Christian Nationalism is a controversial topic–one I have wanted to speak on for some time. Earlier this year, a whole new outrage cycle began in response to Oklahoma state senator Dusty Deevers. As usual, most of the outrage was from the Godless, secular culture, but he even faced some criticism from prominent Christians. By examining this criticism, I believe we can get a good idea of what the “Christian Nationalism” debate is really about.

Deevers was only inaugurated at the end of 2023, and already he has proposed a number of bills. A few of his bills call to abolish abortion, end no-fault divorce, ban porn, and repeal the state income tax, among others. He has proposed these bills with the goal of creating a government and state that honors God.

Of course, in doing all of this, he has been labeled a “Christian nationalist.” That’s the world’s go-to term for anyone that wants a government to honor God. Deevers doesn’t waste his time disputing this claim; instead, he continues to give glory to God. On January 26, he tweeted :

GM. Woke up. Poured my cup of straight, black coffee. Surveyed the landscape. Analyzed the situation with various metrics.  
Assessment Report:  
Christ is King. Undefeated. His government and its increase has no end.  
“These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also…and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus” (Acts 17:6-7).

His assessment is correct. Christ is, and always will be, king. Most faithful Christians wouldn’t think twice about the content of his tweet; he is stating an obvious truth. But because it comes from someone in politics, people seem to have a problem with it. One response to this tweet came from Owen Strachan:

Christ is king, Dusty! Amen.  
But note what the apostles focused on: preaching the gospel. While we need politicians, the apostles weren’t politicians. They were fearless before rulers, but their focus was making disciples and strengthening churches.  
That’s the Great Commission.

On an initial reading of this tweet, it seemed to me that Strachan was simply making the point that bringing souls to Christ is our primary mission, and we shouldn’t let secondary objectives take precedence. That would be a message I wholeheartedly agree with. However, he followed this tweet with another that seems to make a different point:

The FRUIT of the Great Commission isn’t the same as the Great Commission ITSELF.  
These are wrongly conflated.  
Gospel-loving Christians will influence their culture, yes.  
But the apostles had no directly political mission.  
They turned the world upside down by preaching Christ.

Here it seems as if Strachan is directly discouraging Christians from pursuing political office and attempting to pass the kind of laws that Deevers is proposing. Instead, we should avoid politics, focus only on preaching the gospel, and influence our culture by converting the population.

Strachan and Deevers are both men that I have great respect for. I haven’t known about Deevers for long, but Strachan is a man I have followed online for some time, and I look up to him in many ways. In this instance, however, I believe Strachan has missed the mark.

So how much should Christians be involved in government, and what should we think about “Christian Nationalism?”

The Great Commission

Later in this article, I will be arguing in favor of what many call “Christian Nationalism.” But before that, I must acknowledge that Strachan made a good point.

The Great Commission is our first and most important mission. In everything we do, we should seek to bring souls to Christ and make disciples.

This world is temporary. The governments we build now will be eliminated when Christ is crowned king over the new creation; so while we may work to improve our earthly governments, we shouldn’t let that work distract us from the eternal work of preaching the gospel.

The laws we enact will not matter at all if no one repents of their sin. We may be able to use the government to restrict and punish evil, but sinners will remain under the judgment of God. We will have created a temporarily righteous government with no eternal benefit.

The Only Calling?

It should be abundantly clear to Christians that nothing matters more than the advancement of the gospel. Making disciples of all people is our calling, but Strachan’s tweets seem–at least to me–to say that the Great Commission is our ONLY calling. He implies that, because the apostles had no political mission, Christians today should avoid political missions as well and just preach the gospel.

While I think we should emulate the apostles in many ways, they had a very special mission received from Christ himself. They faced the daunting task of planting the first Churches and bringing the news of Christ crucified into a world that had never heard of it. As the apostles of Christ, they also had special authority. Should we try to perform miracles because that’s what the apostles did? Of course not.

Just because the apostles accomplished their mission in a certain way does not mean every Christian today needs to do exactly what they did.

In response to Strachan, Deevers made the following point :

Jesus told the apostles that His sovereign authority is comprehensive both “over heaven AND earth” (Matt 28:18).  
On the basis of His “ALL” authority, the apostles were commanded to make disciples through the preaching of the gospel, but that’s not all. They ALSO were commanded to teach everyone to obey all the commands of Christ (28:20) and thus come under His mediatorial rule.  
Preach the gospel and command people to obey all the other commands, too.

Teaching people to obey Christ is another calling of ours; in fact, it is a calling that comes from the Great Commission:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”  
Matthew 28:19-20 (Emphasis Added)

Is Deevers not teaching people the law of Christ when he proposes bills to abolish porn and abortion? When he publicly proclaims that Christ is king, is that not a statement that Christ is to be obeyed?

Of course this message to obey must also come with the news that Christ has taken the penalty of our sin upon Himself, but Deevers does preach the gospel publicly. Why is it okay for him to publicly proclaim Christ crucified, but wrong for him to then instruct people to obey?

In addition to the calling of the Great Commission, we are called to glorify God in everything we do. We can glorify God in the preaching of the gospel, but we can also glorify Him in the everyday work we do, in how we raise our families, and in how we run our government.

The United States is unlike many countries from across history. Any citizen has the opportunity to affect the government at the federal, state, or local level if they work hard enough. So if a Christian feels the calling to pursue political office, why wouldn’t we encourage that in much the same way we would encourage a young man seeking to enter the pastorate (though they may need more words of caution)?

Leadership in the Church is something few men are called to, but it is an endeavor that brings great glory to God. The same can be said of political office. It isn’t a job for anyone, but those who do enter it have the ability to steer their nation toward righteousness.

No Neutrality

When the topic of Christian nationalism comes up, you inevitably hear someone bring up “the separation of Church and state.” Those who bring this up mistakenly believe that the government can be a neutral party. It should be completely uninvolved in religion, laws should not be influenced by religious beliefs, and the Church should have no say in how our government operates.

In reality, there is no such thing as neutrality–especially in government.

When laws are passed, those laws will reflect one moral code or another. They can enforce a secular (twisted) view of morality, or they can enforce the code of morality set forth by God himself.

A few decades ago, no one would argue against the idea that our laws should enforce a righteous worldview. Now, people say “you can’t legislate morality” (even though literally every law legislates morality). Under the guise of freedom, people advocate for permitting all sorts of wickedness, and when someone pushes back, they face the world’s wrath for it.

We are seeing the results of this playing out in front of us. We no longer value righteousness, so criminals are given extremely lenient sentences and crime rates are skyrocketing. Because we no longer believe men are made in the image of God, all sorts of degrading sexual immorality is permitted and celebrated, and babies are slaughtered in the womb. Because our government is so focused on enriching themselves and propping up evil, the citizens are becoming increasingly impoverished.

This sort of destruction is the natural end to the path we are on, and the only way to fix these things is to turn back to God and His standard of right and wrong. If we continue allowing a wicked world to decide what is permissible, these problems will only grow worse.

The Command

In a discussion of Christian Nationalism, we must examine what God says about governments:

“For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer”  
Romans 13:3-4

Many people read this passage and assume it only speaks to the constituents of a government; and it does tell us a lot about how we are to live. We are to obey our government (so long as they don’t command us to sin), and if we do good, we are not to fear them.

In saying these things, Paul is also describing what a just government should look like. Twice he says that government is a servant of God. This means a good government must acknowledge the kingship of Christ and submit themselves to His authority. A government fails in its role as servant when it refuses to honor God and enforce His law.

Paul also states that rulers are a terror to bad conduct, not to good conduct. This is an instruction on how Christians should live under government, but in giving this instruction, he is also commanding governments to incentivize good conduct and punish evil.

The government should not be protecting porn, abortion, divorce, and all the other things that Deevers is trying to abolish. One of their fundamental duties is to prohibit these things.

The Other Route

There is a big flaw in Strachan’s ideas on this subject. Let’s say we decide to take his route. Christians avoid politics, we preach the gospel with zeal, we glorify God in everything we do, and as a result, the culture becomes more Christian.

When voting season comes around, the new Christians would vote in line with their newfound faith. As a result, we have Christian politicians. Those Christian politicians seek to align the government to Paul’s description in Romans 13, and because they too are trying to glorify God in their work, they enact Christian laws.

In other words, men like Dusty Deevers would still arise.

Strachan doesn’t like it when Christians get too involved with government, but the path he proposes for Christians, if it played out properly, still leads to Christian involvement in government. So what would he have us do? Should politicians drop out of politics when they are saved in order to avoid being a Christian Nationalist? Should Christians vote for heathens to make sure our influence stays where Strachan wants it? Or should we refrain from voting altogether as John Piper suggests?

This reveals one of the biggest problems with the anti-Christian Nationalist crowd: they are telling us we shouldn’t vote like Christians. To say Christians shouldn’t vote is to say we should let the secular culture decide the best candidate–that is obviously a bad idea. To say we shouldn’t vote for men like Dusty Deevers–men who are devoted to glorifying God–is to say Christians shouldn’t vote for other Christians, which is ridiculous. To say the Christians we elect into office shouldn’t enact Christian laws is to say that Christians in office should abandon their principles when they are on the job. Would you encourage Christians in any other field to do the same?

Christian Nationalism

By this point all the pagans will certainly have me labeled as a Christian nationalist. The same label is placed upon anyone who believes the things I have just written, but I believe these are very basic beliefs. I don’t think this article would have been controversial to any Christian a few decades ago. So what has changed?

The United States was founded on Christian values, but over time, they have been forgotten. Being a Christian isn’t seen as a virtue anymore. It is rare for someone with a large platform to publicly proclaim their faith in Christ, and many people are embarrassed to call themselves a Christian even in their own small social circles. When you combine this with the never ending cry of “separation of Church and state,” it’s easy to see why so many people have been conditioned to think Christians shouldn’t have influence in government.

I should make it clear that when I say that Christians should influence the government, I am not advocating for a state Church. That has turned out poorly every time it was implemented. I do believe in separation of church and state as the term originally meant: Church and Government should keep to their own spheres of authority. The Government can’t tell the Church how to govern itself, and the Church cannot integrate itself into the government.

However, the government is commanded to bear the sword in Christ’s name against evil. They are to be a servant of God, and Christians who try to make that happen are doing a good service to the world.

But with the work we do in government, we should not forget our first and most important goal: preaching the gospel. We must proclaim the good news of Christ crucified in all we do, and we should bring as many souls to salvation as we can.

We will leave this world behind one day. If no one is saved, our work will be in vain.