Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel (Samuel Johnson).
Patriotism is popular. Loyalty to a nation is seen as important and
good. Most Christians think that it is important to be patriotic. Many
churches display their nation’s national flag.
Patriotism is dangerous because it sustains nationalism. Nationalism
can only survive with patriotic support. During the last two centuries,
the political space has been dominated by nationalism. The nation state
has been the main actor in the world stage. Patriotism has made
nationalism is one of the most powerful forces in the modern world.
Humans seem to have a need to give their allegiance to a larger
group. For modern people that allegiance is given to their nation.
However, our greatest allegiance should be to our families. Parents are
must love and nurture their children. Children must honour their
Our next greatest allegiance should be to our local community. The
Bible speaks about hundreds fifties and tens (Deut 1:15). Ten refers to
ten families. A group of ten families is the basic social unit. These
tens will join together into fifties or hundreds for specific purposes.
In traditional cultures this was allegiance to a tribal group. In the
modern world this should be the local community.
The local community is where we should get protection from evil. The
local community is the place where justice must function (Deut 1:17).
Education functions best in a committed community. Effective social
welfare must be provided within a local community.
Modern people refuse to commit to their local community. They drive
past it to belong to something bigger.
The nation state has taken over all the roles that should be being
provided within local communities. However, it promises to give
everything but gives very little. It takes a lot, but provides very
little in return. Nations states cannot protect their citizens from
violent crime. National bureaucracies are run very ineffective social
welfare programs. Justice from the centre is rarely just. Nation states
cannot produce stable society.
Nation state has a strong tendency to get involved wars. Most of the
wars of the twentieth century were driven by nationalism. Nationalism
dominated the twentieth century and terrible evils were done in the name
We commit to a nationalism, that cannot protect us from crime and
violence, that cannot provide economic security and cannot provide us
with security. The nation state is a failure wearing a façade of
respectability provided by blind patriotism.
Patriotism is the thin end of the wedge of nationalism.
Nationalism buttresses state power
Nations will Disappear
When the Kingdom of God comes, nations will disappear. Although we
see them as a normal party of life, they have no place in God’s plan.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for
you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28)
A nation is not created by a common language. Canadians and Americans
speak English, but they are not one nation. A common culture does not
create a nation. A nation is defined by a common ruler: whether king or
parliament. A nation is a group of people that are ruled by the same
political ruler. A nation has a common set of laws. The boundary of the
nation includes all territory where that law applies.
When the Kingdom of God has come, all people will acknowledge the law
of God. His law will be the only law, so kings and parliament will have
nothing to do and will cease to exist. If there is no king or
parliament, there will be nation. The only boundaries will be between
areas were the law of God is acknowledged and nations that still want
human laws. Within areas where God is acknowledged their will be no
boundaries, because there will be no kings and parliament.
Different localities and communities will have their own judges, but
they will be all applying the law of God. Different languages may be
spoken in different places and culture will differ from place to place,
but their will be no political boundaries, because there will be no
political institutions. Christ will be all in all.
The book of Revelation is about the disenfranchisement of kings (and
democracies). They will hide under the rocks and in the caves (Rev