President Biden’s speech offers a grim reminder: God will not be mocked

It's amazing the difference a single letter can make when it comes to the panic, alarm, and feverish concern felt by so many about the supposedly chilling rise of Christian nationalism in the country.

During the Trump years, you were hard pressed to find media sources that weren't treating so-called white Christian nationalists as the greatest threat to our polarized republic. Newsweek called it "the most dangerous weapon in America," while scenes of Donald Trump's bizarre Bible photo-op in front of St. John's Church amid the spiraling Black Lives Matter riots were offered as proof the holy warriors were preparing some kind of counter-offensive.

To be clear, I do think that Christian nationalism is a real thing and I think it's dangerous – though I freely admit to being far more concerned about the damage it can do to the preeminent mission of building God's Kingdom than I am how it impacts the American political scene. Blurring the lines between the mission of Christ's Church and the exertions of the United States government hampers the message of salvation by grace by cheapening as temporal and political something that is eternal and fundamental. And in my experience (and by that I mean I have been guilty of this failure), the confluence of patriotism (good) and faith (good) can produce amalgamated loyalties that are best kept distinct and well-defined.

Which is why it is just as off-putting to me when Scripture is manipulated for political ends no matter which party is responsible for the offense. How I wish the media and all their accomplices in increasingly progressive evangelical circles would react similarly in moments like this:

I don't care to argue with anyone who thinks Donald Trump standing awkwardly with a Bible raised in the air was weird imagery. But when it comes to legitimate representations of Christian nationalism, that performance doesn't hold a candle to Joe Biden equating God's divine call of the Prophet Isaiah to warriors of the American military. Furthermore, that comparison is only a small portion of the gross imprudence of Biden's remarks. Extrapolate the analogy outward and Biden casts the White House in the glorified role of Almighty God.

The galling lack of hand-wringing columns from across the wide swath of progressive media, Christian and otherwise, about this grotesque overture towards Christian nationalism betrays the lie. It was never really about Christian nationalism. It was always about hatred of Trump and an abject refusal to allow evangelical Christians to make a pragmatic choice to align with his populist movement without being smeared as corrupt, power-hungry hypocrites.

And while the stink of that label may stick with evangelicalism for a time, the cat is now out of the bag that the labeling itself was just politics as usual from the left.

But beyond exposing the fraudulent freak-out about Christian nationalism, there was one other aspect of Biden's speech that as a Christian I just couldn't ignore. It seems pretty apparent to anyone who is biblically minded that what is unfolding is yet another demonstration of the veracity of God's Word. Specifically, it's a validation of the Apostle Paul's caution to the church in Galatia almost 2,000 years ago not to be deceived, "God will not be mocked."

A biblically illiterate president, speaking to a biblically illiterate population, in a culture that takes great joy in either scoffing at or hijacking the Bible to suit their own purposes, managed to cite a passage that in context declares judgment on people who had rejected God.

The president referenced verse 8, but couldn't be bothered to consider what it was that Isaiah was being sent to do. The following verses hold the answer – to declare that the rebellious, unrepentant people who heard the warnings but never understood, saw the signs but never perceived, whose hearts were calloused against the truth, that their cities would lie ruined without inhabitant, houses deserted, fields ravaged, and their land utterly forsaken.

Most commentaries on this portion of Scripture summarize the Prophet Isaiah's message to his people succinctly: "It's too late."

Through the unintending lips of a naked emperor, an American culture that has ignored, mocked, and so arrogantly rebelled against God's moral authority may have just heard that same message for themselves.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Not the Bee or any of its affiliates.

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