Lesson 5: Evangelical Christian Nationalists

Evangelical Christian NationalistsSurprisingly, I had the same experience exploring Christian Nationalism in Evangelical churches as I did the New Apostolic Reformation in Pentecostal churches. In both, I began wondering from where these people came and found they were groups with whom I had contact in the past. I thought they had disappeared because they were so outlandish. Now, I discover they have gained so much power they have advised the president of the United States and some proponents are even considered candidates themselves.

I was aware that in the late 1960s, Jerry Falwell called for Evangelicals’ involvement in politics to protect their way of life from the increasingly secular society and that he advised beginning with local school boards. I knew they now voted overwhelmingly for Republican candidates but thought this was from narrowing their choice to two issues: abortion and LGBTQ+ rights. My assumption was this is simply a matter of getting out the vote in a democratic society.

Beyond that, I was baffled that Fundamentalists would get overly involved in politics. If your motto is “The Bible Says It, I Believe It, That Settles It ,“ you certainly find the Bible has little good to say about political power.

Then I discovered these people are premillennialists. Whoa! Long ago, the county judge asked our Lutheran congregation to help start a Rescue Mission as the community had no care for homeless people. Because we poured money into hiring a director and providing an office, I was given a seat on the board of directors. However, before I could be accepted, I had to indicate whether I was a pre- or post-millennialist.

Those who run Rescue Missions are Evangelicals. That means they are Fundamentalists but more than that, a particular kind of Fundamentalist. Reading the Bible literally is only one of the Five Fundamentals. Another is belief in the literal Second Coming of Christ. Evangelicals are divided on how to interpret that. The director laughed as he asked me where I stood. It was not important to him, but it certainly was to other members of the board.

The millennium is a strange 1000-year period when, Revelation writes, Satan is imprisoned and Christian saints run the world. Satan, then, is released and his demons wage war on the Christians. After this tribulation, the Last Judgment takes place followed by a merger of heaven and earth. The question is whether Jesus returns before or after this thousand-year period.

Christian Nationalists believe it is the former and that it is fast approaching. True believers should be preparing to take over society. Christians are to run everything. Some even see this as a precondition for Christ’s return.

This is where it gets scary. Back in my Rescue Mission days, some board members passed around lists of Christian businesspeople, insisting we should be dealing only with them. Even more troubling, a fundamentalist reading of scripture gives every part equal weight. My premillennialist friends believed taking over society meant enacting Old Testament Mosaic laws as the law of the nation. More than once, I heard people talking about stoning those who engaged in homosexual activity.

You cannot help seeing the similarity with Islamic Fundamentalism, such as the Taliban, who call for basing society on laws found in the Koran. This kind of thinking easily justifies using violence and even terrorism in the name of God. It naturally leads to subjugating other religious groups or any people who did not accept Christian teachings. Indeed, when you read Christian Nationalists’ teachings, you come across all sorts of far-out conjectures such as families and local churches will take over almost all governmental functions, wealth will be the transferred to Christian individuals and groups, and males will assume responsibility for controlling all social groups.

Again, this is not to say all Evangelical churches support Christian Nationalism. Just as many, if not most, Pentecostals reject the New Apostolic Reformation.  So too, many Evangelicals separate themselves from such ideas. It is, however, important to recognize this movement has grown, unnoticed by most of us, in some parts of this church body. And, I think it exposes the limitations of a fundamentalist theology.

Quite frankly, the more I study these groups the more troubled I get. I am not sure how such irrationality has gained such political power and what we can do to overcome it.

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  1. Lynn Cairns says:

    Good summary. I wonder if you considered telling the director that you were a, Non- Millennialist. Perhaps you could have requested to be non-listed. These people have been around here and there for my lifetime and I find some of them troubling and even at times scary.


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