A Disciple of Jesus Christ Rejecting and Resisting Christian Nationalism

Something has been bothering me and I have to get it off my chest. A couple of days before the Presidential election, a member of my old church shared a post from a former pastor in which he wrote, “This week I will be voting for the sanctity of life, for religious liberty as understood by our founders, for the sanctity of marriage, for our constitutional order and original intent, and against the growing influence of socialism and cultural Marxism in our nation.” This statement disturbed me because it is a clear example of Christian nationalism and a Christian endorsement of Donald Trump, a man who is the antithesis of Jesus Christ.

I can’t believe that after four years, I am still asking myself, how can Christians support a man whose behavior is the complete opposite of Jesus Christ? How can they accept his racism, xenophobia, hatred and cruelty? While many Christians complain that our culture has taken Christ out of Christmas, sadly many Christians have taken Christ out of Christianity.

The man who made the Christian nationalist endorsement of Trump is now the president of a Christian university with the ability to influence thousands of young minds. For years, I looked up to the woman who shared his post and admired her for her caring ministry. Now I see her as just another Christian who conflates religion with politics. It is disappointing and disheartening but I should not have been surprised.

Conflating religious authority with political authority is idolatrous and often leads to oppression of minority and other marginalized groups as well as the spiritual impoverishment of religion.

Christians Against Christian Nationalism

I just read Drew Straits’ review of the book Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States, by Andrew L. Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry. The authors describe four orientations to Christian nationalism – Rejecters, Resisters, Accommodators, and Ambassadors – and confirm what I have observed in too many of my Christian friends: it’s all about power and not about true religion. As Strait wrote in his review, Christian nationalism is about acquiring and using political power to influence “issues like Islam, immigration, abortion/patriarchy, militarism, gun control and sacrificial allegiance to the flag…”

Obsession with power explains why Ambassadors and Accommodators overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election while overlooking the many ways that Trump’s personal life is at odds with Christian ethics. Again, Trump’s personal religious piety is of little significance—what matters is that he pulls the right ideological levers to shape America into the image of Christian nationalism, to reclaim a mythical past. 

Drew J. Strait

I knew after the 2016 election that I was in the minority of Christians who oppose and resist the wickedness of Donald Trump. Since then, I have been encouraged to hear from other followers of Jesus Christ who believe that political ambition is not more important than being true to our Savior and sharing his inclusive message of love and redemption.

In What’s So Amazing About Grace, Philip Yancey wrote, “Like fine wine poured into a jug of water, Jesus’ wondrous message of grace gets diluted in the vessel of the church.” Yancey quoted David Seamands, who noted that many evangelical Christians fail “to understand, receive, and live out God’s unconditional grace and forgiveness” and fail “to give out that unconditional love, forgiveness, and grace to other people…”

I believe in the sanctity of life and I believe in the sanctity of marriage. And yet I know that Christians and non-Christians alike, fall short of the glory of God. No law and no government can change the hearts of people; only God can do that. I do not live in fear of socialism and cultural Marxism.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

I will not be dismayed by Christian Nationalism. I reject it and I resist it.

I want people to see the love of Jesus reflected in me.

I want to live out God’s unconditional grace and forgiveness.

I want to give out God’s unconditional love, grace and forgiveness to others.

With all of this in mind, I will be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people and for those who have not seen the love of God in the church.

I will put on the full armor of God so I can take a stand against the devil’s schemes.*

I will stand firm, with the belt of truth buckled around my waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 

In addition to all this, I take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. In this stand against Christian Nationalism, I will take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

*Ephesions 6:10-18

Praying for My Future

I continue to reflect on Priscilla Shirer’s book, Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer. While I don’t sense that I am personally being attacked by Satan, at one time or another, I have faced the spiritual struggles she listed in her book. In writing this prayer, I remember how horrible I felt when I was going through a difficult struggle with another person.

Strategy 5 – Against Your Past

If I were your enemy, I’d constantly remind you of your mistakes and poor choices. I’d want to keep you burdened by shame and guilt, in hopes that you’ll feel incapacitated by your many failings and see no point in even trying again. I’d work to convince you that you’ve had your chance and blown it – that your God may be able to forgive some people for some things, but not you…not for this.

PRISCILLA SHIRER

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Heavenly Father, my soul continually remembers my mistakes and poor choices. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I did it anyway. I am filled with regret for hurting another with words I cannot take back. I feel like such a horrible and wretched person. I have sinned against you and am filled with guilt and shame.

Lord, I am humbled by my many failings. I don’t know how You can love a wretch like me but You do. Your love for me never ceases. You are my hope.

Lord Jesus, I am so tired of carrying the weight of mistakes I cannot undo. Take away this heavy burden of guilt. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin (Psalm 51:2). Lord, I want to learn from you. Teach me to be a better person.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

Father, my soul praises you. Truly, Your love never fails even when I fail You. Thank you for forgiving me, for redeeming my life from the pit of despair. You have crowned me with your love and compassion. Great is your faithfulness!

Lord, Your mercies are new every morning. Thank you for giving me another chance to make the most of my life. When I stumble and fall, may I learn from my mistakes and remember that You are making me new! Yesterday is gone. Today, show me Your ways that I may walk with You. Help me to look forward with hope for my future and not back to the past I cannot change.

Amen

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Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV)

Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
    the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
    and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV)

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

A Prayer for My Family

Priscilla Shirer, the author of Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer, believes that Satan strategically attacks us and recommends that we write prayers to counter his attacks. I am still not convinced that the devil is behind my spiritual struggles but I do see the importance of praying strategically. So far, I have found every issue Priscilla has raised worthy of fervent prayer.

Strategy 4 – Against Your Family

He wants to disintegrate your family, dividing your home, rendering it chaotic, restless, and unfruitful (Genesis 3:1-7)

PRISCILLA SHIRER

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A PRAYER FOR MY FAMILY

Heavenly Father, before I bring my need, I will bring my heart. From the bottom of my heart, thank You for my family. From the day I was born, through all the ups and downs, my family has been a source of unconditional love, friendship, and joy. My family shaped who I am, teaching me, among other things, the value of hard work, perseverance, empathy, and faith.

Father, one of the most important life lessons I learned from my family is the power of forgiveness. For too many years, I resented my mother for things she did and did not do as a single parent. It was only when we almost lost her that I saw her with grace-filled eyes. I am ashamed for holding a grudge for so long. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to forgive mom before she died.

Lord Jesus, when any family member disappoints me, I pray that You will help me to forgive as You forgive me. Help me to see things from their perspective and to remember that we are all a work in progress.

Father, I pray that You will open my eyes to the ways I need to change. Show me how I can be more loving, more supportive, sister, wife, aunt and friend.

Father, thank you for my husband, my best friend for 34 years. Lord, sometimes he gets depressed and withdraws from me and I don’t know how to help him. You know what is on his mind and in his heart. Please help him with whatever he is struggling with.

Lord, I pray for the health and well-being of my large, extended family. Please protect my brothers and sisters and my nieces and nephews and my great nieces and nephews. Please guide them as they face their own struggles. For all my loved ones, I pray the words of The Blessing.1

The Lord bless you and keep you
Make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you 
The Lord turn His face toward you
And give you peace
May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And their children and their children

Lord Jesus, above all else, I pray for the salvation of family members who do not know You, especially those who have outright rejected You. You know the names on my heart and I lift them up to You.

Amen

  1. The Blessing, Elevation Worship with Kari Jobe & Cody Carnes

A Prayer for My Identity

Priscilla Shirer, the author of Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer, asked women to tell her the ways that the enemy attacks them. She collated the responses and came up with a list of ten of Satan’s favorite strategies and recommended that we write prayers to counter his attacks.

Strategy 3 – Against Your Identity

If I were your enemy, I’d devalue your strength and magnify your insecurities until they dominate how you see yourself, disabling and disarming you from fighting back, from being free, from being who God has created you to be. I’d word hard to ensure that you never realize what God has given you so you’ll doubt the power of God within you.

PRISCILLA SHIRER

A PRAYER FOR MY IDENTITY

Heavenly Father, I praise you because I am amazingly and miraculously made. You have searched me and You know me. You know my thoughts. You know my words before I say them. You know me better than I know myself.

Lord, I truly marvel at the way you create human beings with unique aptitudes and personalities. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb through genetic recombination and other wonderful processes that are too incredible for me to grasp. Your eyes saw my unformed substance and You knew who I would become. All the days of my life were written in Your book.

Father, for years, I bought the lie that there was something wrong with me because I didn’t have the gifts of gab and gregariousness. I am awkward in social situations, too quiet to suit other people. I just couldn’t express myself as freely as extroverts. So I withdrew into my shell and felt invisible and inferior. But You saw me and You loved me just as I am, just as You created me to be.

Lord Jesus, I know I am not alone in the struggle for identity. Many people battle voices that say we are not enough. We compare ourselves to others and underestimate our own strengths and abilities.

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I'm not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know
-  Lauren Daigle, You Say

Lord, when I am troubled by feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, remind me who I am. Remind me that I am a child of the Almighty God, the one true king! I have been redeemed. If You are for me, who or what can be against me? No one and nothing can separate me from Your love!

Amen

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Inspired by Psalm 139

A Prayer for Focus

I am studying Priscilla Shirer’s book Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer. Priscilla believes that Satan is behind spiritual struggles and recommends that people of faith write specific prayer strategies to counter Satan’s attacks.

Strategy 2 – Against Your Focus

He [Satan] disguises himself and manipulates your perspective so you end up focusing on the wrong culprit, directing your weapons at the wrong enemy.

Priscilla Shirer

A PRAYER FOR FOCUS

Heavenly Father, before I bring my need, I bring a humble and contrite heart. I fall short of your glory and righteousness. You have shown me what is good, yet I know I am not the person you want me to be.

Lord, I have felt every degree of anger from mild annoyance to irritation to anger and rage. I get annoyed with people who don’t behave the way I think they should. I get angry at people who act selfishly and abuse and oppress others. I have blamed others for my problems and carried the heavy weight of resentment.

Father God, I know that Satan loves to instigate hatred and discord. He loves to see your people fighting and tearing each other down. Surely, he delights when I do not produce the fruit of your Spirit, when I am not patient and kind and gentle and in control of my emotions.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Father God, I pray that in my anger, I will not give the devil a foothold. Rid me of all bitterness, rage and anger, insults and slander, and every form of unkindness and ill will. Help me to be kind and compassionate to everyone, forgiving others, just as you forgave me. May my words be wholesome, helpful and uplifting.1

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.2

Father, thank you for all that is good and delightful and beautiful in this world. I pray that your kingdom will come and your will be done on this earth as it is in heaven.

Amen

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1. See Ephesians 4:26-32

2. Psalm 51:10 (ESV)