We should all remember that Christ in the Scriptures does receive the nations as his inheritance. Political dominance is his due. But the trouble with Satan’s temptation in the desert was not that Christ had no business receiving the nations. Instead, the trouble with Satan’s temptation is that Satan is in no place to give these things to Christ, to whom they already were due and rightfully belonged.
Note how the terms of service were submission to Satan. The transaction was predicated on affirming the tempter and temptation as having authority over Christ. That could not be borne. Thankfully it was not. And that is a very happy thing for us.
But generally speaking, political dominance needs unpacked and defined. Politics is just the business of the polis or city. And dominance could be an overstating of what is at root a legitimate wielding of rightful authority. Exercising dominion over all the Earth as God’s image-bearers is irrefutably our mandate from God as a race since first Adam and then Noah.
See also here an article titled ‘The Uselessness of “Christian Nationalism”’ by Miles Smith published at Mere Orthodoxy. Miles Smith is a historian of the American South and a native Carolinian; he can also be found on the ‘Paleo Protestant’ podcast.
See also here a recent episode of ‘First Things Podcast’ titled “The Greatest Statesmen Are Thinkers” where Daniel J Mahony joins Mark Bauerlein to discuss his recent book, “The Statesman as Thinker: Portraits of Greatness, Courage, and Moderation.”
In this episode, consider a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville regarding Napoleon Bonaparte, that “He was as great as a man could be without being good.”
For that matter, consider another quote – this one from Napoleon himself. “They wanted me to be another Washington,” he said.
Why then must we all be treated to lectures about spirituality, propriety, the gospel, and culture wars anytime a Christian speaks of “the city” relative the righteous and the wicked?
“When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness. By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.”
Notice here that the overthrowing of a city begins with what the wicked are saying. And shouldn’t we want it to go well with the righteous and for the city to rejoice?
Why then must we all be subjected to shaming and ostracization about carnality, fleshliness, selfish ambition, conceit, cultural Christianity, and needing to remember the hereafter anytime a Christian speaks of “a nation” relative righteousness and sin?
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Notice here that nations and peoples – including but not limited to Israel – are reproached or else exalted based on righteousness and sin. And should we not want our nation to be exalted? And should we not want our people to be free of reproach?
Why then must we all be oppressed by finger-wagging about materialism and prosperity gospel anytime a Christian speaks of “increase”?
‘When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”
Notice here that the people celebrate when the righteous are doing well because it’s common knowledge and all are aware and can see that the righteous are prospering. And should we not want the righteous to profit and prosper and derive benefit in public life? If not, I dare ask why not.
Miles Smith is right, then. The term ‘Christian Nationalism’ is being defined and employed so broadly as to encompass Christians who believe these verses as true and good, informing our civic duty and lending not only liberty but responsibility before God to take notice and care with the well-being of the city.
This is of a piece with how by the mouth of the wicked the city is overthrown, in contrast to the blessing of the upright. When we can no longer distinguish between who the righteous and wicked are, we are undone.
And when these categories are crossed – with us believing the wicked are righteous and the righteous are wicked – the governing authority the Apostle Paul wrote of in the thirteenth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans will wield the sword for something accordingly. Only he will reward those doing evil and punish those doing good.
Whatever non-Christians and increasingly thorough secularists suppose on the front-end about how much fun that will be to give it a try, and how they’ll be able to hold it in check and steer such dynamics to a profitable end for themselves, the dustbin of history is replete with the ruins of nations and peoples which found out the hard way that is not so.
When the wind is sown, the whirlwind is reaped until either repentance or destruction. But the example of ancient Rome so oft held up as instructive shows that when judgment is nigh, the pagans are all too happy to double down and blame Christians in their midst even harder. Once more with feeling, they labor to excise the influence of the little Christs, as we were pejoratively called.
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