Whether Christian Nationalism Misrepresents Jesus As Jonathan Leeman Supposes – The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show
Titled ‘“Christian Nationalism” Misrepresents Jesus, So We Should Reject It,’ Jonathan Leeman, Editorial Director at 9Marks, published his article on October 31st. His said piece was subsequently sent to me by JP Chavez, my neighbor two houses down.
What do I find in reading it? Only that Leeman argues for dropping the label ‘Christian Nationalism’ on the grounds that many people can’t tell the difference between two distinct ways of meaning the term. On the one hand, there are those like him who hold that Christianity should influence our nation and its laws; on the other hand, others suppose our nation and government should actually identify as Christian.
Yet Leeman takes the second possibility to mean that those who agree with it are wishing the government of the United States would establish a state church, or that they mistakenly suppose it’s just that easy to convert a whole country to personal faith in Christ. Yet I know I at least am not arguing for the state to establish a church. And that being the case, Leeman would likely put me in the influencers category. But I also know that I am under no illusions that a Christian nation, so-called, either requires or else claims that all the citizens or residents of that nation are themselves Christians.
For his part, Leeman seems deeply troubled by at least some particular kinds of slippery slopes, at least when he spots them in certain quarters. Yet I wonder if this concern must apply equally to all sides in these kinds of debates, or else not at all. Avoidance of slippery slopes can become its own slippery slope, after all.
Wondering aside, the ideal is not to resign ourselves to passive influence. We ought to want that all our countrymen would really and truly become Christians. Furthermore, it seems good to me that our nation would really and truly persist in being one which God, in His infinite goodness and grace, promises to both bless and prosper. Therefore, it seems to me that every square inch of progress in that direction is desirable. Otherwise, what’s the point of our influence? Or what is our expectation? Would we suppose there is no jackpot scenario in which Christian influence might come to full fruition?
Admittedly, how national Christian identity is not that, in Leeman’s view, is baffling to me.
Contrary to what Leeman seems to think, I have never understood those who say America formerly was a Christian nation to mean that all Americans were Christians at some past point in our history which we want to get back to. But then that is alright, because we all should understand what they are actually saying.
We need not say every last man, woman, and child in America is a Christian in order to say that America is a Christian nation, any more than we would say that every citizen of China must be a communist in order to call that country a communist nation, or that every citizen of Saudi Arabia must be a Muslim to call that country a Muslim nation. That is, we all understand in these other cases what is being said.
So why doesn’t Leeman understand what proponents of so-called Christian nationalism for America are saying? Perhaps he is too busy trying to understand what the secularists and status quo proponents claim and argue.
Conversely, not every citizen of the United States of America need be a secular humanist, pluralist, or Progressive for us to say these terms have typified the kind of country the U.S. has been for at least several decades. Yet I suppose by Leeman’s reasoning, we all must be, if that is what is said of America right now.
Either that, or America is a kind of Schrodinger’s cat. Theologically, philosophically, politically, and socially, ours is both a godless country and not a godless country, all at the same time. Or maybe another possibility exists which makes more sense of Leeman’s position – that the rules for his outlook change depending on whether we are calling for a maintenance of the current status quo, or championing a return to Christian morality.
In conclusion for now, having so many questions as I do in reading his article, between now and when Mr. Leeman answers them, I must reject his argument. He claims that Christian nationalism misrepresents Jesus, and therefore we must reject it. But I think Mr. Leeman misrepresents Christian nationalism.
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