Meet the real and deadly enemy of effective gospel witness in our culture

Christians who want to meaningfully address their diverse communities are going to have to address white Christian nationalism

“I’ve met the enemy and it is us.”

I had to write an essay on that quote when I was in high school. I have no idea what I said, but the quote strikes me as timely today. A week after the deadly insurrection at the United States Capitol, it’s become clear to me that the single biggest barrier to effective witness to the gospel today is us.

In a jarring post, Thomas McKenzie argues that to many in our post-Christian culture “evangelical” is dangerously close to being associated with terrorism just as many associate Islam with terrorism. And he notes, it is with good reason:

It’s about time for us Christians—especially those of us who are theologically evangelical—to recognize that we’re in this situation right now. The majority of terroristic violence and death in America since 9/11 hasn’t been committed by Muslims or Communists or Antifa, but by White Christian Nationalists. On January 6th, we yet again witnessed something that can well be described as Christian Terrorism.  

Thomsas McKenzie

Chances are that as you read that paragraph, you grew angry. I get it.

I’d like you to set that anger aside and consider what MacKenzie is saying. Reluctantly–and indeed with great sorrow–I have to admit that he’s probably right.

Please note, I’m not saying–and neither is MacKenzie–that voting for Donald Trump makes you a white Christian nationalist. He notes:

Over 74 million Americans voted for Trump in 2020. A large percentage of them identify as Evangelicals. I am convinced that the vast majority of these are intelligent, good-hearted, patriotic people. They are not terrorists or terrorist sympathizers. In fact, in a recent survey, 82% of people who voted for Trump said they opposed the actions of the terrorists who stormed the Capitol building. 

Thomas McKenzie

At the same time, the events of the last week–indeed of the last four years–show that there is a small minority within Trump supporters who are inclined to idealogical extremism.

These people, and their beliefs, are enemies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

White Christian Nationalism is one of the most deadly diseases of the soul that I’ve encountered in my 27 years of ministry. It’s false, destructive, and evil. It may well be the single greatest hindrance to the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus to the unbeliever in this generation. Why would any unbeliever want to join us right now? Why would a good-hearted person look at this terroristic train-wreck and want to get involved? Come, Lord Jesus!

Thomas McKenzie

We have a challenging road ahead of us!