July 4th is almost here again, the U.S. holiday celebrating the declaration of our independence from Britain, and this year Christian nationalism seems to be on the rise.
*** Newly updated for 2022!!!
Christian Nationalism, the mixing of Christianity and American nationalism, has been problematic both theologically and politically, since its emergence in the 1950s. As a movement, Christian nationalism began to accelerate in the wake of 9/11 and reached its current peaks with the election of Donald Trump in 2016. A number of important books exposing and challenging Christian nationalism have been published in recent years.
Although we have good reasons to love the geography and human cultures of our nation, these sorts of patriotism too easily get conflated with nationalism. How do we balance our biblical call to love, care for, and seek the welfare of our neighbors with our identity as followers of Jesus, whose reign was not of this world?
Here are a few books challenging Christian nationalism that we’ve found helpful as we wrestle with these questions about faith, politics and nation, and strive to be a faithful community of Christ’s followers.
Resident Aliens: A Provocative Christian Assessment of Culture and Ministry for People Who Know that Something is Wrong
Stanley Hauerwas /
|An accessible, yet challenging introduction to the theological idea that a Christian’s primary identity is to the people of God, and not to a geographical nation.
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Peter Leithart’s Between Babel and Beast would also be an excellent addition to this list.
So, Christian Globalism, then? Or are you suggesting Christian Localism?
I’m certainly more open to Christian localism – a church is a local social body has a presence that bears witness in a particular time and place.
On the other hand, I’m hesitant to just about any form of using Christian as an adjective, baptizing that particular system as “Christian.” To paraphrase Stanley Hauerwas, the church doesn’t have a social agenda, the church IS a social agenda.”
I would add
The Psychology of Christian Nationalism: Why People Are Drawn In and How to Talk Across the Divide
By: Pamela Cooper-White
Jane, thanks for your recommendation of this book!!! It’s been on my radar, and in fact was featured on our May list of new theology books: https://englewoodreview.org/ten-theology-books-to-watch-for-may-2022/
But it’s so new that I haven’t had a chance to read it yet and see how it rates compared to the books on this list.
So, I appreciate your recommendation of it, definitely makes me want to dive into it soon.
Check out Cross Purposes by Bob Welch.
This is very new:
The Religion of American Greatness
What’s Wrong with Christian Nationalism
by Paul D. Miller
Foreword by David French