Whether we use the term or not, the topic of Christian nationalism as it pertains to governments is an important one and needs to be addressed.

January 1, 2024

Why Christian Nationalism Matters

Not long ago I was in a meeting with religious liberty leaders discussing whether to use the term Christian nationalism when addressing the controversial topic in our churches. The group fell short of attaining any consensus, and there were valid points proposed from both sides of the aisle.

I suddenly realized I was not alone in my challenge to navigate through various religious liberty concerns. Taking a stand on religious liberty issues today determines how one will be perceived more from an ideological or political standpoint, instead of a biblical point of view.  

Whether we use the term or not, the topic of Christian nationalism as it pertains to governments is an important one and needs to be addressed. 

Distilling the term to its most essential ingredients, a Christian nationalist government is simply a nation that has determined to be led or governed by Christians and on behalf of Christians. i Christian nationalism assumes a positive and direct relationship between church and state and consequently is a threat to the principle of church-state separation and the First Amendment’s establishment clause which prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another. 

When Christian leaders take the reins of a given government in the interests of a singular religion, it results in the state no longer existing to protect the religious freedom of all faiths. This inevitably leads to discrimination against the nonreligious or religious minorities by sidestepping or dissolving laws intended to protect a wide array of religious and nonreligious belief systems and values. 

The principles of church-state separation were important to our pioneers from the onset of our existence as a church entity. ii This is partly because Adventists have interpreted Revelation 13 to mean that sometime in the future, a Christian nationalist government, namely the United States, will play a decisive role in the repudiation of religious liberty in this country iii and eventually the world. The catalyst behind this threat is identified in unambiguous terms—an influential groundswell of professing Christians iv and Protestant churches v will one day persuade congressional and executive leadership in this country to pass legislation that will culminate in the abrogation of religious liberty and the enforcement of Sunday observance. 

Over the past several years, additional narratives detailing how religious liberty will come to an end have entered the fray of Adventist churches across North America. In broad strokes, the narrative can be summarized as follows: vi 

There exists a shadowy network of global elites that aim to establish a singular worldwide totalitarian government at the expense of—or leading to the demise of—national governments and their sovereignty. To achieve these objectives, global players are fabricating and orchestrating crises, events, and measures behind the scenes—examples include the recent pandemic, vaccine- and mask-mandates, and others—intent on gutting countries of their liberties, possessions, and private property, with the intent of establishing a global totalitarian regime. Initiatives such as the Great Reset are framed as a push for power by liberal elites to usher in a new world order. Upon the success of these and other initiatives, the prophecy of Revelation 13 will find its fulfillment. 


Several Observations 

No one can conclusively argue that the global entities summarized above, and the role of international elites, aren’t alluded to in Scripture. One can argue that everyone is incorporated in the 10 toenails of Daniel 2 and that atheism/secularism is referenced in the latter portions of Daniel 11. Ultimately the Earth and all its inhabitants will play a role at the end in the broadest sense in the fulfillment of Revelation 13. But it’s important to recognize that the land beast of Revelation 13 represents the United States, not international entities, elites or some global regime. It will be Protestant Christians and churches within the United States that will initiate the eschatological cessation of religious liberty in this country, and not the United Nations (UN), the World Economic Forum or secular totalitarianism. vii 



A number of prominent voices are articulating an eschatological narrative that is foreign to what Scripture actually states regarding how the end will play out. This has resulted in confusion, disunity and debates on social media and other media outlets. Unfortunately, many are mistaking political ideology and theories for Adventism and Scripture. This has resulted in misdirected focus, time and energy on peripheral matters that are depleting our limited energies and diverting us from our shared message and mission as Seventh-day Adventists. These matters are consequential. 

I get it, we need to strike while the iron is hot and put a stop to the inherent dangers facing Seventh-day Adventists on all fronts. I’ve heard some share that the pendulum will swing forcefully right because it’s currently being stretched far to the left. If that’s how things fall into place, I’d argue that that time may be upon us sooner than we think. 

Andy Im is the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director for Michigan Conference.

  1. Any reference to the notion of Christian nationalism in this article should be understood within the above framework.
  2. Joseph Bates, et al., “Adventist Review and Sabbath Herald,” (May 19, 1851): https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/1659.1573#1573, Ellen G. White, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 183; A.T. Jones, “The American Sentinel,” Nov. 2, 1899.
  3. Read chapter 13, “Persecuting Powers Professedly Christian,” in Uriah Smith’s book, Daniel and the Revelation.Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 592.
  4. Ellen G. White, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 278.The eschatological narrative shared in some Adventist pulpits are summarized by a number of secular entities and thinktanks involved in assessing various social and ideological movements around the world. Here’s a link to one such organization providing their understanding regarding those who view the “Great Reset” initiative as an undertaking by global elites to usher in a new world order. https://www.isdglobal.org/explainers/the-great-reset/.
  5. A number of Adventist presenters today stress the importance of protecting the nationhood and sovereignty of the United States, apparently concerned of a legitimate threat to its self-governance. The concern is unwarranted because the Adventist position regarding Revelation 13 is explicit. The land beast, namely United States, will be alive and well at the end and with apostate Protestantism leading the charge, will take the reins that will culminate in national ruin.