When I was initially drawn to the ethnonationalist understanding of society I recall my skepticism towards certain veterans within Kinist circles about the future of conservative Protestantism. It seemed impossible to me that Christians dedicated to the inerrancy and authority of the Bible could ever accept the perversions of the modern world. Alas, the world was so much simpler even just 15 years ago. What was unthinkable then is now becoming increasingly commonplace. The majority of all Americans opposed homosexuality and the concept of “gay marriage” not long ago. Now, the acceptance of what the Bible calls an abomination is finding increasing acceptance among those who identify as evangelical Protestants. How did this happen? In many ways the answer is simple. Conservative Protestants have forsaken their Christian heritage in regards to how society ought to be constructed. This downgrade did not happen overnight, but was the product of decades of straying.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s recent denunciation of ethnonationalism, at least as it pertains to white people, is the result of the rejection of the biblical understanding of nationhood. This concept of nationhood was until very recently the unchallenged default position of the West and was defended by Southern Baptists. The abandonment of the traditional definition of nationhood and the denunciation of distinctly white countries and homelands has come about as the result of idolatry within the ranks of the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention. The culprits, the specific idols here, are equality, Zionism, and pluralism.
A good example of these idols can be seen in this brief article published by Jimmy Scroggins on the website of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. This article was published last year and deals with patriotism in American churches. Scroggins simply take modern egalitarian maxims for granted. Historically Christians were taught to render honor to their countries as an extension of their kindred due to their common descent from the same patriarchs.1 In more recent decades conservative American Christians have been encouraged to express a more civic patriotism in which America is treated as an ideal for which all mankind strives. According to Scroggins the “most important American idea” is really a “Bible idea,” and of course that idea is that everyone is equal. “The assertion that all men are created equal and are endowed with unalienable rights comes straight from the Christian Scriptures. Even though our nation fails to live up to this ideal in many ways, it is nonetheless an aspirational belief that is central to the Christian worldview.” Likewise, Scroggins compares the Christians among the Founding Fathers to “believers in the Civil Rights Movement and the movement to abolish slavery.”
Scroggins doesn’t tell his readers where the “Bible idea” of equality is located in the Bible. The idea that the Bible teaches equality is simply taken for granted. The purpose of this article was not to lay out a thorough biblical case for equality, but it is surprising that this assertion is made without at least a token Bible verse given in support. My guess is that if asked, Scroggins would appeal to all mankind being made in the image and likeness of God, but this is a far cry from the kind of equality that Scroggins imagines. Jefferson’s statement in the Declaration of Independence is unfortunate, and taken at face value it is manifestly untrue, but the common understanding of this statement in the Declaration has little to do with the intention of Jefferson or the rest of the Founders. This single phrase in the Declaration has been used in support of virtually every political cause imaginable. Today the “equality clause” in the Declaration has even been marshalled in support of “transgender rights.”
Protestants who are otherwise conservative are being led astray because the concept of equality in contemporary discourse takes Jefferson’s enlightenment axiom and filters it through the lens of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Initially the concept of equality had been pressed to support racial integration, and it is now being used to deconstruct the God-ordained gender distinctions of male and female in a way that no nineteenth- or early-twentieth-century suffragette could have imagined. As long asChristians continue to kneel at the altar of equality, they will be left powerless to mount a case against transgenderism and homosexuality.
The second idol to be identified is Zionism, and unequivocal support for Israel and the Jewish people. In his article Scroggins castigates those who consider America to be a “new Israel” and asserts that Jesus will one day govern from a New Jerusalem, not a “new Washington, D.C.” This is more or less unobjectionable, seeing that many evangelicals do conflate the success of the American military with the Kingdom of God. I’ve seen more than a few not-so-subtle examples of this on Facebook and elsewhere, such as statuses of “JesUSAves” and “JerUSAlem” among evangelicals. I honestly wonder if some Christians imagine Christ returning while draped in an American flag, singing Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud To Be an American,” and riding with American Bear for “freedums.”
The problem is that Scroggins views nations as mere transitory institutions to be done away with upon the return of Jesus. This explains why modern evangelicals are so willing to espouse policies such as mass migration of non-whites to white countries for the sake of their warped understanding of the Gospel, when they must know that these policies will destroy white countries as a result.2 Any Christian who objects to these policies will be accused of making their country’s well-being an idol because our “true” identity and citizenship is in Heaven (cf. Phil. 3:20). This ignores that our identity as Christians incorporates, without subsuming, our national identity (Rom. 9:3, 1 Tim. 5:8, Rev. 21:24-26, 22:2). Another issue is Scroggins’s exhortation to a “biblical eschatology.” In the Southern Baptist Convention this means dispensationalism, linked essentially to Zionism. This article was published just after the SBC’s general assembly passed a resolution declaring support for Israel. In this resolution, the SBC states that by Israel it means Jews as “the descendants of Jacob as an ethnic, cultural, and national entity.” Genesis 12:1-3 is presented as proof that Christians are obligated to bless and support Jews as the seed of Abraham. This support for the ethnic Jewish identity is noticeably in contrast to this year’s resolution condemning the “white supremacist Alt-Right,” in which distinctly white identity and ethnonationalism for whites are unequivocally condemned.
The SBC’s support for Jewish ethnonationalism while condemning white European nations for the same practice is obviously hypocritical, but the problem is actually more serious than mere hypocrisy. The dispensationalist interpretation of Genesis 12:3 cited by the SBC teaches that Jews remain God’s chosen people based upon their ethnic identity. The traditional Christian position, rooted in the teachings of the apostles, is that Christian believers are covenantal Israel and the true heirs of the promises made to Israel.3 The SBC asserts not only that the Jews have the right to their ethnic identity while everyone else does not, but also that the Jews are God’s chosen people regardless of their unbelief. This idolatry has led evangelicals in the SBC to champion political causes for the benefit of Israel because they believe it is a necessary prerequisite for God’s blessing.
The SBC is committed to the idols of pluralism and absolute religious freedom.4 This is demonstrated by Scroggins when he states, “We should teach Christians to desire a free nation, not a Christian nation. We should be careful not to assert or affirm that America is uniquely for Christians. It’s not. Believers should want to keep America free so that religious beliefs and expressions can compete in the open marketplace of ideas. We want to allow people of all faiths to worship, demonstrate, articulate and live out the implications of their religious beliefs. Christian pastors should teach our people to be confident that the gospel and the Christian worldview is powerful and persuasive.”5
It is simply astonishing to hear an ostensibly Christian pastor suggest that Christians should not want to live in a Christian nation! That nations can be Christian flows from Jesus’ Great Commission to His apostles, when He told them to baptize and disciple the nations (Matt. 28:19-20). There is simply no biblical basis for the baptistic notion of “soul freedom,” which entails absolute religious freedom as a natural right that everyone must enjoy. The Bible is replete with examples of the “freedom” of pagans being restrained by righteous prophets and civil magistrates.6 Second, absolute religious freedom is unworkable except in a homogeneous population that largely agree on religious and by extension ethical principles. Scroggins, Moore, and others within the SBC act as though the question of what ought to be law can be arrived at independently of religious presuppositions.
Christianity will be marginalized and persecuted in a predominantly atheist society. Likewise, Muslims seek to impose Sharia law upon the societies in which they live because that is what Islam teaches must happen. The reason that violence is so prevalent among Muslims is because Muslims believe what the Qur’an teaches about imposing Islam and forcing conversion. Christian (or now post-Christian) societies cannot expect to incorporate Muslims without conflict arising because of underlying disagreements about how society should operate.7
Finally, if “soul freedom” and religious liberty exist as Christian principles, as the SBC believes that they do, why are societies compelled to recognize these particular principles over other principles that are actually taught by the Bible? Why should the principle of religious liberty take precedence over actual Christian principles? The SBC denies that the Law in its specific or general equity ought to be observed today, but they insist that this supposed “Gospel” principle be observed by all nations as a basic right. The truth is that the idea of “religious freedom” is no less derived from a particular religious worldview, and a false one at that. To deny that nations can and should be Christian is to deny that even families can and should be Christian. The concept of absolute religious liberty is a product of Enlightenment rationalism and the baptistic principle of individualism. These are idols that do not derive from a Christian worldview.
The idolatry of the SBC is a cancer that is continuing to metastasize and spread. These false beliefs have permeated the SBC and continue to drive out the orthodoxy that once defined conservative Protestantism. The SBC is a bellwether of evangelicalism in America, and its declension should concern any conservative Christian. Christians within the SBC must understand that they are aboard a sinking ship. The SBC is attempting to promote a false patriotism that is divorced from due reverence to America’s patriarchs. American Christians will one day enter the New Jerusalem among the other “nations of them which are saved.” Any attempt to treat our national identity as a merely transient reality will end up destroying American Christianity, culture, tradition, and ultimately the American people themselves. May God deliver us from these idols and grant us repentance before we are consumed.
- For example, see Thomas Aquinas on piety in his Summa Theologica. ↩
- This is coupled with the dispensational belief in the imminent rapture, which is prominent within evangelicalism and leads many to conclude that Jesus will return soon and rescue Christians from the negative consequences of country-ruining policies. This means that these policies must be acceptable in the short term because they promote “the Gospel.” ↩
- See Galatians 3:26-29 for example. ↩
- Gic has already addressed this particular idolatry in cuck SBC pastor and ERLC chairman Russell Moore. See here for more articles on the connection between Moore and leftist financier George Soros. ↩
- Emphasis in original. ↩
- See Exodus 22:20, as well as Josiah’s desecration of the heathen altars (2 Ki. 23/2 Chr. 34) and Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal (1 Ki. 18). ↩
- This is not to say that there cannot exist a broad toleration of all essentially Christian sects. This was the intention of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Justice Joseph Story comments, “The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.” (Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, § 1871). ↩