Is God using the secular media to get our attention?
Recently, Rolling Stone magazine did a hit piece on Dutch Sheets about Christian nationalism. Now let me be clear, I don’t typically go to Rolling Stone to do theology. And I have no doubt, having read the article, that they took many of his comments out of context (see below). However, when candidate Trump ran for president, we all said, “God can use anybody. Why not Trump?” Amen. Thus, God can also use the anti-God media to reveal truth, particularly when the Church has been blinded to it.
I believe that is the case with Christian nationalism. I’ve had many people tell me that it’s not real or it is just a fringe movement (and many others grateful that I am addressing it). But here is a clip put out by one of those media outlets that is clearly anti-Christian, yet is willing to confront things that the Church is not. Warning! There is foul language.
You’ll notice that right in the very middle is a very famous revivalist calling for firing squads, and just before him is a well-known pastor calling for executions. This same pastor recently led a “Let’s go Brandon,” chant in a large church. It’s not just the fringe!
Back to Rolling Stone
With that in mind, let’s take a look at one of the main quotes from Dutch Sheets and then examine it with scripture and Church history. I have known of Dutch Sheets for many years and hold him in high regard. I have no doubt of his love for the Lord, the scriptures and the United States. Disagreeing with someone’s interpretation of scripture is not at all meant to be a takedown. We can respectfully engage in debate over the meaning of scripture..
Sheets advocates for the merging of the Church with the government to rule America.
“We must marry these two arenas — the civil and the sacred [the government and the Church]. They are not separate in Scripture. God never intended for it to be separate.”
I have been studying this subject for the last year as I was writing my most recent book, When Kingdoms Collide. What I discovered was exactly the opposite. Jesus makes a clear distinction between the Kingdom of God and the domain of Caesar and teaches us that we have an obligation to both (Matt. 22:21). While Paul is willing to disobey Caesar’s law when it comes to preaching the gospel, in most instances, he encourages the believers to submit to Caesar in matters pertaining to civil law (Romans 13:1-7). Some have suggested in the past few years that if civil governments are corrupt, we don’t have to obey them. Just a reminder, the murderer Nero was emperor when Paul penned those words. Peter backs this up in 1 Peter 2:12ff and even tells us to honor the emperor!
The idea of a Christian nation seems wonderful, right? Yet, any student of Church history will tell you that when the Church and the government are one, it does not lead to utopia but oppression. As Dr. Mark Chironna recently wrote:
The marriage of church and state in history has proven to breed corruption and compromise, and leads to religious oppression, not freedom. Studying history would actually prove beneficial for contemporary advocates who seem to fail to discern the times. No matter how we seek to reconcile the two, Jesus and Caesar are worlds apart. 
In fact, they are two different worlds—the temporal and the eternal. They will eventually merge, but not under an earthly leader. Only Yeshua can do this.
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever. (Rev. 11:15)
The Apostles didn’t need a Christian Nation
During the days of the apostles, not only was the government against them but so was the religious institution. And they lit the world on fire. They planted New Testament congregations wherever they went. They preached the gospel and cast out demons.
We see the same thing in China today. As Dr. Michael Brown points out:
It’s the same with countries like China today. While the Christians there might love their country, they understand that China was not birthed as a Christian nation, and the national leadership is anything but Christian. The Chinese government wants to crush and destroy the Church, and the believers know that they are citizens of another, heavenly kingdom, even while living here on earth. There is no confusion about where their ultimate loyalties lie.
And still, they’ve gone from 1 million believers in 1948 to roughly 160,000,000 today. The gospel has always prospered in its most authentic way in the midst of opposition, not with a State-Church.
As I’ve stated in the past, the Founding Fathers of America were not seeking to set up an exclusively Christian nation. Were most of them Christian—at least nominally? Of course. But they specifically had a constitution that guaranteed freedom for all peoples, all denominations, and even other religions. That did not mean they were promoting such religions, but they understood from history the oppression that comes from a State-Church, to which everyone must swear allegiance. Joe Mattera explains:
As we examine America’s founding, we observe that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution did not overtly place the nation under the lordship of Jesus (although there were clear references to biblical passages and biblical principles in both documents). Additionally, the sovereign in the Constitution was not Jesus, but “We the People.”
Mattera also points out that “America never employed a Christian symbol on its flag or dollar bills.” Why? Could it be that while they wanted a nation of Christians, they did not want a Christian nation? They knew well the history of Europe. First, the watering down of New Testament Christianity can be linked to Christianity becoming the state religion of Rome. Second, The Thirty Years (1618-1648) was primarily a civil war between Catholics and Protestants, and it led to as many as 8 million deaths! They knew firsthand the devastation that came when the Church and State were one. And contrary to popular belief, Mattera claims the American Revolution had a negative influence on the Church.
“However, the revolution weakened the spiritual life of the churches. It increased secularization, as America’s political ideals and activism virtually replaced church attendance and Christian theology, as well as a person’s commitment to Christ. During that time, the belief was that if one was not on the side of the American patriots, he was accursed of God. According to some, the American Revolution became the guiding light for organizing churches, interpreting the Bible and expressing the Christian faith.” 
They were finding their identity, not in Messiah, but in the American Revolution. Is this what happened in post-2020-election America? Did some blur the lines between their devotion to Jesus and commitment to a political party or candidate? Overturning the election became the primary purpose for many Christians to gather together for prayer. One Christian leader told me that she had never prayed and fasted for anything else as much as she did for the overturning of the election. Sadly, she could not see how deeply disturbing her confession was. Souls had become second to political outcomes. Mattera continues:
Consequently, American patriotism and the revolution’s cause became more important than preaching the gospel. It also replaced Christian missions. Thus, the present-day connection between Christianity and engagement in politics is nothing new. It is easily noticeable by those versed in history.”
As I wrote last week, some are creating a new Jesus. It is what I call American Revolutionary theology, creating a new Jesus in light of the Revolution. Are we made in the image of God, or are we recreating Jesus in an image we like? The Jesus of the New Testament did not call for armed revolution but world evangelism. He pushed the disciples away from thinking his mission was political (Acts 1:6-8) and empowered them with the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel. That is not to say that I do not believe that the American Revolution was valid—I do. See below.* And, that is not to say, specifically in a democracy where we have a voice, that we should not be involved in politics. We should. I want believing leaders and laws that honor God! But Dominionism marries Caesar and Jesus and creates an unhealthy mixture. Jesus will never be reduced in such ways.
The theology behind it
Next week I will cover the scripture passages some use to justify this idea that America needs a second revolution, to bring her back to God—by force if needed.
 For instance, when Dutch Sheets is talking about reaching the world with the gospel and says that some in Muslim lands will become martyrs, they see that as a call to violence. Certainly, if you’re looking at it in the Islamic Jihad fashion, martyrs are those who do violence and get killed in the process. But a Christian martyr is someone who is killed for his faith, because of his message, not his violence. Secondly, when a charismatic minister speaks of fighting, they are speaking of prayer—spiritual warfare. It seems the author intentionally sought to make Sheets appear to be advocating for violence, when he was not. The author put words in his mouth. To read the Rolling Stone article, click here.  Mark Chironna, email to author, 2022.  Michael Brown, The Political Seduction of the Church (Washington DC: Vide, 2022) 157.  https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/the-pulse/84365-joseph-mattera-asks-was-america-ever-a-christian-nation  Mattera, “America.”  John Wesley, one of the greatest theologians in history would have been included in those accurses by God, as he resisted the revolution.  Mattera, “America.”  Mattera, “America.”
*The American Revolution was is a civil action, not spiritual. God works in both realms. People in another continent decided to take responsibility to govern themselves. My view is that such actions are lawful. If I fought in the Revolution it would have not been as a believer, but an American. When I pay taxes, I do so as an American and as an Israeli. But when I pray, preach the gospel or do spiritual warfare, I do that out of my devotion to Yeshua.