America’s Renewal, Nationalism, and the Triune God

William Wolfe has written a very fine article over at Center for Renewing America. That article is entitled “America’s Renewal Requires a Foundation of Nationalism.” I commend it to you. I want to render a hearty amen to Wolfe’s article and offer a few thoughts of my own that popped up in the wake of reading his. First, a bit about the lay of the land.

Our Immediate Context

We live in a time when the wheels have fallen off. The wokeness has reached insane levels such that a good Christian like William Wolfe could be tarred and feathered for saying something like, “National leaders should serve their own nations.” Step back for a minute and think about how silly things have gotten. 

Upon his resurrection, Christ told his disciples to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). Now, the deceiver is always up to his tricks. And one of those tricks is an attempt to erase nations. “If we erase nations,” says the bad guys, “then the Christians won’t be able to disciple them.” And so we have the leftist, globalist goo going on all over. That globalist goo says William Wolfe must be a misogynist, homophobic racist because he goes on insisting that America should exist, as a nation even!

Wolfe’s Point

Wolfe makes the pertinent point that open societies and open borders are for the birds (my words not his) and “nationalism is on the ascendency” (the way he actually put it). He provides a clear definition of nationalism, sketches the origins of nationalism, and concludes with a challenge to policy makers to adopt an appropriately defined nationalism as a key ingredient to our much needed national renewal. I agree with the direction Wolfe is driving.

It has been said that the Bible must be preached according to the necessity and capacity of the hearer. And Jesus himself told his followers, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). Along these lines, Wolfe does a good job of meeting our policy makers where they are, which is teetering on the edge of the abyss. He comes to them with the very mild counsel that seeing they are elected representatives of these United States, they should not represent the citizens of Poland. And they should not represent all nations combined. They should simply represent the citizens who elected them, the citizens of the United States.

Where From Here?

If America’s civil leaders heed this counsel, they will of course need to know how to govern, legislate, and rule. And the Christian Church has a word on that matter. The coming generation of American leaders must govern in the fear of God. That fear is the very beginning of wisdom. You cannot go one step down the road of wisdom without the fear of the Lord. And the only other road available is the way of folly and we are far enough down that hellish highway already.

An outright rejection of open borders is necessary for our national recovery. And if the result of such a rejection is nationalism, then it must be abundantly clear that the only foundation for such nationalism is the Triune God. Remember, John Lennon didn’t only want to imagine away countries and possessions. He wanted to imagine away heaven. And he had the insight to start with erasing heaven. He knew that the heaven and hell border was the archetype from which all other borders arise. It follows that if we want to restore things in America, then we must be restored to the God of heaven.

This restoration will take many forms, the first of which runs along the lines of “you must be born again.” The very first thing that dry bones must do if they would rule well is live. Any attempt to renew our nation that doesn’t begin with the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God is doomed to end in tyranny. We have prided ourselves in government by the people. But government by an unregenerate and godless people is bad news. That kind of thing gets you the tyrannical measures we’ve undergone through COVID. The point is not that all of our problems will be solved when we get decent Christians in office. The point is, however, if you would govern one nation under God, it would be instrumental if you yourself were under him as well.

We live in a fallen world. And more to the point, we live in a time when many in the United States are being given over to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. So I can understand a man saying, “I’ve got to make a practical decision and play with the political hand that has been dealt me.” I commend this kind of shrewdness. And as we deal practically in the real world, let us join with saints gone by saying to our rules, “Kiss the Son, lest you perish in the way.” And let us not lose sight of clear Bible verses like that from King David:

“He that ruleth over men must be just, Ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, Even a morning without clouds; As the tender grass springing out of the earth By clear shining after rain” (2 Samuel 23:3-4).

In short, if you want good and just leaders who will result in blessing on the land, then you must have leaders who rule in the fear of God. If you take away the fear of God, then you take away the engine that drives the whole operation.

God has greatly blessed our nation. And there is a way back to living under the blessing of God. But that way back demands that we acknowledge him. Any proposal that looks to the things of earth without looking to heaven is vain and will only lead to more of the same insanity we’ve been living through. This point sounds quaint to some evangelicals who are tired of being played by greasy politicians. And it sounds worrisome to other evangelicals who have imbibed the lie of a secular public square and are not sure about the civil ramifications of a robust political commitment to the Lordship of Christ.

But wherever evangelicals are on the matter, the text of Scripture is quite plain. All civil magistrates are “God’s ministers” (Romans 13:6). Now that is a metaphysical commitment if I’ve ever seen one. If America is to be renewed, and we desperately need her to be renewed, then we must hold fast to this central message: Every last civil leader, be he in the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of our government, is a servant of the Triune Christian God (Romans 13:4). And servants, after all, must obey their masters.