What is Christian nationalism? Andrew L. Whitehead answers

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American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the Church: A conversation with Andrew L. Whitehead

October 30, 2023 -

The dangers of Christian nationalism

Andrew L. Whitehead’s accessible book American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the Church raises difficult but necessary questions about the influence of Christian nationalism in America.

What is it? Why is it dangerous for our faith, our churches, and our country? How can Christians see through Christian nationalism as a false god that twists the good news of Jesus away from his call to “love your neighbor as yourself”?

Many Christians have influence, power, and opportunity, but many of us also need to learn more holy ways to utilize power. We need to be wise and wary of the devil’s call to fear and the culture’s call to violence. God’s call is for us to steward our salt and light well personally and in community so that all, and not just some, can flourish.


  • How to be faithfully American in modern America | 01:59
  • What is Christian nationalism? | 06:52
  • How does Christian nationalism differ from patriotism? | 09:46
  • What does a US flag in a sanctuary represent? | 12:54
  • The three idols of Christian nationalism: power, fear, and violence | 19:03
  • The pervasive nature of nationalism | 28:22
  • Defining white Christian nationalism | 32:08
  • It’s not about rewriting history but expanding it | 38:17
  • How does fear work against us in standing up to nationalism? | 44:15
  • A clearer understanding of religious liberty | 47:57
  • Concerning racism and immigration | 52:57
  • Who were you writing for? | 56:37


About Andrew L. Whitehead

Andrew L. Whitehead (PhD, Baylor University) is associate professor of sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where he codirects the Association of Religion Data Archives in the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture. He is the author of American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the Church and the coauthor of Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States, which won the 2021 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Whitehead has written for the Washington Post, NBC News, Time, and Religion News Service and speaks frequently about Christian nationalism.

About Dr. Mark Turman

Dr. Mark Turman is the Executive Director of Denison Forum and Vice President of Denison Ministries. Among his many duties, Turman is most notably the host of The Denison Forum Podcast. He is also the chief strategist for DF Pastors, which equips pastors and church leaders to understand and transform today’s culture.

About Denison Forum

Denison Forum exists to thoughtfully engage the issues of the day from a biblical perspective through The Daily Article email newsletter and podcast, The Denison Forum Podcast, as well as many books and additional resources.


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