This latest spasm of virtue signaling among the Evangelical Elite tut-tutting us about the grave dangers of “Christian Nationalism” is about as hilarious as the PCA telling us they have the whole REVOICE extravaganza under control or the SBC assuring us that they have not been sucked into the Critical Race Black Hole. Heh. Double Heh.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending so-called messianic prophecies of Donald J. Trump. I’m a boring Presbyterian cessationist. I only believe in speaking tongues after you’ve taken several semesters of the language. Nor am I throwing my lot in with those who can’t tell the difference between a patriotic song and worshiping the Triune God. But if I had to choose my Sunday School teachers from a Stop the Steal Trump rally or the line up at the next Gospel Coalition conference, I would pick the Trump rally every day of the week. There would be oddities and problems either way, but I like my odds with the Trump supporters (“My Pillow” Ads-and-all) because your run-of-the-mill Trump supporter believes in history. You know, that pesky thing God made called cause-and-effect.
And this is why the recent spat of “Christian Nationalism” warnings is hilarious. The Evangelical Elite are constantly trying to keep up with their Liberal Idols. Most of them don’t know this. Most of them think they are just trying to keep up with the spiritually sexy leader in front of them. And the Together for the MLK 500 Gospel Confabulation Ltd. is sort of the Swimsuit Edition for this hip spiritual lust. But there aren’t very many people checking the very front of the line. And it turns out at the very top of the escalator they’re on, you’ve got a bunch of woke homos strutting their stuff.
Ideas Have Consequences (And Babies)
So this is why it’s hilarious. In order to object coherently to “Christian Nationalism,” you need coherent definitions of a number of things, including but not limited to those two words. But in order to define those words and several others, you have to get off that escalator leading up to the woke homos on the catwalk. For example, you have to distinguish between Christian patriotism and idolatrous jingoism. You have to distinguish between love of one’s country and neighbors which God commands and the hubris and pride and idolatry of believing your country is some kind of heavenly utopia or about to become one, either of the Marxist or Manifest Destiny varieties. But in order to do that, you have to be able to make careful distinctions between different ideas and understand how particular ideas, follow me closely here, have consequences.
But this is exactly what many of our Evangelical High Priests have been insisting is not the case. You can think gay thoughts in your head, they insist, but not act on them, and that pastor who does so, all loud and proud, is still fully qualified for ministry, we are told. And stop being so mean. Those gaylust thoughts and feelings are just the chemicals and urges burbling away, and what can really be done about burbling chemicals? Did John Owen even know about burbling chemicals? You can think Critical Theory ideas in your head (it’s only an ana-li-tick-al tool, we’ve been told over and over), and still be fully orthodox. And how do you know white people aren’t inherently racist?
Of course these are only some of the more gnarly spots on the bleeding backside of the mad horse we let out the gate decades ago. We let men say they thought the matter of women’s ordination was a very complicated one, very difficult, especially in the Greek, and besides, women are generally better at relating to people and sharing, so who’s to say? We let men say that the matter of how the world got here is really complicated, very difficult, especially in the Hebrew. Who’s to say if God “used” evolution to turn monkeys into people? What does that complex word “day” mean anyway? The poetry is deep, man. And this last one is really the lynch pin of them all. If God can use anything to do anything, you can call it “Theistic Evolution” till the cows come home, doing a conga line on their hind-legs in cowboy hats, but they’re still cows for all that, and what you have attempted to do is baptize chaos. But when you bless chaos, you’re still left with chaos and chaos always devours coherence, meaning, reason, logic, everything.
Darwin Hates History
All of this ultimately comes back to the fact that the unbelieving heart hates responsibility. Going back to Adam, we are a race of evaders, blame shifters, and excuse makers. “It was the woman you gave to me.” “It was the chemicals in my body.” “It was the way my dad yelled at me.” But it takes about five minutes for the sinful heart to realize that merely shifting blame, merely evading responsibility, or merely making excuses is only a delay tactic. All of these moves still assume that there is such a thing as responsibility. They still assume that there is such a thing as cause and effect. They still believe in the legitimacy of that pesky subject known as history.
This is why paganism fundamentally hates history. It hates history because it hates responsibility. And it hates responsibility because it hates guilt. And it hates guilt because it hates God. This is why Darwinism is the darling myth of unbelief. It posits a guilt-free, responsibility-free universe. If everything is a result of chaos, mutation, and accident, there is no order, no cause and effect, and therefore, no responsibility. Everything is random. And thus, Darwinism is a History-destroying virus. You cannot teach Darwinism and history for very long without one destroying the other. They are fundamentally at war.
And this brings us full circle to nations. Because Darwinism is a history-hating virus, it is also a nation-hating virus. This is because in the history of the world that God made, men were meant to be fruitful and multiply and build communities, cities, and nations. And when we love the nations that God has placed us in, not with some kind of saccharine romanticism, but with true Christian patriotism, we are loving our neighbors, loving our people, and loving the history of faithful men and women (warts and all), and the faithful covenant-keeping God who blesses nations.
Darwinians like to make their charts of the descent of man and postulate and speculate about the millions, no billions, no… (who cares?) of years in the history of the universe, the fact is: it doesn’t matter. Darwinism doesn’t care how long it took. Darwinism itself doesn’t think it even matters. It was all a big accident. The charts don’t matter either. The natural descent “family tree” of crayfish turning into human beings and the millions and billions of years are just pinches of incense on that old altar of history, but the entire point is to lure gullible historians (evangelicals) to the new, shiny altar of Natural Selection. And when that happens, history can be butchered and laid on the altar, as is happening as we speak with every square inch of American history.
I hear tell that even Abraham Lincoln has now been disemboweled in San Francisco because he was not sufficiently woke, even though, according to the official narrative, he sent hundreds of thousands of men to their graves to free the slaves. Of course that isn’t true, but you probably don’t know that because you’ve already been marinating in “official narratives” for decades. But the point is that random mutation doesn’t care. Natural Selection doesn’t care. Which incidentally is why intersectionality is all a complete farce. Random mutation doesn’t really care about sex, race, or who you’re tempted to lust after. After billions of species have died out, crushed by some other random mutation that was stronger and had larger harems, the “history” doesn’t actually matter because there wasn’t actually a story. “Random” is the opposite of story.
There can be no story when there is no reason, no logic, no causal connections between one moment and the next, when it’s just blood and genes and mutations sputtering away, you know, the way they do, like a veggie smoothie dripping down the side of a couch. What is the story of that mess? Was there some great drama, some gripping romance that occurred between the bits of carrot and cottage cheese sliding down the fabric? Um. No. Of course, because we live in God’s world, you cannot ever completely abandon meaning and cause and effect. And some molecular biologist could, no doubt, tell such a story, perhaps even with some true story grip.
Conclusion: God Saves Nations
So this is the point. God loves nations. We know this because God loves to deal with humanity through their identification with nations. Of course nations can and do sin, and God judges nations as nations for their national sins (e.g. Is. 13, Rev. 19:15). But the promise that God made to Abraham is that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in his seed. And that seed was Christ (Gal. 3:8, 16). God saves nations. Nations are formed through the actions of men. Men marry and bear children. They work in one place; they move to another. They worship together, they build, they live, they die, and nations rise and fall. Nations are the sum total of their people, families, businesses, churches, cultures, and governments. And Jesus came for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2). He came so that the nations of men might bring their glory and honor into His Kingdom (Rev. 21:26).
But that is only possible if men are responsible before God for their actions, and responsibility is only possible in a world where cause and effect is real, where ideas have real consequences (and lots of babies), where history is real and therefore nations matter. The central cause and effect in the history of the world is the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ for guilty men and wicked nations. And America is one of those nations. It is certainly true that we cannot have the blessing of God apart from taking responsibility for our sin. But the answer to that conundrum is not to obliterate the responsibility of nations. The answer is not to tut-tut the last remaining millions in our country who have eyes in their head watching our ruling classes and their goons trying to burn our nation to the ground. The answer is to preach this gospel to our nation, as a nation. The answer is to correct the wrong-headed horse and pony shows and teach them how to submit their patriotism to the Lord Jesus Christ, until every knee bows, until every nation confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Are there idolatrous nations? Of course. And is there such a thing as national hubris, nationalistic arrogance? Of course. But the vast majority of Trump supporters are not actually racists or nationalistic idolaters. They’re just ordinary people who are watching the destruction of the nation that they love. In Screwtape Letters, Lewis says that one of the tricks of the Devil is to always have people scurrying about with the wrong solution, “The game is to have them all running around with fire extinguishers whenever there’s a flood; and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under.” The flood we are facing is complete scorn for America, the complete destruction of our constitution, our faith, our churches, our freedom, our families, our children. The last thing we need right now is a host of thinkpiecers strumming their chin hairs in deep anguish for Christian nationalism.