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Politics and Christian Nationalism: Will History Look Upon us Favorably?

This week’s adult Sabbath school lesson recounts how the Bible stayed alive during the dark ages of the French Revolution. At times it appeared its light would be snuffed out, but the truth of the Bible’s words continued to spread, even more so during times of persecution. In today’s world, we could say the Bible lives in a place of safety. There are so many Bibles available in family homes and hotel desk drawers. However, there seem to be new perils lurking.

In a recent report from NBC news, reporter Mike Hixenbauh covers a live taping of “Flashpoint,” a national television program that won loyal viewers with a blend of pro-Trump political commentary and prophetic messages about God’s divine plans for America. In the article, participants share why they like the show, stating that it gives them “truth.” One person quoted said, “This is the only news show where you hear what Jesus thinks.” According to the article, a regular presenter and self-described prophet, Lance Wallnau, popularized the “seven mountains mandate…that says Christians are called to claim positions of power atop seven key mountains of society including government, education, business, and media.” Another lead presenter on the show is known for uplifting Trump as a “flawed leader” sinful like David, yet believed to be anointed by God to “save the world.” 

More and more people seem to flock toward this mix of politics and religion. Bradley Onishi, author of Preparing for War, covering the rise of Christian nationalism in America, is quoted in the article. He says, “To Flashpoint loyalists, political debates are no longer just about who wins the next election…they are about the fate of eternity.” Indeed, with recent printings of the Bible containing documents like the U.S. Constitution, we are encountering things never seen before.

The constant migration of church and state in the United States, while twisting the Bible to fit within its political agenda, should give Christ-followers and Adventists concern. As we know from Bible prophecy, in the end times the lamb-like beast will rise up in opposition to God’s word. Many Adventists believe the lamb represents the United States. Yet, we see some church-goers ready to hop on the bandwagon of Christian nationalism. Instead of using the Bible as a lens to gauge our political worldview, many take the opposite approach. Seeing the erosion of the wall between the church and state, we should pause and return to study the prophecies of the Bible. We cannot forget that a nation won’t save us. As the statue from Daniel 2 reminds us, the kingdoms of this world will crumble.

We have good news, however. As the lesson pointed out, the word of God will endure forever. As Adventists, we have a unique message of hope during this era of political idolatry. We must maintain our stance separating church and state. We must spread the prophetic message that there is no earthly kingdom that can save us. From the Adventist church’s official stance on church-state relations, it reads: “We must remain ever mindful of the dangers that are associated with religious influence on civil affairs and assiduously avoid such dangers.”

I attended an Adventist church years ago on the fourth of July. It was a strange experience as we sang patriotic songs and even waved small American flags. It didn’t feel right to me to combine that celebration into a church service. Later that day, I wrote a post on social media that read: “Happy Birthday, Lamblike Beast.” This was my attempt at humor while referencing the United States being prophesied as the lamb-like beast from Revelation 13. I received interesting responses, including some readers feeling offended that I was being “unpatriotic.” As followers of Christ, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that America will not save us, only Christ can. Our churches must keep their hands clean from the current trends of Christian nationalism.

Let us not give in to this current stupor and do our part as keepers of the word of God to shine a light in the darkness. The great controversy continues to happen all around us. As the musical Hamilton reminds us, “history has its eyes on you.” No country, political party, or human leader can save us, only God can, and His kingdom is not of this world. 

About the author

Krystalynn Westbrook-Martin is the former vice principal for spiritual life at Auburn Adventist Academy. She has served as a minister, teacher, and administrator in the Seventh-day Adventist Church for over two decades. She is currently completing a PhD in Transformative Social Change, with an emphasis in Peace and Justice Studies. More from Krystalynn Westbrook-Martin.
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