When Jim Wallis declares that he opposes “American exceptionalism,” no one should be surprised. Wallis’s first commitment is Marxism. He started his career in activism not as a church minister nor as a Christian, but as a member of the Students for Democratic Society, a socialist organization originally known as League for Industrial Democracy (LID). LID was started in 1905 with significant help – financially, intellectually, and organizationally – from the British Fabian Society. While the SDS was rather radical in its activity, even experimenting with domestic terrorism (some of its members became part of the Revolutionary Youth Movement and the Weather Underground Organization), Jim Wallis kept closer to the original tactics of the British Fabian Society. He took the “religious” path, assuming the clothing of a Christian church minister, as was the original goal of the Fabians, presenting his radical socialist-Marxist ideas under the disguise of Christian teachings. He, of course, continues to claim that he has nothing to do with the political labels of “left” and “right.” But his alliances and his political teachings clearly identify him as a Marxist; he is widely recognized by the liberals and the socialists in America as one of their own. And Democrat politicians, usually vehemently opposed to any kind of Christian influence in politics, willingly invite him to their meetings and have him as their speaker. There is no doubt about that: Jim Wallis is a Marxist wolf in a pastor’s clothing. He has learned to use the Bible in a way indistinguishable from the way the conservative pastors and theologians use it; while at the same time promoting the radical agenda of violent Marxism, government tyranny, and the destruction of individual liberty and private property.
And as with all Marxists out there, America’s unique Christian libertarian heritage of freedom, private property, and individual liberty is a threat to Wallis. So he has to reject any notion of American exceptionalism. America as a nation that is unique in its original purpose and founding has always been an ideological threat to Communism; it has always proven that self-government under God produces better results than tyranny under a socialist elite. Wallis must attack that Christian libertarian heritage if he wants to promote his Marxist agenda.
None of this is a surprise. The Fabian tactics of the original Fabian Socialists has been with us for a long time now, and we have learned to recognize it. But what is important for our analysis here is not so much Wallis’s agenda. It is his choice of main argument that we need be mindful of. Strangely enough, in order to promote his agenda, Wallis doesn’t need to devise a new theology. He only need to take the existing theology of the conservative evangelical pastors and leaders, and apply it consistently.
His main argument is this:
We set this up so that it would not be a Christian nation for any religious framework. . . . Where in the Bible is there a special place for America? Where do we get that that’s bad theology . . . just bad theology.
He gives additional argumentation:
There is no special covenant with America here.
And then he concludes:
Most of us in the faith community believe in religious liberty and that we should be a diverse and pluralistic nation in terms of our faith traditions and want to respect and affirm and live out of that mutual respect and collaboration. So we’re not a Christian nation. I’ve said that on Al Jazeera, on Voice of America — because I want people to know this is not a Christian nation in which other religions should be afraid.
Amazing, isn’t it? What would the Founding Fathers say about such claims? Would they agree that America is a place where all religions – including the most barbarous and bloodthirsty ones – should feel comfortable? Would the Founding Fathers accept a religion which sacrifices children to Molech? Or one that requires eating human flesh? Wallis’s claims are absurd and false, and he is way off the mark when he talks about how America was founded.
But can we blame just him?
No. Jim Wallis in fact took this main theological argument not from his Marxist books but from the words of some of those that are considered “conservative” theologians and pastors. In fact, he took it from Christian celebrities who claim to be “Reformed” but espouse the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms Theology. The rejection of the idea of a Christian nation is in fact epidemic among the “celebrities” in Reformed circles. For example, John MacArthur, considered by some to be a “Reformed” pastor only because he got one doctrine of the Reformation right – the doctrine of grace – has the following to say when he discusses “The Gospel and Politics”:
God is not calling us to wage a culture war that would seek to transform our countries into “Christian nations.”
Moreover, the next sentence sounds like coming right out of Jim Wallis’s ideological arsenal:
To devote all, or even most, of our time, energy, money, and strategy to putting a façade of morality on the world or over our governmental and political institutions is to badly misunderstand our roles as Christians in a spiritually lost world.
A culture war for a Christian nation, says MacArthur, is nothing more than “putting a façade of morality.” In his theology the spiritual war can not be a cultural war; any cultural war is by default only superficial, not spiritual.
Albert Mohler, a well-known proponent of the Two Kingdoms Doctrine, is also hostile to the idea of a Christian nation. Just like Wallis, he asks the question directly, “Is America a Christian Nation?” And he answers just like Wallis: No, it isn’t, and it shouldn’t be. Oh, yes, he admits that American citizens are overwhelmingly Christian. But those Christian citizens do not and should not work to make their nation Christian, as far as the law of the land is concerned. And just like Wallis, Mohler insists on religious pluralism with words that sound every bit the same as Wallis’s:
As America recognizes and respects the diversity of the beliefs of its citizens, we should expect to see more symbolism representing different religions rather than less. Christians should not be offended by the public display of the Menorah at Hanukkah or the display of other religious symbols at other occasions.
Mohler, like Wallis, doesn’t even stop to consider the question: “What’s wrong then with other religious traditions?” For example, that of Molech and burning little babies alive at his altar? Are we going to ban the Molech tradition if someone revived it? On what basis?
Michael Horton of the Westminster Seminary West has the same advice as Wallis: no Christian nation, it is a dangerous thing. He says:
The very idea of a Christian empire or a Christian nation was a serious confusion of these two cities.
Then he continues that Luther and Calvin opposed that idea of a Christian nation – a statement that is so blatantly absurd and historically inaccurate that one wonders what standards exactly Westminster West use to hire their “professors.” Horton, like Wallis, has a negative opinion about the idea of America as a Christian nation:
In our Christian circles in the United States today, we can discern a “Christendom” view, where some imagine America to be a Christian nation invested with a divine commission to bring freedom to the ends of the earth.
And just like Wallis, who claims there is no special place for America in the Bible, Horton believes that that “Christendom” view he criticizes actually confuses Israel’s theocracy with modern America. Of course, Israel’s theocracy wasn’t a Christian nation and therefore can’t be used in this context; but Horton has never very careful about what arguments he uses anyway.
The list of Reformed “celebrities” who agree with the Marxist Jim Wallis about America as a Christian nation can go on and on and on. After 1995, when the terminology of the “two kingdoms – previously the operational theology of the compromised churches of Nazi Germany – was revived by the faculty of Westminster West to use as a rhetorical tool against theonomy, many have adopted it, despite its obvious exegetical insufficiency. Wallis didn’t have to invent new theology. It was given to him by the conservative pastors and theologians themselves.
Why is Wallis so happy to use the arguments of the Two Kingdoms Theology for his “social gospel” agenda? After all, the critics of theonomy have always accused theonomy of being similar to the “social gospel” in its call for application of the Gospel every area of life. And yet, when it comes to the theological foundations of the Marxist “social gospel” of Wallis, and the Two Kingdoms Theology of the neo-Reformed, they are all based on the same principle: no national covenant with God, no Christian nations, no such thing as specifically Christian culture, civil government, or legal codes. What is there in the Two Kingdoms Theology which makes Wallis use it for his agenda?
It perfectly fits the goals of the Marxists.
Jim Wallis knows well one thing: The greatest obstacle to the spread of Marxism in the United States is not the limited, truncated “gospel” of pietism which calls for individual piety only and leaves the civil realm to the “natural law”; it is the consistent theology of the continuing validity of the Law of God for every area of life, called theonomy. If a nation is officially a Christian nation, if it is in a covenant with God, then it will officially acknowledge the Law of God as its legal foundation. And the Law of God is strongly opposed to any kind of socialism and statism, the true religion of Wallis. Any nation in covenant with God will apply in its legal practices and its government policies the Ten Commandments, and specifically the Eighth Commandment which prohibits theft and compulsory redistribution of wealth both by individuals and governments. Wallis knows there is no recourse against the Law of God once a nation is determined to apply it and obey it.
All that the fallen man can oppose to the Law of God is laws of men. And laws of men always fail in comparison to the Law of God. But if a nation abandons its covenant with God and denies the validity of the Law of God in our days, then the only alternative is laws of men. And when it comes to laws of men, socialism has proven that it can impose its own laws much easier and faster than any of its competitors. All that a Marxist like Wallis needs is to get God out of the way as the Lawmaker for civil government and culture. Once God is out of the way, the rest is a piece of cake: socialism and statism triumph.
And the Two Kingdoms Theology, with its rejection of theonomy and its reliance on “natural law” (as opposed to God’s Law) is the perfect starting point for him. All he needs to do is to adopt it, and apply it consistently. The neo-Reformed preachers and teachers like MacArthur, Mohler, Horton, and others have provided the tools for Wallis’s agenda. They have been inconsistent; Wallis takes their own theology to its logical end, to their own detriment, and to the detriment of their listeners and followers. Just like the churches in Germany, paralyzed by the Two Kingdoms Theology, surrendered Germany to Nazism, modern America churches, paralyzed by the same theology, are surrendering America to Marxism.
The answer to Wallis, and to his conservative accomplices, is simple: A nation doesn’t have to have a special place in the Bible to be Christian, just like a person doesn’t have to be specifically mentioned in the Bible to be a Christian. What is important is whether the Bible has a special place in the heart, culture, and the legal codes of a nation. I have shown how the argument against a Christian nation is illogical and unbiblical (“If There Can’t Be a Christian Nation, Can There Be Anything Christian at All?”). But those who reject the Law of God as their comprehensive guide to righteous action, both individually and corporately, reject God as King, and prefer men to rule over them. And Wallis and his political masters are only too happy to oblige.
Like I said elsewhere, our greatest problem in America is not socialism. Socialism, even if it achieves political power, eventually dies under its own pressure. Our greatest problem are our own Christian celebrities, popular preacher, seminary professors, pastors of big congregations, who by their positions of authority are empowered to give us false teachings concerning the Law of God, and thus dumb down our consciences concerning the application of the Gospel in all areas of life. While I am warning about this problem, Jim Wallis is taking advantage of it. And he doesn’t have to do much, for most of the work is done for him by those Christian Reformed celebrities I mentioned above. All he needs to do is apply their theology consistently.
By Bojidar Marinov