 years.

As emperor, Constantine was officially the high priest of every legal religion in the empire, and favored Christianity, including raising his children in the faith. This freedom allowed Christianity to flourish and grow.

But we need to understand one important distinction. Rome was Christianized, it was not converted.

Nations can be Christianized and follow Christian principles of freedom and liberty.

But there is only one Kingdom of God expressed initially through ancient Israel and today through the church, which Paul writes is simply a continuation of Israel (Galatians 6:15-16).

In an interview with Faithwire, Dr. Michael Brown explains the difference:

“There is only one, the Kingdom of God, inhabited by people born-again by their faith, expressed through ancient Israel and then the“Unhealthy Christian nationalism … is the merging of American identity with Christian identity,” he explained. “[T]he idea that America is kind of like ancient Israel, with a special covenant with God. And, therefore, we must be Christian, that it’s a certain destiny and that … you want to make Christianity the religion of the nation.” church.

“When the things get blurred — the kingdom of God gets too mingled with the kingdom of the world — that’s a concern,” said Brown. “The moment we forget that America is a fallen nation like every other nation and that the church is God’s people in the midst of the nation and the midst of all nations — the moment we forget that and think of America as somehow equaling the kingdom of God, or that God will uniquely back America because America’s ‘a Christian nation’ — that’s where we lose our perspective.”

Yes, believers should be concerned about what is happening politically in our country and pray for our leaders, so we can live peacefully (1 Timothy 2:1-4). But the church is the only Kingdom of God on the earth.

READ: Clear Majority of Americans Believe US Was Designed to Be a Christian Nation, Survey Reveals AND On this day in Christian history, Constantine saw a vision from God: “Conquer by this”

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