Navigating the Discourse on Christian Nationalism: A Personal Inquiry

Recently, I’ve found myself grappling with the term “Christian nationalism.” As someone admittedly out of touch with the latest discussions, this phrase struck me with a mix of curiosity and confusion. The concept, at first glance, seemed to align with what I understood from both words individually. When combined, they appeared not only coherent but deeply rooted in biblical teachings. The notion of Christian nationalism, if it implies a special love for one’s country, resonates with both implicit and explicit biblical directives. This realization prompted me to delve deeper, seeking clarity in a landscape that felt both familiar and bewildering.

Such a perspective draws from the teachings of the Scripture and the nuanced relationships it depicts. It underscores a tiered approach to love, suggesting a model where the affection we hold for different groups of people is not equal but ordered in a way that reflects our Christian values. This doesn’t just stem from a theological study but from a lived experience and a personal journey through the necessities of life and love.

Biblical Reflections and Relationships

As I suggested above, the Bible doesn’t shy away from depicting special relationships. From the nuanced bonds between Jesus and His Apostles, to a particular relationship and love for Peter, James, and John. Then you have the prioritization in instructions given to husbands in loving their wives (as seen in Ephesians 5:25). In these we see the Scripture emphasizing the depth of specific love.

These examples put on display a tiered approach to affection and responsibility, highlighting that not all relationships are created equal but are all significant in their own right. this has nothing to do with any sort of philosophical partiality. It simply has to do with our finite obligation to love and protect certain people more than others. We are not neither omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent. This is not only necessary because of our nature, but a gift from God.
This tiered approach to love and loyalty makes perfect sense to me. It speaks to the reality of our human condition — the natural inclination to forge deeper love with certain people and communities, including our nation. However, the current conversarion around Christian nationalism I see seems to present a group of people (including some Christians whom I respect a great deal) that abhor this notion, suggesting that a deep love for one’s country conflicts with the broader commandment to love one’s neighbor. it seems to suggest that one cannot be patriotic, and I have a true sense of godly justice..

A Journey of Understanding

Humor me as I dive deeper into these reflections: I sort of recognize the complexity of aligning this prioritization of love with my Christian faith. But we seem to have a world that often views such connections the way the Grinch viewed Christmas. The idea of loving my country, informed by biblical teachings, is something I hold dear, especially as my son graduated from the Air Force this week. Yet, I am left cunfused by the discourse I am increasingly witnessing on social media.

In sharing these thoughts, my aim isn’t to assert a definitive stance but rather to invite conversation. I’m trying to exploring this terrain with an open heart and mind, seeking to understand the intersection of faith, love, and national identity in a way that remains true to my beliefs while engaging with with sensitivity the wider world’s concerns.


As I continue on this journey, I’m reminded of the biblical call to love — a call that doesn’t simplify relationships into black and white but appreciates the vast spectrum of human connections. It’s a reminder that, perhaps, in navigating our love for God, family, church, and nation, the key lies in distinguishing between our philosophical love for those and our, to whom we have particular love—those God has placed directly in our pathd and made us responsible for.
Where am I going wrong?


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    5 replies to "The Grinch Who Stole America"

    • Daniel Eaton

      Where are you going wrong is that Christian Nationalism is not the same thing as a patriotic Christian. I responded to your comment just a bit ago on Facebook with some examples and details. If you want to wear the label, you need to fully understand it and what others believe that to mean. Otherwise it is like a cult that uses a term one way and others define it totally differently.

    • Ed Chapman

      I’m 59, and as a USN Vet, I’m obviously a NATIONALIST, due to love of country, and the reason for love of country is the fact that when I was a child, civics was taught beginning in the 5th grade. US and World History was taught, with both the Civil War, and WW2 taught. Even the made for TV movie, Roots, played on TV when I grew up.

      So here you have a bunch of Christians that defected from the Church of England, who basically wanted to live in harmony with one another with certain freedoms that they believed came from God, not man. Hence, the Bill of Rights. Our Declaration of Independence states that we have certain rights that come from God. No one can take away those rights. But today, our government and activists are trying. Christians are doing a terrible job at fighting back, as our Christian founders would have wanted us to.

      Contrary to popular belief, our nation was not set up as a secular government, nor was it set up as a theocracy. The whole idea behind “separation from church and state” was that the government was not going to tell the church how to conduct business. But, chuch goers are citizens, church goers are WE THE PEOPLE, and as such, Christians can tell the government how to conduct their business.

      Let’s take the 2nd Amendment, for example. You have the right to bear arms. Tank tops do well in bearing your arms…oops, wrong topic. Seriously, you don’t have to exercise your rights, if you don’t want to, but it is your GOD GIVEN RIGHT.

      I do not agree with anyone who states that a Christian Nationalist is EXTREME. When I was born, we were only one generation past WW2, and I was in the last segment of the boomers generation. We learned the Pledge of Allegiance in school, not just recited it. We gave respect to the WW2 vets at parades, when they would pass out the “Forget Me Not” tags. I was born in the early 60’s, before the hippie movement, before atheism took major root in America. There were church bells ringing on Sundays, and it bothered no one. We had Christmas plays when I was in elementary school, celebrating the birth of Jesus. Even Charlie Brown did, too!

      In the last several years, however, I’ve noticed that a huge segment of Baptists seem to have a bad view of America’s founding, and that somehow the flag is “worshiped”, and that Baptists belong to the Kingdom of God alone, and “not of the world”, i.e. America, but are thankful for their freedoms here, as opposed to other nations. But their love of country is lacking. Their allegiance to America is lacking.

      God and Country go hand in hand. It was, by the way, a Baptist minister who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, not long after the Civil War, as a means to bring the UNION together, not as a divisive means to separate. Red Skelton did a fantastic job at explaining the meaning of the pledge, and can be found on YouTube.

      It’s not wrong to be a Christian Nationalist, nor is it extreme.

      • C Michael Patton

        My granddad was on Pearl Harbor in the heat of the battle the entire time. He was one of those guys. Obviously, he was private pattern not general pattern! The old general, my coz, was fighting on the other side of the world after this! his Pearl Harbor story was probably the greatest story that was told in our family by a family member. We had it on tape for years and years, and my dad‘s briefcase got stolen out of his car and we lost it. Anyway, I know what you’re saying. The further we get from that generation, the more distant we get from an understanding of the grassroots natural law society we lived in. God was not an afterthought. He was the assumption behind at all. You are absolutely right about the separation of church and state. However, the country was set up in such a way that it was free to go away from their belief in God, but they could not ever go away from the assumption of God behind the Lex Rex. thank you for your service my friend. I’m 51, so we are very close in age and from the same generation. God bless America.

    • Tim Gilman

      Thank Michael for your interest and desire to understand this very serious crossroads that the American Church now finds itself in . . . There has been much work done in the regard and many books to choose from.

      First and foremost I would recommend: “The Kingdom, The Power & The Glory” by Tim Alberta . .. . one of the best I have read so far.

      Also the new film “God + County” will help connect some of the dots for you as well.

      Keep the conversation and discovery going.

      • William Tarbush

        Do you find God+Country to be a balanced statement of what Christian Nationalists (if anyone uses the term for self-referral) think? I see a lot of people that speak against it but no one stating what they believe.

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