Review of Presentation Claiming Christian Nationalism is Not Christian

Note: in the ten minutes (or less) that it takes you to read this, I saved you from wasting an additional two hours of your life watching the video that I reviewed. My notes were made as I watched this video, so they are jumpy.

Here in north Idaho, there is a church that is preaching against Christian Nationalism. This is not too remarkable to me since many claiming the name of Christ are not really Christians, but this instance is different. Why? Because this congregation controls a political action committee. This PAC has been a tool wielded against conservative Christian candidates. Since they have interjected themselves into the public square, I had decided to critique their claims.

Before I begin, I have a few comments.

First, there is no such thing as Christian Nationalism. This term is a strawman constructed by the Left to hammer conservatives and Christians. There is no leader of Christian Nationalism because there are no dues, membership, or anything else. It’s just a label that Liberals use to pigeonhole folks that they don’t like. Christian Nationalism is a category of people that the Left wish to dismiss in much the same way as dog excrement on the bottom of their designer shoes.

That being said, many conservatives and Christians have decided to “own” the label. For those ignorant in history or who spent too much time in public school, the name “Christian” was coined by the opponents of Jesus as a way to insult and belittle His followers. Instead of fighting the label, the Church decided to own it and thus were OK to be called something intended as an insult.

Anyone can claim to be a Christian Nationalist or called that by anyone that wishes to belittle them or be dismissive of their views of a conservative. The term itself has little to no context or content. However, why let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory?

Lastly, some folks call themselves Christian Nationalists just to get a rise from the Left and folks at places like the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League.

Some Christians don’t like the label because it is an inaccurate summary of their beliefs.

Anyway, The Berean Church in Sandpoint Idaho has managed to construct a two-hour presentation on the evils of Christian Nationalism. What follows will be a few comments on their presentation. The video is bookmarked in two locations.

Berean Website

The presentation is given by three individuals. Parts I and IV are by a black gentleman that is not identified, the next portion is given by the pastor, Michael Kohl, and a third part is by another fellow. Parts of the audio are faint and hard to understand. The video was posted to YouTube on Jan 19, 2024.

Kohl graduated for Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia which is Presbyterian and also attended the Reformed Episcopal Seminary (Philadelphia). He was in the Presbyterian Church In America (PCA) a somewhat liberal Presbyterian denomination, and has also worked in Brethren and independent Churches. The church’s statement of faith is the Five Protestant Solas with no elaboration.

Part I

This presentation begins with a PowerPoint slide Understanding the backdrop.

The four bullet points which are explained in more detail later are:

  • What is the term Christian Nationalism?
  • Who are the thought leaders of modern Christian Nationalism?
  • Mapping out the Christian Nationalism operation
  • Discovering how it matters to Idaho

First up is a video clip which is a promo for Rob Reiner’s movie attacking Christianity, God and Country. By-the-way, this turkey really bombed at the box office so don’t feel bad if you never saw it. Oh, Reiner hates Christians and always has.

My Comment on God and Country

The Hollywood reporter says of the film:

And, as the film points out in exhaustive detail, Christian Nationalism is very much a political, rather than religious, movement. The movement posits that America is a Christian nation and that the founders intended it as such. It seeks to roll back feminism, LBGTQ rights and abortion, and to either introduce Christianity to public schools or substitute them with private Christian schools funded by vouchers.

‘God & Country’ Review: A Bracing, Rob Reiner-Produced Primer on the Dangers of Christian Nationalism

Any rational Christian believes all the things lamented by the Hollywood Reporter.

Back to the presentation

The presenter then critiques the Reiner promo and then steers people to Wikipedia for a definition of Christian Nationalism. He says he doesn’t like Liberals critiquing Christian Nationalism but then uses them as a source to do so. This is circular reasoning. He then keys on the names Andrew Torba and Nick Fuentes because they are mentioned by Wikipedia.

First up is a critique of Nick Fuentes. The clip shown is Fuentes talking of tearing down inclusive forces and kicking the Republican Party in the butt. I can tell you what’s probably coming next because Nick mentioned the word “white” and that is the racism card. In the context of DEI, Nick is right to say white people, and doubly so if they’re male, get screwed by the Democrat quota system.

I resumed the clip and Fuentes says he wants to drag the Republican Party back inside the doors of the church. FYI in the early years of the Republican Party, the Republican Party was called the Episcopal Church at prayer. The anti-slavery movement was largely a Christian one and was instrumental in the foundation of the Republican Party.

Then the presenter goes to Vincent James Foxx. Online, he goes by Vincent James. Vincent is a Republican and a self-identified Roman Catholic.

My comments on Vincent James

Vincent spends most of his podcasts talking against illegal immigration, discrimination against white people—a rection or pushback to those pushing DEI—and he points out the part played by prominent Jewish people in promoting the tearing-down of our institutions. He is not anti-Semitic, but against Jewish people born in America that have more allegiance to Israel than America. He makes it clear—if you listen—that he doesn’t hate Jews as a group be disagrees with wealthy Jewish people that teardown others to get special advantages for themselves and their allies. Rarely does he talk of Christianity except as it is affected by things like the recently adopted federal bill which gives special protections against anti-Semitic speech. This bill adopts language defining anti-Semitism which was written by a Jewish special interest group. It prohibits speaking against Zionism and makes the biblical account of Jesus’ crucifixion illegal. Yet, it got the full support of Zionist Christians but makes essential parts of the Gospel illegal to say. I think we will have more to say about Dispensational, premillennial theology before this presentation is concluded but we will see.

Back to the presentation.

The presenter plays a clip of Vincent being sarcastic and over the top talking about Christian Nationalism rolling back liberal social policy. Oh, but the presenter doesn’t really acknowledge that James is being sarcastic but takes him literally which in reality is taking him out of context. Folks, you don’t get thousands of followers online without some showmanship in your presentation. Vincent James has about 70 thousand followers on his Bitchute channel. He is on Rumble and several other places as well.

After a quick clip of James, the presenter goes on to some guy named Dave Reily. Dave Reily was recently hired by the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF). IFF is not a part of Christian Nationalism they lean libertarian, so I don’t know why it matters.

Somehow some of these guys are Facebook friends or something like that or they reposted a meme that someone put online so now they are all part of some great conspiracy. This is really a stretch.

Switching gears slightly we then go to Andrew Torba of the website Gab. Gab is a site dedicated to free speech. It is intended to be a safe haven for Christians and other that don’t wish to be censored by BIG Tech. Vincent James has a page on Gab which is where I first come across him. Torba wrote a book on Christian Nationalism that sounds like mash-up of parts of How the Irish Saved Civilization and Christian Reconstruction.

In this book, Torba has a recommended reading section. The presenter cherry picks three guys, Doug Wilson and two of his fellow travelers in Moscow Idaho. Please note that he ignores everyone else on the list.

My Comments on Berean’s Treatment of Andrew Torba

This entire presentation of over two hours never once quotes from Andrew Torba or his book on Christian Nationalism. Nor does it quote from anyone else writing on the topic. I suspect because Torba is repackaging Theonomy and Christian Reconstruction, whereas Stephen Wolfe’s book is on political theory. Political Theory is what should be but normally omits how to get there. The reader is left with the challenge of how to implement the ideas presented.

Back to the presentation

Also, please note that we have crossed the line from Roman Catholic to Protestant people. Torba, Wilson, and others have a much more biblical and higher view of Scripture and how it should be applied to public policy than Vincent James and others.

Wilson then gets attacked by the presenter for one line in one book that Wilson wrote. Folks Wilson has written hundreds of books, articles, and other documents. Look, He is a prolific writer. I know that Wilson has many supporters and detractors but to dismiss him outright on the basis of one sentence is sloppy and disingenuous.

Oh, here is the offending statement.

But breaking covenant occurs because of unbelief, lack of faith, and because of lack of good works.

Whether this is related to James and the faith and works debate is not stated since we are denied context for the quotation.

Then the presenter goes after Peter Leithart for this quote which is never put into context.

Salvation must take a social form, and the Church is that social form of salvation, the community that already (though imperfectly) has become the human race as God created it to be, the human race that is becoming what God intends it to be. The Church is neither a reservoir of grace nor an external support for the Christian life. The Church is salvation.

This sounds like a variation of St. Cyprian, “No one can have God for his Father, who does not have the Church for his mother.”

Whatever larger point Leithart is making is never given. As Walter Martin famously said, “A text without a context, is a pretext, usually for error.”

On the basis of this quote, the presenter expects us to dismiss Leithart too.

Stephen Wolfe wrote “The Case for Christian Nationalism.” Many of their PowerPoint slides have the first name spelled a “Steven” not “Stephen.”

Drum roll, and the single pull quote from his book is:

I am not calling for a monarchial regime over every civil polity, and certainly not an autocracy, though I envision a measured and theocratic Caesarism—the prince as world-shaker for our time, who brings a Christian people to self-consciousness and who, in his rise, restores their will for good.

Again, this quote is presented without context. I can think of several possible and contradictory understandings of this quote but without context, we don’t know what the point of it really is. However, it really begs the question as to whether civil government should be based on God’s law or men’s. Ultimately these are the only two possibilities.

Wow. Surprise. We actually get a second quote from Wolfe. Presented again without context or elaboration.

Many claims in the book will worry many American conservative Christians. I’ve said that political governments can suppress false religion, establish a church, even require people to attend church. I also wrote about a ‘Christian prince,’ which is not the sort of political title one would find in America. I will not walk back those claims.

The presenter expects us to be shocked at the quote but should we really? First, we have no context for the above statement. However, I know that parts of it are easily proven true. Let’s look at a few parts of the above.

Politics can suppress false religion. Two examples. The United States outlawed the Mormon practice of polygamy. Currently, many are trying to outlaw displays of Satanic worship in public schools—especially as clubs on elementary campuses—and displays in public places. Plurality does have limits; especially, in a nation founded on Christian values. Oh, and don’t forget that all law is moral and an establishment of someone’s religion.

A State can establish a church. Yep, this is also a true statement. The majority of the 13 colonies had state sponsored churches when they ratified the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution only prohibits establishing a national church. Ditto for test oaths. Tax money also went to state sponsored churches to pay their clergy and other church expenses.

Requiring church attendance by citizens might be more problematic; however, it would not surprise me if the Pilgrims and other early settlers had such a requirement. Again, what is the context?

As for the “Christian Prince.” We are not given any context, however, my first thought is of Machiavelli’s book “The Prince.” Other ideas might include Constantine or a Trump-like figure that used Scripture as his guide to rule.

The presenter does not analyze this statement, just mocks it and dismisses it out of hand.

Congratulations. You have now endured about 38 minutes of this presentation.

Part II

With a horrible, stutter of the video, we then get a new presenter, that I assume is Pastor Kohl.

We will now get a theological critique of Christian Nationalism… well maybe.

Rev Kohl starts with a definition of Christianity or says he will, then takes a detour of sorts thru the book of Romans. He tries contrasting the Apostle Paul versus Stephen Wolfe, but Wolfe is not given in context, just one sentence, again without context. Then he goes back to Genesis and talks about Abraham.

At this point Kohl slaps Doug Wilson on a quote dealing with baptism. Again, there is no context. I wonder if Wilson advocates infant baptism while Kohl does not. And who cares? What does this have to do with Christian Nationalism? Probably nothing.

On one of the slides, Kohl has Abraham’s son Isaac spelled as “Isac”. Another minus point for Kohl.

Then he jumps to Wolfe again with a series of quotes on nationalism that seem varied. As usual, they are presented without context. Then he jumps to Moses and quotes some stuff about his wife who may have been black. I’m not sure of his point. I think that Kohl is trying to build a foundation that Christian Nationalists are all racists. Hope he’s better than that. He is on a rant about groups and factions. I will wait and see where this goes.

Now he pulls a quote from Wolfe that says the invisible church and the visible church are the same group. Again, no context so I don’t know if there is more to this than stated. We also don’t know what Wolfe’s church affiliation is so we don’t know if we are defining terms the same way or differently? Lastly, as a practical matter, we don’t know the difference between the visible and invisible church, God is the one that sees men’s hearts and knows who is truly save not us.

The next Wolfe quote is:

But public heresy has the potential to harm other’s souls by causing doubt or distraction or by disrupting public peace. The magistrate, who must care for the souls of his people, may act to suppress that heresy.

In my mind, I think of claims that homosexuality, abortion, or transgenderism are biblically ok. This would be heresy that casts doubt and disrupts the public peace.

Kohl mocks this whole statement but by what standard does he expect us to be government if not the Bible?

Kohl rants on about the visible vs invisible church and that Christian Nationalists have this wrong as a way for them to lord power over the rest of us. He states this as fact but never proves it. The scholarship used to construct this presentation is really poor.

As I stated at the first, there is no leader of Christian Nationalism. It is a strawman invented by liberals. Some of us are ok to own the label instead of demanding a new or different one.

Kohl tries to make out fellow believers as Judaizers. He again spanks Doug Wilson on baptism. Based on the quotes cited, Wilson believes that baptism is membership into the covenant and thus a sign of one’s salvation. This is not a radical Christian view unless maybe you are a Baptist which Kohl doesn’t appear to be. Children that are baptized are treated as believers as long as they walk in the faith. Baptized children are presumed saved. They have covenant membership and should be allowed access to the Lord’s Table, Holy Communion, or whatever you want to call it. As they get older it is assumed that they will make the faith their own via a decision, confirmation, or some other act. If they don’t then a time may come when they are not longer covenant members in good standing.

There it goes, “Judaizers were the original Christian Nationalists.”

Kohl says, Christian Nationalists believe in Jesus plus something else as the basis of salvation and that is why they are wrong. I find this troublesome because he has produced zero quotes that this is the case. He hasn’t tied salvation to any sort of political movement. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

Kohl’s Three Card Monty lost the pea a long time ago, but his listeners are supposed to be in awe because the cups are still being shuffled about.

This presentation is empty of substance. The only point he has made so far is that there is a difference between the visible and invisible church and Mr. Wolfe might be shaky on that point. To me it’s a secondary issue.

I’m an hour and twenty minutes into this thing and I have yet to hear what Christian Nationalists want to do in a political way that is at variance with the Bible or why they are objectionable. Furthermore, what is the Berean Christian Fellowship’s more biblical alternative?

Mercifully it is intermission. I’m taking a pit stop. We have one hour remaining in this presentation.

Last I checked, I was a Christian Nationalist if I believed that my rights came from God and not government. Berean Christian Fellowship has done nothing to change that definition.

Part III

This section is presented by a third person. Again, none of the speakers have been introduced.

The presenter is promising to give a history of Christian Nationalism. He references the Roman Church and pulls a quote from Leithart that sounds rather Roman. I quote only the latter part:

… so there can be no Church without sacraments. Since there can be no salvation without the Church, since indeed, the Church is salvation, there is no salvation without the sacraments.

I can see why some might object to this statement, but what does it have to do with Christian Nationalism? The Church is the Bride of Christ so there is a sense in which this is true. Also, the Church is charged with administering the sacraments. Yes, technically salvation is thru the sacrifice of Christ but all those saved by Him are part of His Bride the Church. Again, without context, I feel that this quote is being manipulated by the presenters.

The next section is some history on the Reformation. In the midst of this topic, the presenter interjects another quote by Wolfe. Again, without context. The word “who” in this quote (below) could refer to God or the prince. I can’t tell which, but it makes a huge difference in the meaning of this sentence.

The prince enlivens laws not as an agent of coercion but as the divinely sanctioned vicar of God who binds conscience to just applications of natural law, as one who directs public reason.

The reoccurrence of “the prince’ makes me harken back to Machiavelli. It is worth asking if Wolfe believes Machiavelli’s The Prince was a serious treatise of politics or a satirical document. The former is the view of most academics, but the latter is my position on this work.

The presenter bashes the idea of the prince also being the spiritual leader of the nation. Whether Wolfe advocates this or is just mimicking Machiavelli or this is in a different context altogether is unknown. I think the presenter is trying to equate Wolfe’s ideas with an Anglican view of Christianity where the king is both political and spiritual head of the nation. The U.S. Constitution prohibits this from happening by outlawing a national church. King Saul (and later David & Jesus) exercised the offices of prophet, priest, and king at the same time. This is not the American system but is clearly a biblical idea.

The presenter then quotes some fellow named Dan Fisher for writing,

“[preachers] had been laying the groundwork for the [American] revolution by preaching for years that believers could not separate their religious convictions from their political positions and actions.”

Folks isn’t that what Christian Nationalists are advocating? Religious convictions should not be separated from their political positions and actions. In other words, your faith should be reflected in how you live your life the other six days of the week. What’s wrong with that?

Oh, the last sentence of the pull quote by Fisher is:

It was clear they saw no contradiction in mixing politics and religion.

The presenter keeps going back to Wolfe’s book and contrasting his view with other writings. Folks, it’s really dumb to do this. Who says they are followers of Wolfe? I’ve never met anyone who even knows who he is. I have looked at lots of videos by Vincent James and read stuff by Torba and Wilson and never heard of Wolfe or his ideas mentioned. This is a longform strawman presentation where we get to spank Wolfe like a piñata.

Finally, he gets to his point, “the American Revolution was a violation of Christian Nationalism.”

His thesis is that King James of England was a Christian Nationalist, and the Pilgrims were fleeing to American to escape Christian Nationalism. To these guys at Berean, Christian Nationalists want to destroy our country and establish a monarchy in its place. Sorry, I only met one guy in my life that ever wanted a monarchy in the United States, and he died last year.

Now the presenter is claiming to go to the Bible to see what it says about government. Oh, the time counter is at one hour, 47 minutes. Wanna bet they call themselves a Bible church?

Their first assertion is, “Political power comes ultimately from God but practically from the will of the people.” The presenter goes to the writings of Moses where Moses sets up the rulers of tens, hundreds, and thousands. Then to Saul and then David. He is trying to claim that the Old Testament political system was a republic like ours’.

He then goes to quotes, again and again by Wolfe, concerning the prince. I think it’s clear that Wolfe is not talking specifically about America and how it should be governed but it is an update to The Prince or written in much the same style as a political theory book.

Finally, two hours in, we get to Romans 13, a favorite home to heretics and antinomians that really believed the two-weeks-to-flatten-the-curve BS. After a cursory mention of the passage, we go to secular political theory with Hans Eysenck’s Theory of Government. Oh, another misspelling on their PowerPoint slides as his last name was spelled “Eyseneck”.

In the name of fairness, I went to the fount of all authority in political matters, at least for these presenters, Wikipedia. There I learned that Eysenck forged much of the data used on his work, and no one has been able to replicate key parts of it. The data used for his political information was manipulated as well. Then the presenter goes to several other charts on politics in rapid succession. A biblical model of how we should be governed or what the rules should be followed is no where to be seen. With ten minutes remaining, he gets to a model of American government that emphasizes four points:  the rule of law, limited government, government does not control access to God, and salvation is individual.

Part IV

Wow, with eight minutes left we get another part and another presenter. (same guy as Part I.)

This part is on Leftists and features only James Carville saying Christian Nationalists are a greater threat than Al Qaida.  The speaker then states that regular Christians are caught between the Leftists and the Christian Nationalists.

Berean’s Conclusion

  • Christian Nationalism in not Christian or American
  • Christian Nationalism is not the answer to our problems.
  • Christian Nationalism is just another flavor of tyranny.
  • Have an answer based on biblical principles on which our nation was founded.

Berean Church has carefully cherrypicked Christian Nationalism to make a case that can’t really be made. If they were honest then they would have dealt with Torba’s book on Christian Nationalism as well as Stephen Wolfe’s. Dominion is not mentioned at all in this presentation even thought it is found from the earliest pages of Genesis to Revelation.

Berean Church says that Christian Nationalism is not the answer, but they never offer any alternatives. They are silent on what the Bible says a civil government should do. Should we infer that God doesn’t care?

Again, Berean Church uses pull quotes from one book to try to make their case about all Christian Nationalists. Their claim that all people calling themselves Christian Nationalists advocate for tyranny is ridiculous. Even the things that they quote from Wolfe don’t support that claim. If the Biden and Obama administrations prove anything, it’s that you don’t need a monarchy to live under tyranny. Ditto for Canada and Australia.

Knowing biblical principles on how our nation was founded are great but when folks around us deny the authority of Scripture and the church is silent on today’s social and cultural issues then what good is that? How does the Bible speak to our problems now? Again, Berean Church is silent.

The words of Gary North, R.J. Rushdoony, and others are echoing in my mind, you can’t beat something with nothing. Or if you prefer, the question posed in the 1970’s and 80’s by Francis Schaffer, How Should We Then Live?

Sorry, but I don’t see Christian Nationalism as a quest to force a monarchy onto the United States. I see it as a call for Christians to bring biblical answers to bear on the real world instead of Christians hiding it their pews hoping to be raptured so they won’t have to reap what they have sewn. Christian Nationalism is a call for the Church to get off its butt and redeem the time because the days are evil.

Andrew Torba signs every email that he sends with the words “Christ is King.” He does not advocate for the United States to be ruled by a king because we already have a king, and his name is Jesus. Torba does want Christians to be free from being cancelled by the Left and advocates that we have parallel structures that are truly free of censorship. This is similar to what Saint Patrick did to evangelize Ireland.

Vincent James does not advocate for a monarchy in the United States. However, he does advocate for people to have the same rules for their friends and enemies. He despises double standards; especially, when he is a member of the group being singled out for discriminatory treatment. I think he would agree that men should be judged by the content of their character.

I do know that Doug Wilson once interviewed Andrew Torba on his podcast. Torba has co-authored two books with Rev Andrew Isker. The books are Christian Nationalism: A Biblical Guide For Taking Dominion And Discipling Nations and The Boniface Option: A Strategy For Christian Counteroffensive in a Post-Christian Nation.

I have read the Boniface Option. It is short, whitty, and has a large dose of sarcasm. It calls for men to be men and laments the societal decay of our nation.

I’m not a follower of anybody critiqued in this presentation except Jesus and they didn’t have much to say about him which is sad. My views on the Bible were formed before there was such a thing as Christian Nationalism and, in some circles, they are even more controversial. The Bible says, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Let’s start with that statement and work together as we are able instead of trying to manufacture new ways to unchurch each other.