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The Gospel Coalition Uses Finland To Attack Christian Nationalism

The Gospel Coalition is a well-known Christian bastion that has a reputation for attacking Christians under persecution from the government. They showed their hand in the case of James Coates as the defended the Canadian government’s actions. Now in the notorious case of the MP in Finland who’s on trial for “hate speech” over a Twitter post quoting the Bible, a 2019 radio interview, and a 2004 church pamphlet. ADF International reports that longstanding parliamentarian and former government minister Päivi Räsänen was cross-examined in the Helsinki Court of Appeal and basically asked to recant her beliefs which are founded in Scripture. Päivi Räsänen was acquitted in a lower court ruling and a verdict is expected by November 30.

Joe Carter wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition using this trial to take aim at Christian Nationalism. Joe Carter is an associate pastor at McLean Bible Church, the church of David Platt, when he’s not writing FAQ type articles for Big Eva publications. His article titled, “‘Christian Nation’ Puts the Bible on Trial” attempts to pit the established church of Finland against the Christian Nationalism movement in laughable fashion, not realizing that Finland has a new state religion and it’s not Lutheranism.

But as Christian ethicist Andrew Walker pointed out, there’s something else to be considered.

“What else is worthy of your attention about this case?” asks Walker. “That this harassment of a Christian is happening in a country that has an established church.”

The church Räsänen criticized in her tweet for supporting the Pride event is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF). The ELCF, along with the Orthodox Church of Finland, has a legal position as a national church in the country.

Officially, the ELCF’s Church Order, ratified by the Finnish parliament, states that it “confesses that Christian faith which is based on the Holy Word of God, the prophetic and apostolic books of the Old and the New Testament” and the Lutheran confessional writings of the 16th century. In reality, the church and its leadership support numerous positions that are incompatible with orthodox Christianity, such as support for abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism.

Andrew Walker is a professor of ethics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who recently published an academic book coauthored by the liberal Paul Miller and Thomas Kidd. Like most academic elites, they dislike Christian Nationalism vehemently and look at Richard Land as a positive example of Baptist political engagement.

Andrew Walker thinks he’s making a big brained observation, but the story of Finland Bible Trial is one of Finland wrestling between two masters: God and liberalism. Liberal churches are apostate and not considered Christian, yet they didn’t go apostate because they are state backed establishments. They went apostate because the church leadership preached a different gospel and served a different god. After all the Episcopal Church in the United States is not state-backed and has all the same apostacies as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

This trial in Finland should provide a lesson to Christian nationalists in other countries who believe we can and should impose blasphemy laws against heresy. As Europe has shown, you can certainly create a nominally Christian state church or government in the West. But establishing a “Christian nation” doesn’t mean much when expressive individualism remains the national religion. As we see in Finland, the established church will inevitably go apostate and people will leave an established church when any attempt is made to hold the line on orthodoxy.

Joe Carter misses the point because Finland does have blasphemy laws against their gay gods and Päivi Räsänen is being persecuted for violating them. Christian Nationalist, on blasphemy laws, argue “it’s not whether but which” indicating that some form of blasphemy law will exist. Christian Nationalism denies that government is a neutral institution. Clearly, Finland is a textbook example of why principled pluralism does not work, but Joe Carter and Andrew Walker want to make a straw man about established religion which Christian Nationalists are not advocating. Instead, they are advocating that the state give partiality to Christianity, citing Romans 13.

Whether Räsänen wins or loses this case, the result is the same: we need to focus more on robust religious liberty protections rather than attempting to create nominal state churches. After all, as Walker asks, “What good is a ‘Christian Nation’ that persecutes and punishes Christians?”

Ending with a straw man, Joe Carter denounces the movement to create state established churches. Moreover, it’s not biblical to advocate any religious liberty that is not for the advancement of the Christian religion. The Southern Baptist Convention notoriously defended the rights of Muslims to build a mosque by supported government lockdowns of churches in 2020, as previously mentioned The Gospel Coalition defended such tyranny. Thus, history continues to demonstrate the subversive history of The Gospel Coalition and its founders.

Finland and The Gospel Coalition must choose which god they will serve: liberalism or the God of the Bible.

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