American Christian nationalism is not the way of Jesus Christ

Estimated read time 5 min read

Christian authoritarian nationalism was not intended by the American Constitution or to be the path to a righteous Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Some in American society are promoting the idea that the way to enhance Christianity in America is to replace the government provided in the Constitution to a “Christian theonomy” based upon Old Testament models.

The American colonists and their leaders had sought a new life in America to escape the old order in Europe which dictated a certain religion chosen by the monarchy and was poorly tolerate of others. Traditionally monarchs were coronated ceremoniously to give the message to the population that they were given power to rule by heavenly decree. Church leaders shared secular authority leading to corruption of Christ’s true message. The new colonists had witnessed bitter religious wars dividing neighbors.

The Declaration of Independence written mostly by Thomas Jefferson recognized that all men were created equal with unalienable rights by their Creator. It further states that no monarch could remove these rights. The reader is reminded that King George was the titular head of the Church England. At the time the leaders of the new American rebellion wanted to show the public that King George had broken his sacred Christian duty to the American colonies which justified revolution.

When it came time to write the American constitution however this statement was not inserted into the historic document. In fact there is no direct reference about God at all even though six of the writers where involved in both documents.

The Founding Fathers of the Constitution wanted the government to be guided and function with the consent of the people. Not to have a monarchy or be beholding to the leaders of any particular religion. Witness that the very first amendment prohibited establishing an official religion or impediment of one’s right to practice their chosen faith.

The mostly Christian population of the new American country was very diverse. Included were German Lutherans, Massachusetts Puritans, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Quakers, Calvinists and many others. Although to great extent the King James Bible ultimately became the most read there was also the Geneva, Catholic, Eliot (Irish), Roman Catholic and other Bibles.

For centuries regimes with a theonomy that is to say a Christian based government had failed in Europe in every case. They brought the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Catholic vs. Protestant, and even Protestant versus Protestant wars killing thousands. This was caused by the fact that Church leadership having been granted significant secular authority as well religious “authentication” could declare otherwise immoral or unjust actions as deemed appropriate by God. The Founding Fathers did not want this to happen in the new United States of America.

Beginning in the 17th century and continuing today religious scholars have thought about the laws that govern leaders and their populations behavior towards one another. Most contemporary thinking is that the New Testament wanted to bring about change by the internalization of God’s message into the hearts and minds of every individual instead of by the domination of religious authorities with governmental power forcing them.

Most of Christianity accepted that laws that apply to man can be divided into “natural law” surmised by the Pagan Prophets as well as identified by the early prophets. Moses in the Ten Commandments collected and added upon this laws in the Old Testament. Before Christ this was what man had managed to understand about God. Christ added to that covenant in his parables and sermons recorded by the apostles in the New Testament. He does not define an economy or government but talks about the way leaders and population should act to each other. He stressed that the main commandments where to love your neighbor and love God.

Before there were kings there were prophets who advised the people and their leaders of God’s message. In the Old Testament when the Jewish people ask for a king God warns them that kings will have human weaknesses and a desire to act greedily. Similarly when Jesus was teaching his ministry he always said he was not the Messiah or King of this world. His goal was increase understanding of God’s covenant with all humans. The way to a Kingdom of Heaven on earth was by loving your neighbor and loving God. Not by installing an authoritarian with flawed ideology and acting as a false idol. He also identified that some of the previous ritual laws such as to diet, severe punishment, and others were not important to be righteous with God. He separated civil matters from religious matters.

Christ in his teaching identified that civil government and religious leaderships are not inherently the same. Most contemporary Christian leaders in democratized Western civilizations hold that the church and not the government is the place to develop faith. This is an important legacy as well of the American constitution. Some of those promoting a new Christian nationalism want to create a new model government for America based the outdated view of the failed Jewish Kingdoms. They seem to forget that the message of the Bible is that they failed because of they did not follow what God commanded.

Imposing an “official Christian government” in the United States will not lead to the promise of Kingdom of Heaven on earth by following Jesus Christ.

Professor Tony Magana

Dr. Tony Magana is Professor Emeritus in Neurosurgery who spent many years doing international teaching and research including 10 years in Ethiopia. Over the past 15 years he concomitantly intensified his Christian faith through study and worship through the Episcopal Church. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Attended Texas A&M University, Harvard Medical School, and trained at the University of Miami. Additionally he took the University of South Education for Ministry as well as attending the Southeast Florida Episcopal Diocesan School for Christian Studies.
Professor Tony Magana, a seasoned neurosurgeon, has not only dedicated his life to medical practice but also embarked on a profound spiritual journey. Over the past 15 years, he has deepened his Christian faith through study and worship within the Episcopal Church. His experiences span international teaching, research, and a decade of service in Ethiopia
Dr. Tony Magana’s writings blend faith, compassion, and wisdom, inviting readers to explore the intersection of spirituality and the human experience. His journey serves as an inspiration for those seeking deeper connections with faith and humanity.

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