A brand new resource for combating Christian nationalism sees it as a ‘distortion of the gospel’

(RNS) — On Jan. 6, Josh Scott of Nashville’s GracePointe Church watched photos of the Capitol revolt with a rising sense of fright.

The unmistakable Christian parts had been laborious to miss — “Jesus Saves” signs and flags, a tall picket depraved, the prayer thanking God “for allowing the USA of The us to be reborn.”

“I became speechless and livid,” acknowledged Scott, who pastors a nondenominational 350-member church. “And I believed, ‘What is this thing on TV that is masquerading itself as in a design being connected to the custom of Jesus, who gave his existence non-violently?’”

That thing, he came to worship, is Christian nationalism, and he started speaking out about it from the pulpit.

A free consortium of Christian organizations whose contributors had been correct as scandalized as Scott has now produced a 3-session grownup stare curriculum called “Responding to Christian Nationalism” for pastors who want to coach church contributors. 

Amanda Tyler. Photo courtesy of Baptist Joint Committee

Amanda Tyler. Inform courtesy of Baptist Joint Committee

Printed by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and Vote Total Upright, the curriculum defines Christian nationalism as a merging of Christianity with American identification. “It’s a poison infecting our theology and our religion itself, acknowledged Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee, speaking of Christian nationalism. “That’s the discipline that’s pushed a lot of the organizing around it.”

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Founded by the Southern Baptists in 1936, the Baptist Joint Committee is neutral of that group but committed to preserving spiritual freedom and defending the separation of church and verbalize.  

Two years prior to now, the Baptist Joint Committee launched Christians In opposition to Christian Nationalism, a assertion signed by 22,000 Christians, largely clergy, condemning Christian nationalism as a “distortion of the gospel of Jesus and a threat to American democracy.”

Now it’s joined up with Vote Total Upright, a liberal-leaning evangelical community led by Doug Pagitt devoted to mobilizing of us of religion to vote beyond narrow Republican interests.

The curriculum gives biblical passages to remind Christians that their closing loyalty must quiet be to God and examines how Christian nationalism would possibly perchance well also neutral overlap with racism and white supremacy.

The resource solutions video clips from Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, and Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in The us. Tyler acknowledged she hoped it goes to be feeble as a foundation for a sermon collection or for dialogue groups now that many church buildings are assembly all all over again in particular person.

Up to now, 334 of us maintain downloaded the curriculum, and extra are anticipated as soon as it’s fully publicized, Tyler acknowledged.

Some Christian leaders had been fundamental of Christian nationalism successfully earlier than the Jan. 6 Capitol revolt, notably in the insistence amongst some white evangelicals that The us became founded on biblical suggestions as a Christian nation.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump put up a Cross outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A particular person locations up a Defective start air the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Inform by Purchase McNamee/Getty Photos)

“Our want is to point out Jesus as we win him in the gospel, no longer an Americanized, politicized version of Jesus,” acknowledged Rick McKinley, pastor of Imago Dei, a non-denominational Christian congregation in Portland, Oregon, who intends to insist the curriculum.

McKinley acknowledged there are risks for any pastor in that message. When he started pushing his church to cope with diversity and inclusion, he acknowledged, he lost about 300 of us who weren’t ready to abandon their glimpse that being a actual Christian and a patriotic American had been intertwined. (Pre-COVID-19, some 2,000 attended his church providers each week.)

He thinks “Responding to Christian Nationalism” can offer a structured design for pastors to coach church contributors on the discipline.

“There are a ton of pastors who prefer to hurry their congregation but don’t know how,” he acknowledged. “I feel the curriculum will be in actuality precious for that.”

The resource gives a biblical dialogue of misplaced loyalties and gives passages similar to the Ten Commandment injunction, “You shall assign no longer want any other gods earlier than me,” which Jesus repeats in the Gospel of Luke, “Worship the Lord your God, and attend easiest him.”

Other Christian groups are competing with the curriculum’s message from the assorted course. One, the Middle for Renewing The us and Heritage Circulate for The us, gives a toolkit for combating fundamental speed draw, the educational framework for the stare of systemic racism, which they judge is a threat to Christianity.

Nonetheless Todd Blake, pastor of Madison Heights Baptist Church in Madison Heights, Virginia, and a trustee of the Baptist Joint Committee, acknowledged his identification as a Baptist compels him to oppose Christian nationalism. Baptists historically adverse any authorities with an established religion or spiritual insist.

“I don’t prefer Christianity to maintain this hottest put in American politics over and in opposition to of us of alternative faiths or no religion,” he acknowledged. “I prefer spiritual liberty and I prefer my neighbor to maintain it, too.”

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