American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the Church

Brazos. Aug. 2023. 240p. ISBN 9781587435768. $24.99. REL
Whitehead (codirector, Association of Religion Data Archives; coauthor, Taking America Back for God) has written a moving plea for white, American evangelical Christians to look in the mirror and actively reject Christian nationalism. His call to action is well supported as he draws upon his expertise as a sociologist who has developed surveys and measured changes in U.S. Christianity over time. The author tells his own story of being an evangelical Christian, and he looks honestly and critically at the recent history of that identity. The idolatry that he sees in Christian nationalism stems from an obsession with power, fearmongering, and violence. He takes aim at the horrific history of Christian involvement in racism, political hypocrisies, and conflicting messages about missionary work abroad while demonizing immigrant populations at home. However, Whitehead does not attempt to distance himself and say Christian nationalists are not really Christians. Instead, he takes it all in and uses the first-person plural word “we” to take responsibility and to hope for a future where evangelical Christians see Christian nationalism as antithetical to the Christ they claim to follow.
VERDICT Heartfelt, incisive, and worthy of thoughtful consideration.
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