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Is Jesus Lord of Canada?

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There has been a lot of hubbub and hullabaloo lately about Christian Nationalism and Christendom. As far as anyone can tell the term Christian Nationalism came about as a pejorative term for Trump-supporting evangelicals in the United States. The left-wing media noticed that there were many evangelicals engaging in politics and claiming that America is a Christian country, and that America needs to come back to Christ. And that kind of freaked them out a bit. Especially when they saw Roe v. Wade overturned. "These Christians are trying to take over our country!" they said, probably.

But as time has gone on, other Christians of the more reformed and thoughtful variety have considered this term Christian Nationalism and have done one of several things: rejected it, modified it, or adopted it. Now, without getting into all the details we can see at the outset that of those two words, one of them is an unqualified good thing: Christian; and the other is kind of a mixed bag. Nationalism makes us think of the Nazis, but to be fair so should the word Socialism. I mean, the Nazis were the National Socialist party of Germany after all. But the way I see it, nationalism is simply a political view on the opposite side of the spectrum from globalism. It can be bad, but it can also be good, just like one can find some redeemable aspects of globalism, that is if you strain your eyes really hard. As some have pointed out you can really only have tribalism, nationalism or globalism. And of those three, nationalism is actually the least problematic. Tribalism often fosters chaos and enless wars, and globalism devolves into totalitarianism as we've been witnessing as of late. And so one can hardly be surprised to see a resurgence of nationalism and tribalism. It is with this type of consideration in view that some have adopted the term and advocate a vision for Christian Nationalism. Like the Puritans of yesteryear they take the term meant as a pejorative and adopt it for their own purposes.

But here the discussion splits into two streams. On the one hand we can have a heady discussion about political theories and what Christians should do if they find themselves in charge of the civil government. That is a worthy topic to consider. But the other stream of discussion is on the more practical point of what Christians should be aiming for. Are we aiming to see America or Nigeria or Nepal or in our case Canada become Christian? Can a nation even be Christian? Should we want to see some sort of a Christendom 2.0 in the future?

And I think the answer to all of those questions should be yes. Yes, we want the leaven of Christianity to spread through all the dough (Matthew 13:33); even the Canadian rye dough. And yes, we want to see all the nations nest in the branches of the kingdom of God (Matthew 13:31-32). In fact, we even want the Canadian geese to find a home there, imagine that!

The reason it sounds controversial to say these things has more to do with modern sensibilities than it does with the Bible. You see we have been swimming in a world devoted to the religion of secular humanism. We are children of the Enlightenment. And with that comes certain assumptions about life and religion. One of those assumptions is that of worldview neutrality. We think of man as autonomous; that man himself is the measure of all things. And because of that we believe that men and women can find ways to learn and grow and live together on this earth however they see fit. There is no need to bring in Divine authority, or a Word from God. It is from this vantage point that bringing God into the conversation feels like an intrusion.

And yet, we as Christians ought not to make this secular confession. Jesus told us: Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30). There is no neutrality with Christ. There is no neutrality with His Kingdom. We are either living in glad submission to His lordship, or we are living in rebellion to Him. So the question can be boiled down to something really simple: Is Jesus Lord of Canada? Or, should Canada bow to King Jesus and serve Him? Should we rebel against Him or should we live for His honour and glory? The answer should be clear: Yes, He is Lord. Yes we should honour Him. And chances are that any hesitation we have in saying that comes not from exegesis but from our secular indoctrination.

Now the big objection that I hear to the idea of a Christian Nation is that we would be forcing Christianity onto an unwilling populace. That we would make unbelievers act like believers under the threat of law. But this is not what is being advocated. The idea is to see great numbers of people come to faith and then with the overwhelming support of those people to bring Christ-honouring reform to law and culture. This is not a proposal to make a non-Christian nation act like Christians or else. Perhaps some would argue for a Christian version of the Taliban, but not most. You see, unlike Islam which advances via the sword and threats, Christianity advances through the transformed hearts and minds of people. It is the Great Commission that leads us on. We gain ground by preaching the gospel. The Word and the Spirit are our weapons (Ephesians 6:17). This is what the church is on earth to do. To bring the gospel to the nations, and to see the world transformed.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20).

Why is it that we can confidently go into all the world with the gospel? Why are we to preach with such authority and to command and exhort all the nations to believe? Because Jesus has all authority on earth. We must not miss this. This is our Father's world. Every corner of it belongs to King Jesus. As Abraham Kuyper so famously wrote: "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!"

So, is Jesus Lord of Canada? Yes, He is. But many live in rebellion to that lordship. It is our duty as ambassadors of Christ to pray, preach, proclaim, and call our friends and neighbours to faith in Him and to joyful submission to His lordship. One day every knee will bow to King Jesus, that is sure. But we are to call everyone to bow the knee today. It is our task to advance His kingdom here and now in Canada and around the world. And we must not let any pietistic or gnostic notions keep us from labouring manfully at the task. Do not let the philosophy of secularism or pluralism or radical two kingdom theology or any mistaken notions of a neutral public square dampen your zeal. Let us not pull our punches. No, let us pray boldly thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

But as I close I am aware that some might have a further objection. They would assert that the victory of the gospel only comes at the end of history when Jesus comes back – not here and now. To them I would simply say, that is not what I read in the Bible. I read of a victorious Saviour who says as he approaches the cross: 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." (John 12:31-32). Jesus came to save a great multitude that no man could count, from every tribe tongue and nation (Revelation 7:9). He truly is the Saviour of the world. And that Saving reign began at His first coming. His Incarnation announced it, His cross accomplished it, and His resurrection guarantees it. When He ascended into heaven He ascended there to reign. And He reigns through His people here on earth, as we advance His kingdom to the very corners of the earth.

Jesus is Lord. He is Lord of Canada. He is Lord of all. He will win down here. The victory is assured. The gospel will triumph in every nation. It's time that we as believers started believing that again. Maybe then we would build and fight and pray and suffer and live for the cause of His kingdom. Maybe then we would have the victory. As the Scriptures say, And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 John 5:4). 

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Monday, 04 March 2024