There are theologians who walk amongst us teaching and preaching that somehow in the New Testament suddenly national identity, nationalism and nations wanting to be independent became bad, but empire, which is just globalism, suddenly became good.
The problem with such thinking is that it does not exist in the New Testament. The NT writers do not criticize or do away with national identity, they criticize it becoming a barrier for acceptance in the Church and for acceptance in Christ. These theologians then confuse the nature of the church with the nature of the nation, and in doing so accidentally or not pave the way for beastly imperialism or globalism to be sanctified as good and Christian. That being defined as one nation or state ruling over people of other nations.
Another problem with such thinking is that it rejects the vital lessons written in the Old Testament about the evils of imperialism, alliances, ungodly wars, mass migration, conflicts between diverse peoples and more. It turns all of this into a matter of intellectual curiosity, rather than a deep and living tradition of wisdom for modern nations to learn from, apply and be blessed by.
I would remind any Christian that thinks this way, that the crescendo of judgement of the world in the book of Revelation climaxes with the judgement of a world empire, that rules across the seas over many nations and people (Rev. 18), and then the freedom of the nations from this empire to be healed in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev. 21-22).
What is beautiful is that whether you take this as fulfilled, preterist or to be fulfilled, futurist (I think it is both personally), it shows that one nation ruling over other nations is wicked, and God is on the side of the nations, which he should be since he created them, and on the side of them being free of such domination. And he is on the side of them existing with a true and genuine national identity, right into the new age. Because they are still there, nations exist, but empire does not.
You see, if it is fulfilled, it is commenting on the idea that global empire is wicked, and therefore the nations need to be free to express their national identity and worship God in all of their diverse ways. That is the conclusion if you take the preterist view.
If you see it as to be fulfilled, it is commenting on the idea that one day global empire, which is wicked, will be finally judged, and the nations will be free to express their national identity, and worship God in all their diverse ways. That is the conclusion if you take the futurist view.
In other words, these views converge beautifully on the idea that globalism is evil, not nationalism. It’s not an accident that all wars in history are the result of a nation or nations not wanting to leave another nation or nations alone, and are not caused by nations just wanting to be left alone. Think about that.
We live in a global empire today, a global empire that seeks to enforce its will where it can. It is sad, but not surprising, that in this context, many Christian thinkers have just accepted the views of this empire, rather than critiqued them through the lens of Scripture. Globalism may have been sanctified by many in the Church, but its fate tells us how wrong these people are.
Matthew Littlefield writes to think through some of the current issues facing society, the Church and whatever else comes to mind that might be interesting to process. Matt's focus is usually historical or scriptural, though he will address current issues from time to time as well. He is a co-author of The Ezekiel Declaration and the book, Defending Conscience, How Baptists reminded the Church to defy tyranny. He blogs most days at YoungGospelMinister.blogspot.com.
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