Dear Brother Andrew. I am a Hebraic-oriented Evangelical Christian attorney, pastor and historian who has devoted my entire adult life in Christ to Christian social, cultural and political activism. I bought your book “Christian Nationalism” to support the mission of Gab Social, and want to offer you some constructive criticism.
At the outset, I want to commend you for your courage and vision in taking on the powers and principalities of the present age by working to break the chains of censorship and suppression of free speech, particularly of the biblically-informed views that so powerfully contradict the secular humanist dogma of our Marxist would-be masters. They are the true enemies of “Judeo-Christian” civilization, and of course I choose that phrase intentionally to respectfully contradict your well-intentioned but misguided representation of its meaning and purpose relative to our national identity and heritage.
I will also add that I am both a member of Gab and a vehement defender of your right to address the distinctions between Judaism and Christianity. I do not consider you an anti-Semite, and in fact believe that the secularized ethnic Jews working to destroy your work are actually far more anti-Semitic than they claim you are in that they deny and/or defy the Torah, whereas you worship and revere its Author.
What defines a “Semite” (Shemite) if not Yahweh-worship? It certainly can’t be an ethnic connection to Shem (or Abraham or even Jacob) which virtually all humanity now shares because of genetic diffusion over millennia. No, it must be the practice of true Judaism, whose terms are defined by the Torah and Tanach (Old Testament Scripture), NOT the Talmud (commentaries on the Scripture by various Hebrew scholars with widely divergent views, values and validity).
Indeed, Judaism itself is as factional as Christianity but on a smaller scale, only because it’s so much smaller in numbers. Jews are not just doctrinally divided, but notoriously so! As the famous old joke goes “Ask two Jews, get three opinions.” Thus, to cite the view of any Talmudic “sage” as representative of all Jews or Judaism itself (as you did on page 56) is as intellectually dishonest as an anti-Christian Jew or Secular Humanist cherry-picking from the collective works of Christian scholars to define all Christianity.
You begin Chapter 4 “This is Not a ‘Judeo-Christian’ Movement” asserting that “Christianity and Judaism are totally distinct, incompatible, and irreconcilable religions.” In one essential sense that is true because, as you emphasize, Judaism denies that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. BUT, unlike all the other people groups of the world that also deny Christ (including all the secular factions in our diverse MAGA and populist/conservative movements whom you rightfully seem very comfortable collaborating with), true Torah-faithful Jews believe in A Messiah who will do all the things that Christians anticipate Jesus Christ will do on His second coming.
Most Jews simply “missed the bus” on Jesus/Yeshua during His first advent (by God’s own plan), but remain standing in line for the next one, which Romans 11 tells us they WILL catch, when (as God adds in Zechariah 12:10) “I will pour out on the house of David and on the people of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and prayer, and they will look on Me, the One they have pierced [and] mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”
You and I presumably share all or most of that would be considered the most fundamental tenets of the Christian faith, and many non-essential doctrines too. But we differ strongly on “supersessionism” (replacement theology) which you defend as the justification for your personal theology. Importantly, what you have laid out in “Christian Nationalism” is your personal theology, which does not represent Christianity as a whole, but only one slate of views among the constellation of denominations. That’s not a problem insofar as you admit it, and don’t attempt to impose your interpretations on non-essentials as dogma on the rest of Christendom.
The flaw in your analysis of supersessionism (page 57) is the appeal to tradition (one of the classic fallacies of formal logic) Whenever we justify ourselves by church tradition instead of the Bible itself, we depart from sound Holy Spirit guidance to tenuous worldly humanism – the common error behind Roman Catholicism’s self-authorizing “Magisterium” theory and Talmudic Judaism’s self-authorizing “Revered Sages” club. Correcting that error in Christendom was the implicit premise of the Reformation, but unfortunately, the reformers failed to reform numerous extra-biblical human-created doctrines in Protestantism, including the RCC’s dramatic changes to the God’s holiday calendar, the presumed right of the church to enforce dogma through murder (i.e. Calvin’s execution of Michael Servetus), and a severe Greco-Roman cultural bias in interpreting Scripture that differs markedly from the Hebraic cultural perspective of the Apostles and the Prophets.
Many of those human-created doctrines were quickly jettisoned as Protestantism splintered into numerous factions, such as Presbyterianism that made the world-changing quantum shift from the top-down ecclesiastical power-pyramid exemplified by the papacy (and Anglicanism) to bottom-up self governance authorized by the “priesthood of all believers” and organized like the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15. THAT is the deepest foundation-stone of America and of the modern movement for constitutionalism (foreshadowed by the Magna Carta in 1215, also heavily influenced by Jews).
The process of getting from Scottish Presbyterianism to the Pilgrim Separatism of the Plymouth Colony was heavily influenced by Christian-Jewish cross-pollination. Indeed, I know from my studies of this, that there would never have been a US Constitution or the populist overthrow of the western monarchies if not for the 16th and 17th Century Hebraic Movement in Holland and Great Britain. And that is why America is and has always been “Judeo-Christian.” It has nothing to do with how many Jews were active in the physical founding of America, or how Christian-centric the first state constitutions were, it is simply an honest acknowledgment of the Jews’ role in nudging Christians back to their First Century heritage that made America possible: a shared intellectual property right, if you will, like co-authors of a book or a scientific theory.
Lastly, you asserted on page 61 “It is impossible to overstate the importance of the historic cataclysm that was the Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD.” Sorry, but it not only IS possible, you have done it. If that post-millennial doctrine were true, the real proof would have been unmistakable over the next thousand years, especially the end, but of course, it didn’t look at all like the Millennial Kingdom of prophecy – because Christ’s earthly kingdom, while very near, has not yet begun. You would know that if you studied the Bible from the literal Hebraic perspective, but you don’t and I respect that as your right within the bounds of Christian liberty.
My point with the prior paragraph is to illustrate that factionalism will be the death-knell to any attempt to build unity on a theological foundation, which is why the Founders and subsequent Christian generations chose the broadest possible platform – Bible-based Yahweh-honoring monotheism (exemplified in our national motto, “In God we trust”) – and not any flavor of Christian sectarianism (which led to many serious conflicts among the denominations in our early days as a nation and thus the ban on establishing state “religions” – meaning “denominations” — in the “Establishment Clause” of our constitution.)
I don’t expect you to change your theology based on one letter from me, but I do hope you will reconsider your gratuitous exclusionary rhetoric regarding our spiritual cousins in the House of Judah, treating at least the many who share our cultural values (and the all-important Creationist paradigm) with the same basic respect and comradery you show to Atheists in the MAGA and conservative movements. And I offer my assistance in making this necessary course-correction if you care to accept it.
Pastor Scott Lively, J.D., Th.D.