Is the Jesus of Christian Nationalism the Same Jesus of Socialism’s Democracy?
A common problem with man is that he crafts God after his own image and likeness. After securing a few disconnected bits of knowledge about God, man becomes a theologian. When man grows in his status as a confident theologian, he starts a blog, a podcast ministry, and a GoFundMe page to promote his ideas about God. Mingling theology with psychology and philosophy, he becomes an influencer, a self-made spiritual guide. After his upcoming graduation from high school, he hopes to do further great things for Jesus.
Political ideology melds with theology over time. Similar problems surface, as with our young theologian. We want Jesus to be for us, like us. Christians in America end up with moral Jesus or social justice Jesus. Under the influence of others, especially our church community, we craft our Jesus over time, while in reality, He is crafting us.
Christians are citizens of a better country and that is not a reference to the United States (Heb 11:16). Our hope is Christ, seated in the heavenlies (Eph 2:6; Phil 1:23). We are, however, ambassadors for Christ in the kingdom of the world (2 Cor 5:20). We plead with men to be reconciled to God, by being witnesses of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8), wherever God sends us to make Christ known. The fragrance of Christ is with us (2 Cor 2:14–15).
Christians resemble one another because we are children of God (1 Jn 3:1, 10), but when we survey the family of God, we see a diversity of personalities and opinions.
Trusting in the sovereign God, who made us to be who we are and to do as directed, there is a manifestation of the Spirit, fulfilling God’s purpose and will. If it is God’s purpose and will for Christians to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29), then we need the proper view of Jesus Christ. This can only be accomplished by proper Bible interpretation.
Why do Christians who interpret the same Bible come to very different conclusions? First, there are many who claim Christianity, and who speak on behalf of it (usually John 3:16 or Matthew 7:1), who have never read the Bible. If this is you, please talk and blog less, while reading more good books, especially the Bible.
Second, there are many who bring their preconceived notions and conclusions to their study of the Bible. Theologians call this eisegesis. It is one forcing his opinion on the Bible and making the Bible affirm his opinion.
Third, there are many who twist their reading of Scripture and come to the wrong interpretative conclusions. The difference between this student and my first example is that this person actually reads the Bible. Student example number one is often the beneficiary of student number three. The blind leads the blind into the pit.
The corrective for these three Christians (or maybe pseudo-Christians) is also three-fold. First, in order to know what the Bible actually says, one must actually read the Bible.
Second, when interpreting the Bible, one must correlate the Scripture passage in view with what the whole Bible says. This is called, “biblical theology.” It is the collective building blocks of each doctrine taught in the Bible. For instance, we know that faith is gift of God and not of man because of all the passages in the Bible that teach us this truth.
Third, one must not add or subtract anything. This is hard work. Because there are difficult words like kosmos (world) that one is pressed to give an answer for, to those who claim that God loves everyone, everywhere because of “world,” or that Jesus died for everyone, everywhere because of “world,” or that everyone is saved because of “world.” John 3:16, 1 Jn 2:2, and John 4:24 must be rescued from the Universalist and the Arminian interpretations because they both feed political Liberalism.
“God loves everyone” is fuel for the social justice warrior who insists God wants equality for everyone. “God shows no partiality, right?” inquires the egalitarian, eisegetical, interpreter. We must answer biblical misinterpretation because America is now reaping the consequences in our penchant for Universalism and Arminianism in the church.
When Liberal Christian pastors assault what they have tagged, “Christian Nationalism,” they are also pointing at Bible interpretation problems. For instance, when a Christian is identified as a moral conservative, we must understand his interpretation of what the Bible says and means. Again, his application will manifest in public policy, as much as his Socialist, Globalist, Democrat neighbor in the church down the street.
The right-wing moralist interpreter of the Bible will point to the Law of Moses and then point at every social malady the country has produced. He loves to point to Democrat-dominated urban centers for the malaise of these socialist utopias. The problem is that there is no salvation produced by God’s Law. America is going to hell, just like all the other nations pretending to be united.
The left-wing antinomian interpreter of the Bible will point to universal love and then give free lunches to everyone. The problem is that there is no salvation produced by social programs, either. Socialism ends up starving the beneficiaries and also starving those who were supposed to work to help the beneficiaries (see the current I.R.S. tax code). One day, the workers decide it would be easier for them to be beneficiaries of the socialist state. They stop working for lack of incentive. This is why socialist economies fail every time.
The Jesus of Christian Nationalism, so-called, and the Jesus of Socialist Democracy are not the same Jesus. The fact is that neither of these different Jesus characters, in American politics, is the Jesus of the Bible. Both the Jesus of the Right and the Jesus of the Left do, however, resemble aspects of the Jesus of the Bible.
Jesus Christ is righteous (right-wing Jesus). Jesus Christ is merciful, loving compassionate, caring, and giving (left-wing Jesus). What Christians cannot do is fall short of a comprehensive Christology, derived from Scripture. My current problem is that I do not have space here to do that which I am encouraging you to do. Learn Christ, first, and then, teach Christ to others, in the Spirit, from the Bible, oriented to the historical faith, and in alignment with the community of faith.
In conclusion, Republican Jesus and Democrat Jesus are not the same, nor are they the Jesus of the Bible, even when they are taken together. Our collective American problem is deficient Christology, which is a deficiency in every nation. Therefore, the best we can do is learn the Jesus of the Bible and be prepared when we are wrong about Him…to some degree.
We need grace and knowledge in this matter, and only God can grant that to us via the Spirit of truth, correcting our interpretation of the Word of truth. A simple prayer for today might be, “God help us with our Bible interpretation before we kill each other over one particular Jesus in the name of some other Jesus.”
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
January 18, 2021