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Is Christian Nationalism the Solution to America’s Societal Decline? – rebroadcast of

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
December 30, 2023 2:00 am

Is Christian Nationalism the Solution to America’s Societal Decline? – rebroadcast of

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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December 30, 2023 2:00 am

GUEST: SCOTT ANIOL, Professor of Pastoral Theology, Grace Bible Theological Seminary

As we celebrate Independence Day, which commemorates the signing in 1776 of the Declaration of Independence, the founding document of our nation, when the original 13 colonies declared their autonomy from British colonial rule.

John Adams was a signer of the Declaration, one of the framers of the U.S. Constitution (1789), and the second President of the United States. Likely not a born-again Christian but rather a deist (a believer in a supreme being who is uninvolved in the affairs of mankind), Adams wrote the following about the link between morality and civil society:

“…should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation [pretending] towards one another…which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practicing iniquity and extravagance…while it is rioting in rapine [violent seizure of property] and insolence [rude behavior], this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world; because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

We are seeing John Adams’ warning prove true in America today. We are at a low point in our nation when laws are passed granting the “freedom” to kill a child anytime during the nine months of pregnancy, when the “degrading passions” of homosexuality are normalized and codified as “marriage”, when adults parade openly and lewdly down the streets in front of children, and when children are led into the sin of cross-dressing and physical mutilation in the name of “gender affirming care”.

Wicked depravity is now tolerated and affirmed in our nation and the predictable results are division, confusion, chaos, violence, harm, and hatred.

So what are Christians to do, who like Lot living in Sodom “felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds” (2 Peter 2:8)?

Most Christians would say that our nation desperately needs to reclaim our Biblical foundations and establish laws and policies based on the truths of Christianity. But how would that take place? Is that Scripture’s call for Christians and the church to work to “Christianize” government?

This weekend on The Christian Worldview, Scott Aniol, editor-in-chief of G3 Ministries and professor of pastoral theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary, joins us to discuss “Christian Nationalism”, a term that means different things to different people.

To some Christians, it means electing representatives who advocate for biblical principles in government. Other believers see it as a biblical mandate to work toward Christian rule over government and all institutions in society. While non-believers view it as religious extremists trying to institute a theocracy and oppress non-believers.

Join us for a discussion on Christian Nationalism and what Bible says about Christians and government.
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Is Christian nationalism the solution to America's societal decline? That is the topic we'll discuss today right here on the Christian worldview radio program, where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. I'm David Wheaton, the host.

For more information on the Christian worldview radio program, please visit our website www.thechristianworldview.org, call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 40 or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. As we celebrate Independence Day, which commemorates the signing in 1776 of the Declaration of Independence, when the original 13 colonies declared their autonomy from British colonial rule. John Adams was a signer of the Declaration.

He was also one of the framers of the U.S. Constitution, which came out in 1789, and he was also the second President of the United States. Likely not a born-again Christian, but rather a deist, one who believes in a supreme being who is uninvolved in the affairs of mankind, Adams wrote the following about the link between morality and civil society. He said, Should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation, or like pretending toward one another, which assumes the language of justice and moderation, while it is practicing iniquity and extravagance, while it is rioting and rapping, in other words, violent seizure of property and insolence or rude behavior, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world, because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.

It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. That from John Adams, our second President. We are seeing today John Adams' warning prove true in America. We are at a low point in our nation when laws are passed granting, quote, the freedom to kill a child anytime during the nine months of pregnancy, or when the, quote, degrading passions of homosexuality are normalized and codified as, quote, marriage. When adults parade openly and lewdly down the streets in front of children, and when children are led into the sin of cross dressing and physical mutilation, even in the name of, quote, gender affirming care. Wicked depravity is now tolerated and affirmed in our nation, and the predictable results are division, confusion, chaos, violence, harm and hatred.

So what are Christians to do, who like Lot living in Sodom, quote, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds. That from Second Peter chapter two. Most Christians would say that our nation desperately needs to reclaim our biblical foundations and establish laws and policies based on the truths of Christianity.

But how would that take place? Is that scripture's call for Christians in the church to work to, quote, Christianize government? Today in the Christian worldview, Scott Annual, editor in chief of G3 Ministries and professor of pastoral theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary, joins us to discuss Christian nationalism, a term that means different things to different people. To some Christians, it means electing representatives who advocate for biblical principles in government. Other believers see Christian nationalism as a biblical mandate to work toward Christian rule over government in all institutions in society to take dominion, while nonbelievers view Christian nationalism as just religious extremists trying to institute a theocracy and oppress nonbelievers. So we hope you gain from today's discussion on Christian nationalism and what the Bible says about Christians in government. Well, Scott, we're looking forward to having you come on the Christian worldview radio program before we get into our topic of Christian nationalism today. Just tell us how and why you became a follower of Christ and what your life is like now.

Yeah, thanks so much for having me. My parents were Christians, so I grew up very much exposed to the gospel in church at a young age. At a very young age, I made a profession of faith, but looking back, that clearly was, you know, sort of simply out of fear of hell, but also out of a desire to just please my parents.

I thought it was the thing to do. So it really wasn't until my high school years that I began to recognize that I had never fully submitted myself to Christ, and just with discussions with my parents and them confronting me about sin issues, I recognized my need of salvation. I recognized that I was worthy of judgment by God, but I desired to serve him and desire to believe my faith in Christ's atoning sacrifice. So when I was 13, I trusted Christ and, you know, a lot internal changed, a lot externally didn't change because I was part regularly in church and a Christian school and all of that. But definitely my internal desires changed, and I found a real desire to serve the Lord with the rest of my life.

And that changed me and changed the trajectory of where I was headed in my high school and college years. Thank you for sharing your faith story with us. Scott Annual with us today here on the Christian Real View.

He's a professor of pastoral theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. Let's get into our topic today. And the title of the program is Christian nationalism, the solution to America's societal decline. Now, watching the radical God rejection, I think is all that you can call it, of our society today has led some Christians to call for what's termed Christian nationalism. That means lots of different definitions of different people.

We'll get into that in a second. As opposed to the kind of secular globalism or secular humanism that runs our country today, that's the ethic of our country today. And they'll say, well, secular humanism is a worldview, even a religion. Why shouldn't Christianity be represented and indeed foremost in our leaders and laws? We want a Christian nation.

We'd rather have that than a secular nation. I saw that there are two conferences coming up. One of them is a conference that you're associated with, G3 Ministries, because you work for that organization. That conference is in September called The Gospel in the State, Christian Nationalism, Theonomy and Free Church Doctrine. And then there's another conference coming up called Blueprints for Christendom 2.0, Seven Doctrines for Ruling the World.

And men like Doug Wilson, Brian Suave, I think his name is, Joe Boot, Joel Webin, Michael Foster, Dale Partridge, all these men are part of that conference. These camps, so to speak, have two very different viewpoints on the role of Christianity in government and in society. All Bible-believing Christians want government to do, as Romans 13 says, to promote good and punish evil.

We all want that. But maybe you could just explain some of the big bullet point divides between these two groups of Christians. Yeah, well, I think part of the problem here is how the discussion is being framed. And it even was reflected a little bit in kind of comparing, for example, Christian nationalism on the one hand and sort of a secularist globalism on the other hand. I think part of the problem is that those two are not the only options. I think there are a lot of good conservative Christians who are against the secular globalism.

Amen. And they're also grieving over the rise of LGBTQ plus all of this stuff, the transing of kids and abortion and all of these horrendous things that are happening in our society. And so they sort of portray then the only solution being this Christian nationalism, which I agree with a lot of what those men want and what they emphasize. The problem is that when you read or listen to the main Christian nationalists, it really is rooted in, and this other conference that you mentioned is illustrative of this, it's rooted in a post-millennial eschatology that sees the role of the church in for sure spreading the gospel, but also expects and anticipates that Christians ought to, in a sense, take over the magistrates or have the magistrates enforce biblical Christianity, biblical morality. All Ten Commandments, for example, ought to be enforced by the state.

So that's really where the divide lies. What is the role and purpose of government and what is the role and purpose of the church? Those of us in the pre-conference connected with GBTS take a much more baptistic, historically Baptist position, and very much a non post-millennial position that says that church and state have different roles in this age. One day in the future kingdom when Christ is ruling and reigning, church and state will be united. Christianity, Christian morality will be enforced with a rod of iron from the throne itself. But during this present age, what some would call the age of the Gentile rulers, the state does have a role, a God-given role, as Romans 13 says, God did institute government for a particular reason. Mainly, and I'll get back to this in a moment, mainly to preserve peace and order in a sin-cursed world prior to the time when the king does come. But the church as the church, as the institutional church, has a different role.

And that role is to make disciples, to spread the gospel and to disciple new believers. The problem is, I think sometimes again with this artificial binary that is presented, the argument by a lot of these Christian nationalists is the only alternative to what they are saying is a kind of secularist globalism, or what they sometimes describe as anabaptism or pietism, where Christians just want to privatize their faith and not speak out in the public sphere, for example. And you do find Christians like that, the David French's and the Russell Moore's of the world who really, you know, they're conservative Christians doctrinally, but they really don't think we should speak out strongly, for instance, against homosexuality or some of these things in the public sphere.

What we're trying to say is, no, there's a middle position. We absolutely believe that as Christians, we ought to be active in the public sphere. We believe nations have been created by God for a purpose.

We're against globalism. We believe that we ought to vote in such a way that we're electing magistrates that will uphold morality for the good of society. We ought to stand up for life. We ought to stand against homosexuality and transgenderism and all of these.

We ought to be very public with our Christianity and be as active as we can be. But that doesn't mean that it is the government's role to enforce all of the Ten Commandments, for example, the government does have a role, we would say, to enforce what's sometimes called the second table of the law. That is those moral standards that involve the relations between people, because that's what God designed government to be. God designed government to maintain peace and order among people within a society in an age in which there is sin and corruption and evil. And so as Romans 13 says, God instituted that, and in as much as governing officials, even pagan governing officials, in as much as they do that, they punish wrong, you know, they punish murder as God instituted in Genesis 9, they punish sins committed one person to another. In as much as they do that, they are servants of God, they're doing what God intended for them to do. But again, that's different from saying that the government ought to enforce true worship, or the government ought to punish blasphemy, or the government ought to enforce worship on the Lord's Day, for example.

And so that's kind of where that I think the division lies. It's in either seeing it as a binary in which you're either all in Christian nationalism or you're just a secularist globalist, whereas we're saying no, there's a middle position where we are active, we are very public about our faith, and we believe government does have a role. But at the same time, the full enforcement by the magistrate of Christian morality will not happen until Jesus comes again. Scott Annual is our guest today here on the Christian Real View, the professor of pastoral theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary, also the executive vice president and editor in chief of G3 Ministries, their website is g3min.org. We also have it linked at our website, thechristianrealview.org. Now, you said a lot there, and one of the things that early on was about how the eschatology of those pushing for Christian nationalism drives their viewpoint. As a matter of fact, in the conference that I mentioned earlier, Blueprints for Christendom 2.0, Seven Doctrines for Ruling the World, one of the speakers, Jill Webbin, tweeted this about promoting the conference.

He put some bullet points down. It's about Reformed theology, it's about covenant succession, it's about biblical patriarchy, it's about presuppositional apologetics, it's about Christian nationalism, it's about theonomy, and finally it's about post-millennialism. Now, we recognize some of those terms, Reformed theology, the doctrines of grace came out of the Reformation and so forth. You've talked about the idea of Christian nationalism.

Pick one or two of the other ones to help us understand which of these are important. Understand covenant succession, biblical patriarchy, presuppositional apologetics, theonomy, maybe even explain a little more what post-millennialism is. I think he's just sort of describing the various aspects of his theology, several of those categories that I would fully agree with, but I think the ones that are germane to this particular issue are a the post-millennialism and b the theonomy. These men argue for what they call a general equity theonomy, meaning that we take the laws of the law of Moses and while they don't transfer over directly in our day and age, because we are not under the law of Moses, nevertheless we can learn general principles that can apply to our laws even today. And there's a sense in which I would agree with even that to a certain extent, but nevertheless I would say there are limits to what the government has been appointed by God to do, and that's the key. In as much as the government is doing what God has appointed it to do in maintaining peace and order between human beings and society, then I think absolutely we can look at the general equity of principles within the Mosaic law and learn from those. And similarly, the Apostle Paul even does this in the New Testament, we can look at laws in the Mosaic law, we can discern principles that apply even to the church.

For instance, Paul when he argues that pastors ought to be paid, pastors are worthy of being paid, he quotes a Mosaic law as a general equity principle there. So I don't disagree with that generally, but theonomy specifically means more than that, and again it means that a human government ought to get to the point where we are enforcing all aspects of God's moral law, deriving principles, general equity principles from the Mosaic law. It's not necessarily directly tied to post-millennialism, and let me be clear, not all Christian nationalists are post-millennial, although I think all of the men in that particular conference are, but there are men who are, for instance, amil and perhaps even premil, who would consider themselves Christian nationalists. But what I've tried to demonstrate is that even for those men, I think they're being inconsistent with their eschatology, because again what post-millennialism will say, and there are various shades, so I'm speaking of the most conservative evangelical versions which would be represented in that conference that you mentioned, they believe that the church's role right now is to spread the gospel and make disciples of all nations.

Amen. But at the same time, they also would argue that as more and more Christians are in a society, at a certain point, those Christians ought to establish what they call Christendom, and that is the formal state affirmation that Christ is Lord over this country, and therefore we ought to enforce biblical morality in every respect. Again, all 10 of the Ten Commandments ought to be enforced by the state.

So even among those men, you might get some differences. I recently reviewed Doug Wilson's book, A Mere Christendom, and interestingly he, even as a post-millennial theonomist, says at this point government ought not to punish blasphemy, because we don't want to give sinful government leaders the power to enforce that, because the minute that we do, they're going to blaspheme themselves and take that to an extent that we never would want them to, and so I appreciate him defending, for instance, free speech in that book, but I think what he would say is that in a society, there's going to be a tipping point where there are enough Christians to where then we can begin to enforce punishment against blasphemy, and part of the problem is you try to ask these guys, okay, when is that tipping point, and they never really have a good answer. That's usually something like, well, let's just aim for that and see what happens, but again, I want to root us in the New Testament, and then what the New Testament promises, and I don't see any promise in the New Testament that things are going to get better and better and better to the point where full societies and even full nations will become Christian as nations.

I think what the New Testament promises is that yes, more and more people will come to faith, more and more people will be added to the church, the gates of hell will not be able to stand against the church, but at the same time, society will wax worse and worse, and we should expect persecution, and we should expect oppression even, not that we want that, and not that there are not times in which there are glimmers of light and better societies than others, there absolutely are, and we should strive for that, but at the same time, we ought not be striving for something like a Christian nation or Christendom, because the New Testament does not actually prescribe that that be what we ought to be doing or that that's what government ought to be doing in this age before Jesus comes again. Scott Annual is our guest today here on the Christian Worldview radio program as we talk about is Christian nationalism the solution to America's societal decline. He is the professor of pastoral theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary, also works for G3 Ministries.

We'll have more with Scott after this short break. You are listening to the Christian Worldview radio program. I'm David Wheaton. We've largely lost the honor and the nobility and the glory of biblical manhood, and so many young men are not trained to be a leader, a protector, and a provider in a Christ-like way. That then creates the actual end product of young men who don't know how to be a man, so we've largely lost the script for what being a biblical man is. That was Owen Strand, author of the excellent book The War on Men. This is a book for the entire family to read, understand, and then pursue what biblical manhood is.

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Welcome back to the Christian Worldview. I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianworldview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry.

Scott Annual is our guest today. He's a professor of pastoral theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He also works for G3 Ministries as well. We're discussing the question, is Christian nationalism the solution to America's societal decline?

William Wolfe, I think you probably know who he is. I think he could consider himself a Christian nationalist. He's a former deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Defense during Donald Trump's administration. He's also a visiting fellow.

I think it's at the American Renewal Center. Correct me if I'm wrong. He tweeted this. He said, it's not hard to make a strong biblical case for Christian nationalism. What's impossible is making a biblical case for godless secular globalism.

Again, he's kind of creating that vineyard, like there's nothing in between. He included some passages of scripture here. He said some scriptural support for Christian nationalism.

Not exhaustive, he says. Psalm 2, therefore, you kings, be wise, be warned, you rulers of the earth, serve the Lord. It's a command here. Serve the Lord, rulers of the earth, with fear and celebrate His rule with trembling. Kiss His Son, or He will be angry, and your way will lead to your destruction. Then he gets into Romans 13, for the one in authority is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid for rulers.

Do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God's servants, agents of wrath, to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. And then he writes as a note, Paul twice repeats the teaching that government is God's servant, in particular that this servant of God must exercise his derivative authority for his derivative authority for the good of the people he governs. He says, consider this, in order for servants to be faithful, they must, number one, know who their master is, God, and know what their master expects of them. Number two, number three, discharge their duties faithfully. And he says, should we be globalists?

No, that's an effort to rebuild Babel. Therefore, we should be nationalists. Then what kind of nationalists should we be? And he says, Christian. And then he goes into quoting the Great Commission as well. And you've already alluded to this, Scott, that there's that perspective of the Christian nationalist perspective. And by the way, even outside conservative Christianity, there's more aggressive versions of Christian nationalists than probably he represents there, taking up arms and so forth. In the way the Biden administration would represent who Christians are, they think there's going to be, you know, insurrection, a return here.

So on the one hand, you have that version that I just read from William Wolfe. On the other hand, it's been what you've been describing, where Christ and the apostles in the early church didn't pursue civil Christianity, I don't think even at all, but rather a personal and ecclesial Christianity. So talk more about how your comment or the phrase you use that, we're called to have Christian faithfulness rather than Christian nationalist.

Right. So again, I think there's a false binary presented there. Again, the alternative to Christian nationalism is not secular as globalism. How I've articulated it in some articles is that I would say it's Christian faithfulness. Again, we ought to be Christian in the public sphere. God commands us to be holy, commands us to render to Caesar what is Caesar's, commands us to pray for magistrates, commands us to do good into all men, commands us to live peaceably with all.

And so we should vote, we should stand up. You know, if you want to quote Psalm 2, amen, right? I think we should call kings and magistrates to kiss the son lest he be angry and they perish in the way.

But what does that mean? That means submission in repentant faith to Jesus Christ as their savior and Lord. Unfortunately, what we often see with these Christian nationalists is they almost want the magistrates to affirm Jesus as Lord, but without actually believing in their heart. And again, as a Baptist, I want to say, no, we absolutely want to call them to faith. We regularly pray for President Biden that he would come to faith in Jesus Christ.

We pray that that happens. We ought to call them to faith. But then when they come to faith, then absolutely they ought to be Christian in the public sphere.

They don't hide their Christianity under a bushel. But then they also will recognize as government officials who are Christian, they want to do what God has prescribed government to do. And again, I would argue that in this New Testament age, God has not prescribed government to enforce all of the commands that God requires of Christians. Christians are required to obey the commands of the Lord and unbelievers are required to, but they can't until they believe in repentant faith.

It's not the government's job to do that. So the big point of disagreement that I would have there on Romans 13, what is important to recognize there is that Romans 13 calls magistrates servants of God, not because the pagan Roman governors that Paul is talking about acknowledge that fact, not because they recognize it or even are intentionally trying to be servants of God. They didn't believe it. They were servants of God, Paul said, when they carried out God's wrath. I think similarly to how the Lord called King Cyrus in Isaiah 45 one, his anointed, because he used Cyrus to send his people back to the promised land. So God appoints governors and when governors do punish evil and reward good, when they obey what God has prescribed, for example, in Genesis 9 in capital punishment against murder, they are serving as servants of God, whether or not they acknowledge it or even believe it. There's no mandate there. The mandate is that they believe in Jesus Christ. And then yes, if they come to faith, that they live out that Christian faith in the sphere of life to which God has called them, in this case, the civil magistrate. But again, that is different from saying it's the magistrate's role to, as one Christian nationalist author said, lead people into the heavenly presence of God. That's not the magistrate's role to enforce biblical Christianity. That's the church's role to spread the gospel, to see people come to faith and discipled, to then live out their Christian faithfulness in every sphere of life, family, church, and in the public sphere and in human vocations, every sphere of life, our Christianity ought to impact and influence every single thing that we do.

Amen to that. Scott Annual with us today here on The Christian Real View. Scott, you take it a step further in the series of articles and we have these linked at our website thechristianrealview.org. We really encourage listeners to read these articles, very thought provoking.

I think they're very good. You say there are definite benefits to having a quote unquote Christian nation, the issues of freedom. I mean, Western civilization was so formed and shaped and blessed by having a Christian, you know, general ethic going on. The freedoms, the morality, the cultural things that took place, the beauty of art and so forth.

So you explain the benefits of what those things were like in parts of Europe, England specifically, maybe earlier time in America. But you also say there are weaknesses of when a kind of Christendom or Christian nationalism takes hold in a country. For instance, you write, these very external blessings, freedom, morality, culture and so forth also possess a devastating effect. Christendom creates a cultural Christianity that actually hinders the church's mission of making disciples. Since in a Christian nation the very fabric of society is considered quote Christian, citizens of such a nation do not recognize their inherent depravity and need to repent of their sin and put their unreserved faith in Christ alone for their salvation. In the consciousness of such citizens, quote unquote Christian nations, they are Christian by virtue of their citizenship. I'm born in America, so I'm a Christian, right? I was born and baptized in a church when I was an infant and I'm buried in a Christian church later on in life, they would say. There is no opt-in, you write, to Christianity and Christendom. Citizens have already been baptized into the Christian community.

Just a couple more sentences here. Consider the Bible belt in the southern United States, for example. How many people fail to put their trust in Christ because they do not even recognize their need due to the fact that a form of cultural Christianity still dominates in much of the south?

How many evangelical mega churches are filled with nominal cultural Christians? Didn't even talk about the theocracy of Israel. People forced in the conformity of God's law wasn't enough to bring them into true saving faith.

So the pushback on this is, well yeah, that's true. There is a dulling when there's a Christian culture all around us. Makes nominal cultural Christians who aren't truly saved. At the same rate, our culture right now, that's hugely secular, sin isn't even viewed as sin now. People don't even realize that they call what is sinful good. They don't have any conviction of sin either. They don't see their need for salvation.

They think they're going the right way. So doesn't God work sovereignly, whether you're in a nominal cultural Christianity situation or in a society of today that we are just pagan secular globalist Marxist worldview? Absolutely. I mean, I think we affirm God's sovereignty and God can work in whatever situation and does work in whatever situation. That's not at question whatsoever. And also what's not at question, and I tried to articulate this in that particular article in which I'm evaluating this Christendom. You mentioned this conference Christendom 2.0. Well, they're pointing back to Christendom 1.0 when church and state were united because of Constantine and especially Emperor Theodosius in the fourth century, which had a lot of effects in Western civilization. What's not in question is whether or not that's better than a secular pagan society in which there's transing kids and abortion and all these horrible things. Of course it's better. There's people commonly, you know, saying online Christian nationalism is better than transing kids. Well, of course it is, but that's not the question. The question is what are we permitted to do as God's people and what is government committed to do?

And that's what I'm evaluating there. So we see the benefits of Christendom 1.0. There were benefits, but I would actually argue that the negatives outweigh the benefits in that it created a lot of people who thought they were Christian by virtue of their culture, by virtue of them being in a Christian nation, who nevertheless went to hell because they did not believe in their hearts. You read the line there about using the idea of baptism. Along with post-millennialism, the other sort of foundational principle that I think is at the heart of Christian nationalists is a sort of pedobaptist underlying theology. That doesn't mean all Christian nationalists are pedobaptists, but they do in a sense apply the same logic.

And that is you establish a culture of Christianity, you in a sense baptize people into a Christian community in which Christian morality is enforced, hoping that that will contribute to them actually coming to personal faith in Christ down the road. And what we've seen historically is that is simply not the case. In fact, I would say let's look at our country in which every U.S. president in my lifetime has claimed to be a Christian. And arguably not a single one of them has, maybe one.

But why is that the case? It's because we live in a quote-unquote Christian nation where being a Christian gains you political capital to where even a Barack Obama and a Bill and Hillary Clinton claim to be Christian. And we've weakened the nature of what Christianity is. We've come to define Christianity as simply a label and a cultural Christianity, a civic Christianity, which actually hinders our ability to spread the gospel. You mentioned people today live in sin and don't recognize it, but actually that's better for the sake of the gospel because we can then preach the gospel to them.

We can show them from the law of God how they do not match up to God's standard. And then the Holy Spirit will take that and will convict them of sin, lead them to trust and faith in Christ. The problem is when you try to evangelize your neighbor and because they grew up in a Christian nation, they say, well, I'm a Christian. Of course I'm a Christian.

It's almost, you've got to get them unsaved before you can get them saved. I would fully admit I'm thankful for the influence of cultural Christianity, just from a purely pragmatic perspective, I'm thankful for it. For the sake of the gospel, it's not A, what has been allowed or permitted or mandated for us in the New Testament, and B, it actually hinders the spread of the gospel because a lot of people are nominal Christians when they don't actually believe in their hearts in Jesus Christ. Yes, that's reminiscent of Jesus' warning in the Sermon on the Mount when he says, not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven. There are many who profess, but far less who actually possess genuine saving faith. Our guest is Scott Annual today from G3 Ministries.

We'll take a quick break. More coming up on the Christian worldview. I'm David Wheaton. What is the Christian worldview radio program really about? Fundamentally, it's about impacting people, families, churches with the life and eternity-changing truth of God's word. We know the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that saves us from God's wrath, by God's grace, for God's glory.

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Who could be better for us? What does he then explain? That was Pastor Costi Hinn, who was raised in and then saved from the distortions of the Holy Spirit that are so prevalent today. Costi's new book, Knowing the Spirit, Who He Is, What He Does, and How He Can Transform Your Christian Life, graciously clarifies truth from error and is available for a donation of any amount to the Christian Real View. To order this 261-page softcover book that retails for $19.99, go to thechristianrealview.org, or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Welcome back to The Christian Real View. I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianrealview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry.

Scott Annual is our guest today. He's a professor of pastoral theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. We're discussing the question, Is Christian nationalism the solution to America's societal decline? I understand the Bible that teaches that Christ will reign for a little thousand years on earth. Toward the end of the column we've been discussing, you say, The problem is that many Christians today are unwilling to be content with the tensions that God has ordained during this already-not-yet period until Jesus comes again. You've been talking about this middle ground between Christian nationalism and the radical secular humanism we see today. We long for Christ's kingdom on earth, and that is a good longing. We ought to pursue the moral blessings of Christ's kingdom in our homes and in our churches. But God has not promised the blessings of Christ's kingdom for nations of unregenerate people. Those blessings will come when Jesus comes again and takes dominion overall, when every knee will bow to Him, when every citizen of His earthly kingdom will also be a regenerate citizen of His heavenly kingdom. So the millennium, I think you're saying here, the millennium starts with 100% believers.

That changes over time, but that's how it starts. Until Jesus comes again, we live in the tensions portrayed for us in the New Testament. Ultimately, we must recognize that the mandate given to us as churches is not to take dominion and establish Christendom. Our mandate is to make disciples from every nation. Matthew 28, in Revelation 5, you quote, baptizing those who have been regenerated by the Spirit through the proclamation of the Gospel, adding them to our number, and teaching them to observe everything Christ commanded.

Two-part question here. What is it going to look like when Jesus reigns during the millennium? How is He going to deal with the sinfulness that will eventually crop up during His reign?

And the second part of that question is kind of the Francis Schaeffer question, so how should we then live, Christians living today, what should be a few things we should take away from our discussion? Premillennialists and amillennialists are going to differ to a certain extent as to how Christ is going to reign after He comes again. Premillennialists, as you summarized, believe that it will be a thousand-year reign on this earth that will start with believers, believers will have children, and then those children will grow up, and they will need also to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and therefore there will be sin and sinners. But again, from a premillennial standpoint, Christ will rule with a rod of iron, and so exactly what the Christian nationalists are pushing for will be the case in a premillennial schema during that kingdom.

From an amillennial standpoint, they don't believe in a literal millennium on this earth, but they would say that Jesus will reign on the new earth. Both agree, premillennialists and amillennialists, that the reign, though, and the rule from the top, doesn't happen until Jesus comes again. Again, differing from post-millennialism that wants to see that happen before Christ comes again. Interestingly, post-millennialism and premillennialism agree that Jesus will reign on this earth, the difference being that post-millennialists just say that He's reigning on this earth right now through the church, and eventually as the church influences the magistrate. So there's interesting areas of overlap, but you know, to answer your question, again, from a premillennial schema, Jesus will rule with a rod of iron. So when there is sin, it won't be able to take root in anywhere near the same way that it does during this age, because church and state will be united, because there will be one ruler who is enforcing all of the moral law of God, punishing blasphemy, enforcing true worship of God, and so forth.

And then from a premillennial view, at the end, when there's a final uprising, again, it's not going to be long. Jesus is going to simply defeat it. So that's, again, the big divide sort of eschatologically, and where on this issue, a premillennial position and an amillennial position would have a lot in common, arguing that the rule of Christ over the civic sphere will not take place in its totality until Jesus comes again.

What should we be doing now? Well, again, this is what the New Testament teaches us. As Christians, we ought to be spreading the gospel, making disciples from every nation, seeing people added to our church and discipled in biblical truth and doctrine, doing that within our own families, and then living out what it means to be a disciple. That's what I mean by Christian faithfulness in every sphere of life. If you're a Christian and you're a mayor, if you're a Christian and you get to be president of the United States, well, you don't hide your Christianity.

You publicly proclaim it. You live out your Christian faith, but also recognizing that it's not your role to enforce the first commandment or the second commandment or the third commandment, but you still live out your Christian faith. As those of us who are not in government roles, we live out our Christian beliefs in whatever vocation God has called us to. We be public about our Christianity. We call our leaders to repentance.

Again, we vote for the best possible scenarios we can manage to hold back the full extent of depravity in our society, stand up for equal justice under the law for preborn, all of that. All of that, we be faithful as God has commanded us to, fully expecting that there will be persecution as Christ has promised, and longing for the day when our King Jesus will come again and will establish his kingdom on earth. And in that day, we can look forward to all of God's moral law being enforced by the King. Yeah, we do look forward to that day, especially living in the society we do today. Scott, thank you so much for your faithfulness to God's Word, your ability, that your God-given ability to really dig into these issues and articulate some of the distinctions and what the Word of God says.

And it's an important conversation, and I think it's been made come really prominent as our society has declined so much morally. So thank you again for coming on the Christian Rule of Your Radio Program. Just all of God's best to you, your family, Grace Bible Theological Seminary and G3 Ministries as well. Thanks so much for having me, enjoyed it. Again, our guest was Scott Annual, and we have links to him at our website, thechristianrealview.org.

We also have links to three columns that are relevant to what we discussed today on Christian nationalism. So just some concluding thoughts on this issue, and the first one is, how do we get to the point that we are currently at in America? The simple answer is this, is that sin is just like leaven that you put in bread.

It permeates, it expands, it corrupts everything. And so over time as the church has been compromised and as there are more and more unregenerate, non-believing people in our nation, well, unregenerate people make foolish decisions. They have unrepentant wickedness in their life, and then they vote for those who represent their life and viewpoints. Now, America started with some true Christians and others who at least respected the Christian religion, and so they enacted laws and policies that reflected their worldview. That's why children were taught the Bible in school, can you imagine that?

People went to church on Sundays, things like sodomy and prostitution were illegal, and certainly drug use was not legalized. Now, the controlling institutions of our society are basically described by Romans chapter one. But getting to the question of the day, is Christian nationalism the solution to America's societal decline? Christian-based government would be good for a nation and for a people. God's will and ways always promote human flourishing.

But the problem is, how to achieve that? Is that even possible anymore with a degree of the corruption of sin in our country? And where else has a kind of Christian nationalism been tried? Has it worked?

Has it lasted? Would there be anything neglected if all Christians were all in on working for a Christian nationalistic government? And where is the basis in the New Testament to work toward a Christian government? There are prescriptions for what leaders should do, they should promote good and punish evil, like it says in Romans 13, but we find no command for Christians to put at the top of the priority list to Christianize government. Just consider what Jesus said and did during his ministry. He never spent one moment working to Christianize government, but he spent all his time evangelizing and discipling people. Or consider what the apostles did when the church age started. They did the same as Jesus.

They worked to start churches and disciple believers and proclaim the gospel to unbelievers. They spent no time trying to change or Christianize the Roman government. Consider how the Roman Empire ended up when it did become a Christian government and ended up merging with the Roman Catholic Church and how much corruption and abuse that brought forth. Or consider how Great Britain has done, having an official Protestant church, the Church of England, and that country is basically the same as America today, even though it does have quote-unquote a Christian government and quote Christian laws.

They're just basically ignored and compromised. And also consider what the book of Revelation says, what the world will be like before Christ returns. There's no picture there of anything to do with a Christianized world. So we know what Jesus commanded in his last words. He said in the Great Commission in Matthew 28, all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing him in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.

And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Now he could have said, go and make your governments and laws Christian, but he didn't. He said to make disciples and teach them. So the Christian life is about prioritizing God's commands, and God commands us to be saved and sanctified. He commands us to be evangelizing and discipling.

There's the Great Commission. He commands believers to be engaged in their local church, to have strong marriages and to raise children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. He commands us to work and provide for our own and for others. Those are the big priorities that scripture commands.

Each of us has a finite amount of time and energy. If political activism trying to Christianize government causes any of these greater priorities to lack, it's really disobedience to God's commands. That being said, if you have time or a calling to work toward Christian leaders and laws, you by all means should do it. All of us should be informed and vote and support candidates and laws that promote good and punish evil at minimum. Because really, we don't have a government problem, we have a people problem, a sinner problem. And the only way those sinners, whether regular citizens or those who lead us, will change is if they believe the gospel.

And the only way Christians will be elected in majority numbers will be if there are more like-minded Christians to elect them. So let's be reminded what God's word says in 1 Timothy 2. I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgiving be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. So we pray, O Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, who rules over the universe and determines the rise and fall of nations, who we all will stand before in judgment someday, we pray for our leaders. For those who resist you, Father, we pray that you would bring unrelenting conviction on them, to bring them to repentance and faith in you.

If they persist in their disobedience, Lord, we implore you that you would hinder their wicked ways. For you have said, O King, show discernment, take warning, O judges of the earth, worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling, do homage to the Son, that he not become angry and you perish in the way, for his wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in him.

But for those leaders, Lord, who do take refuge in you, overflow them with wisdom and boldness and perseverance and protection. Lord, you made Christ, who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. If there are any listening today who have not placed their faith in that atoning work of Jesus Christ, may they repent and believe in Christ today for salvation. And it's in his name I pray.

Amen. Thank you for joining us today on the Christian Worldview radio program. Until next time, think biblically, live accordingly, and stand firm. The mission of the Christian Worldview is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. We hope today's broadcast encouraged you toward that end. To hear a replay of today's program, order a transcript, or find out what must I do to be saved, go to thechristianworldview.org or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233. The Christian Worldview is a listener-supported nonprofit radio ministry furnished by the Overcomer Foundation. To make a donation, become a Christian Worldview partner, order resources, subscribe to our free newsletter, or contact us, visit thechristianworldview.org, call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Thanks for listening to the Christian Worldview.
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