In this live episode of Gospelbound from TGC’s 2021 National Conference, I’m joined by two esteemed guests who can help explain the origins and shape of Christian nationalism with a view toward the promises of the gospel. Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in California. Justin Giboney is cofounder of the AND Campaign, an attorney, and a political strategist in Atlanta.

Mike did not refer to Christian nationalism in his December 2020 article for TGC, “The Cult of Christian Trumpism.” But I think he captured the same concept in what he called “Christian Americanism,” which he described this way: “Christian Americanism is the narrative that God specially called the United States into being as an extraordinary—verging on miraculous—providence. Passages from the election of Israel in the old covenant are lifted out of context and applied to America.

Back in November 2015, I ate dinner with one of President Trump’s biggest supporters. At the time, of course, Trump was only one candidate among many in the Republican primary. And I did not understand the depth of passion among his supporters. This person explained to me that America is the last hope of Christianity. And I thought I simply misheard, or that he got the order wrong. So I corrected him. You mean that Christianity is the last hope of America, right? He said no, America is the last hope of Christianity. Well—that’s Christian nationalism.

And then you had January 6 at the U.S. Capitol. I agree with Tim Keller’s assessment: “It will be many years before the sights and sounds of evangelical religious symbols and language in the Capitol riot will fade from national consciousness. We have all been stained with it.”

Whether or not your church would advocate Christian nationalism, it’s become an apologetics challenge for church leaders in terms of public perception. That’s where I aim to help in this episode of Gospelbound by asking Mike and Justin a few questions. 

Editors’ note: 

This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Brave by Faith by Alistair Begg. More information at thegoodbook.com.