What the “Social Gospel” & “Christian Nationalism” Both (Ironically) Have in Common

There’s an ironic similarity between (1) “the social gospel” — reducing the gospel and Christian mission to advancing social justice — and (2) “Christian nationalism” — hitching the Christian mission to the church having/maintaining cultural dominance.

Christian cultural and social impact, of course, I believe are good, and flow out of the Christian mission.

But interestingly/ironically, these two socially and politically polar opposite viewpoints — (1) “the social gospel” and (2) “Christian nationalism” — err seemingly in the same way: they misplace the center of the church’s mission with a usurping concern over their social presence.

To the “social gospel” we say, Yes, social justice is a biblical imperative, and its outworking is entailed in Christian mission. But social justice is not itself the gospel, nor should it be equated with biblical “salvation.”

To the “Christian nationalist” we say again, impact on society is admirable. But it’s not the end-all-be-all. Our witness comes first. Cultural domination is not our mission. And when we conceive of it as such, we can find ourselves pursuing it at the expense of our witness.

In short, both (again, ironically) make cultural and social impact paramount at the expense of the soteriological center of our mission.

And ironically both chastise the other for doing what they themselves do: equating their mission with the pursuit of a particular political vision, either the Left’s in the case of the “social gospel,” or the Right’s in the case of “Christian nationalism.”

They’re polar opposite on the political spectrum. But underneath, they share the same warp and woof.

The Church: Identity, Mission, & Cultivation

The below is a Gospel Life Course taught during May 2018 at CrossWay Community Church.

Week 1 — Introduction, Identity, & Mission
May 6th, 2018

Week 2 — Cultivation, pt. 1
May 13th, 2018

Week 3 — Cultivation, pt. 2
May 20th, 2018

Week 4 — Cultivation, pt. 3
May 27th, 2018

The Church: Myths and Misconceptions

The Church: Myths and Misconceptions (Part 1)
South City Church
July 30, 2017

Podcast link.


The Church: Myths and Misconceptions (Part 2)
South City Church
August 6, 2017

Podcast link.


These sermons are a part of a series on the foundational principles of South City Church’s philosophy of ministry. See all sermons from this series.