November Intermission: From Biblical Nationhood to a Christmas Medley

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10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
– Ephesians 6:10–13 –

For the last two months, Christ Over All has focused on the current debate on Christian Nationalism, and we have responded with a biblical presentation of nationhood. Without claiming to offer a full and final word on the subject, we have enjoyed interviewing more than a dozen leading thinkers (October) and analyzing their views (November).

Toward Biblical Nationhood: A Baptist View of Church and State

With the tireless help of Andy Naselli, we have published a taxonomy of views relating the government to religion. Naselli also sifted through all twelve interviews to offer twelve reflections on Christian Nationalism. Together, these two longforms served as the bedrock for our November month, Toward Biblical Nationhood: A Baptist Vision for Church and State.

Additionally, Brad Green reviewed the two most prominent books arguing for Christian Nationalism: The Case for Christian Nationalism (Stephen Wolfe) [part one and part two] and Mere Christendom (Douglas Wilson). Trent Hunter examined where the idea of Christian Nationalism came from and some modern treatments of it. Ardel Caneday investigated the way Romans 13 does and does not instruct Christians today, and he also showed why the redemptive-historical approach of Douglas Wilson and other partial preterists is insufficient. Forest Strickland and Levi Secord offered two further reflections on Christian Nationalism, one from the life and times of Athanasius and the other, respectively, from a Baptist theology of church and state. John Avery warned about the radicals on the right and the lure of absolute political power. And next week, Trent Hunter will finish up the month with a reflection on 1 Peter 2. (Yes, Trent’s piece comes out after November is over, but hold that thought). If you missed any of last month’s articles, you can click on them below (Longforms bolded and in red below):

 

• Twelve Reflections on Twelve Interviews on Christian Nationalism by Andy Naselli. Last month, Christ Over All heard from numerous voices on the subject of Christian nationalism. Having sifted through all that information, Andy Naselli provides a helpful analysis here. READ ESSAY

 

• A Book Review of Doug Wilson’s Mere Christendom by Brad Green. What is Doug Wilson’s “Mere Christendom,” and how does it relate to Christian Nationalism and “Christocentric theonomy”? With Brad Green as your guide, come along for a tour of this important book. READ ARTICLE

 

• Christ Over Giving Tuesday by David Schrock. What began as a conversation among friends has materialized into Christ Over All, and by God’s grace we are just getting started. Would you partner with us to help us to reach more people for the glory of God? READ ARTICLE

 

• “Already But Not Yet”: When Does the “Already” End? When Christ Returns or When Jerusalem’s Temple Was Destroyed? by Ardel Caneday. Many Christian rightly affirm the “already but not yet.” But is this overlap of the ages completely fulfilled from Christ’s death and resurrection to the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.? Some say so. Peek in to Dr. Ardel Caneday’s timely article that presents a better way. READ ARTICLE

 

• Chasing Boromir: Reflections on Christian Nationalism and the Use of Power by John Avery. If Christians were able to seize political power and wield it without restriction, would it be wise to do so? Our understanding of human sin should dissuade us from such concentrated authority. READ ARTICLE

 

• A Sanctified State: A Baptist Alternative to Christian Nationalism by Levi Secord 

When the church and state both operate within their respective spheres of authority and do so consciously under the Lordship of Christ, the sanctified state is born. READ ARTICLE

 

• Athanasius contra Mundum: A Historical Consideration of Magisterial Christian Nationalism by Forrest Strickland. Should he who bears the sword also be responsible for determining proper doctrine? Church history warns us against this idea of a Christian Prince. READ ARTICLE

 

• What Romans 13 Does (Not) Mean by Ardel Caneday. Romans 13 teaches that Christians ought to be subject to ruling authorities, but what does this mean in practice? And what else does this passage teach about the purpose of the state? READ ARTICLE

 

• The Inception of Christian Nationalism: An Article on Articles on Articles by Trent Hunter. From whence did the idea of Christian Nationalism come, and where do we go from here? READ ARTICLE

 

• What Is the Spectrum of Major Views on Political Theology? A Proposed Taxonomy of Seven Views on Religion and Government by Andy Naselli. Here is what we have all been waiting for: A taxonomy of views on religion and government that brings a long-sought-for clarity. READ ESSAY

 

In all, we pray these podcasts and publications have been illuminating, helpful, and strengthening. While the differences expressed by various advocates for and against Christian Nationalism are important, it is equally important to remember that our enemies are not in Moscow, whether in Russia or in Idaho. Rather, as Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6, we wage against cosmic powers. Or, to say it the other way around, cosmic powers wage war against us.

Indeed, Ephesians 1:22–23 reminds us that Christ is Lord and all things are under his feet. But being under his feet does not mean that Satan and the demons of darkness are inactive. Rather, as a serpent with a mortal wound, the deceiver continues to speak lies amidst the nations. No longer are the nations under the rule of angelic powers and principalities like they once were (cf. Revelation 12), but neither are they passively letting the rule of Christ make headway. The church is opposed at every turn, and those who disagree about Christian “nations” would do well to work together to oppose the onslaught of the nations (and our nation) opposing Christians.

With thanksgiving, we should recall how our providential God in heaven ordained America in history to be a nation that fears God—even if only for a time. America was founded as a nation with laws informed by biblical truth and customs that made space for Christianity to flourish. Even as the federal Constitution did not establish religion or a national church, the men who founded our nation respected the place of religion, especially Christianity, in ways that today would be called “Christian Nationalist.”

Indeed, the secularism of our age has led to a growing hostility towards Christ and his people. This has been seen in the unending barrage of media criticism for the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson (chosen in October of 2023). It can be witnessed in the not-so-progressive Left’s hostility towards American values—values which have roots in Christianity. And it can be heard in the chants for Palestine to extend “from the River to the Sea” shouted from the lips of supporters of Hamas and their unspeakable violence. In short, we live at a time where pressures on the church are increasing, and what is needed are good faith debates helping the church stand for Truth in a world of lies. And more, we need good men and women working together to stand for Christ.

For the last two months, that has been our aim. And we are grateful to God for everyone who made it possible. For those who listened to the podcasts, who liked our tweets, who shared our articles, and who gave us feedback, we give thanks for you! Indeed, as we come to the final month of 2024, we are amazed at God’s kindness to this ministry and to the friends we have made along the way. Few joys are sweeter than serving the Lord together (John 15:14–15) and knowing that the labor pains we endure are not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). Indeed, by God’s grace, he has confirmed the work of our hands in 2023. And we are looking forward to 2024.

If you have been edified by the content of Christ Over All in 2023, we would ask you to prayerfully consider giving an end-of-year gift or partnering with us in 2024. We are gearing up for the new year right now, and every gift we receive will determine whether we can procure the necessary staff for bringing to you faithful content. You can give here or you get in touch with us by email to discuss further options for partnering financially with Christ Over All. We’d love to hear from you!

A Christmas Medley

And now for something completely different.

Each month Christ Over All touches on one specific theme. We do this to focus our minds on thing at a time, and to resist the temptation to say something about everything.

That said, we are offering this December a Christmas Medley. That means instead of a Drummer Boy beating the same drum all month long, we will enjoy a variety of gifts throughout the month. If anything connects the month together, it is the writing fraternity we have enjoyed with old friends and new. This month we will have a number of new, gifted writers sharing their essays with us. And we are excited to share them with you.

At the same time, if you are looking for a devotional articles geared toward Christmas, take time to revisit last December, Christology for Christmas. The resources we offer at Christ Over All are intentionally evergreen. Just like the conifers that keep their needles all year, our months are intended to be ever-relevant, because God’s Word is likewise applicable in all seasons.

In fact, to preview one more project forthcoming in the new year, Christ Over All will be collecting articles by theme and putting them into monthly PDF. We have heard from many of you asking for this feature. And Lord willing, we will be able to offer it soon into the new year. Stay tuned.

Merry Christmas!

For now, please continue to pray for Christ Over All. God has faithfully confirmed the work of our feeble hands in 2023 and we, as a ministry, are feeling the weight of the labor. We are asking our Lord to provide help in the form of extra editors, interns, and financial donors. In particular, we are seeking churches who would partner with us in ministry, so that we can continue to bless and encourage churches. If your church should know about this need and opportunity, please share this PDF with them and have them get in touch with us.

We give thanks to God for the many friends and churches who have made this ministry possible. And we look forward to making many more friendships as we exalt the Son of God who died for his friends and who is leading us to labor with him—to proclaim the kingdom, bring forth the truth, refute error, and gladly stand for Christ in the public arena.

At Christmas, that mission is all the more evident, as we remember that Christ veiled his glory in the form of a baby, so that by his flesh and blood he could purchase our redemption and receive the kingdom that was promised to him before the foundation of the world. That is the good news of Christmas. And as we bring to you a series of edifying articles this month, we pray that God would bless you in this holiday season.

Christ is truly Lord over all. So in all things let us exalt Christ!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author

  • David Schrock

    David Schrock is the pastor for preaching and theology at Occoquan Bible Church in Woodbridge, Virginia. David is a two-time graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a founding faculty member and professor of theology at Indianapolis Theology Seminary. And he is the author of Royal Priesthood and Glory of God along with many journal articles and online essays.

David Schrock

David Schrock

David Schrock is the pastor for preaching and theology at Occoquan Bible Church in Woodbridge, Virginia. David is a two-time graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a founding faculty member and professor of theology at Indianapolis Theology Seminary. And he is the author of Royal Priesthood and Glory of God along with many journal articles and online essays.