The Gospel Coalition recently created a series of Ted Talk videos they call TGC Talks which started off with a Critical Race Theorist, Justin Giboney that largely functioned as a defense of Woke Evangelicalism. The most recent TGC Talk was denouncing “Christian Nationalism” right before Americans celebrate Independence Day. Michael Horton gives the lecture. Horton is a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary.
Immediately he begins by recounting January 6th. He paints the picture as Christians wanting to murder then Vice President Mike Pence. With what weapons? Don’t know. But obviously, Horton cares more about a few Congressmen being afraid of a popular uprising than Ashli Babbitt being murdered and a bunch of people who were let into Capitol Hill and taking selfies with Capitol Police being wantonly mistreated by the Justice Department. This is to say nothing of the summer of love last year.
A glaring problem ensues. Michael Horton claims that a poll found that Christian nationalism is a popular concept. But he never defines this term. There are two major understandings of Christian Nationalism, by those who claim to be or support it. The first is a compound definition. As in they are both a Christian and a nationalist. But nationalism, like populism, is a beta ideology. No one is a nationalist and nothing else. Nationalism is also pit in the center between globalism and localism.
The other understanding is that since Christians are to be ambassadors of Christ, they are Christian Nationalists of Christ’s kingdom that’s not of this world. And there are variations of this view that can largely stem from eschatology.
But Michael Horton never posits a substantive alternative definition, instead relying on assumptions of the audience.
He then moves on to a major strawman argument that American believe that America is the new Israel of the Old Testament. This is not a widely held point of view. There are those who believe that America is uniquely blessed by God, but they do not confuse this with Old Testament Israel. Given that premillennial dispensationalism is likely the most popular eschatological position in the country, it would be far easier to argue that Americans have an unhealthy veneration for the modern state of Israel. But then there’s an alternative understanding of Israel as the Christ’s church.
The straw man fallacy in this case involves Michael Horton forming an easy opponent to knock over, one that is not widely believed outside of Paula White circles.