Are Christian conservatives who support former President Donald Trump confusing the temporal for the eternal?
That question is the focus of The Political Seduction of the Church: How Millions of American Christians Have Confused Politics with the Gospel, a new book from author and radio host Michael Brown that looks at whether the Trumpian political climate has hindered believers in Jesus from carrying out the Great Commission.
Brown says he voted for Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 elections and wants readers to know there's nothing wrong with being involved in politics, as long as the ultimate goal is advancing God's Kingdom, not man's.
"I do believe Christians should be involved in politics and should have a positive impact on politics, but somehow, especially in the last election cycle, we became obsessed with politics," Brown told The Christian Post. "We became more concerned with winning the election than winning the lost."
And while Brown believes the 2024 presidential election will be just as consequential as the previous two, he says the problem occurs when Christians merge the Gospel with the elections "as if a political party was the key to advancing God's Kingdom on the earth."
Brown, a Messianic Jew, is a familiar voice for CP. He is the author of over 40 books and over 2,000 op-ed pieces. He also hosts the nationally syndicated radio show "The Line of Fire."
With Political Seduction, Brown hopes to take a deliberate and measured approach in assessing the marriage of politics and faith under Trump, including the ongoing national debate over Christian nationalism, both its definition and application.
For Brown, there are three basic versions of Christian nationalism. The first is what he calls the "healthy" version, which essentially says, "I love Jesus, and I love my country," approximating the sentiments of tens of millions of American Christians.
Brown says there's also the "unhealthy" version, which equates America and her destiny with the Kingdom of God, merging Christian identity with Americanism.
But it's the "very dangerous" version of Christian nationalism that most concerns Brown.
Just as the Founding Fathers waged a war against British tyranny in the Revolutionary War, there are modern-day Christians who say, "We're we're going to have to take up arms against the government in the name of Jesus."
"That's what I warn about in the strongest terms" in the book, Brown added.
While he wouldn't completely write off the distant possibility of another Civil War at some point, Brown said he doesn't think that's something that will happen anytime soon.
"I do not believe we are anywhere near that point, and I believe we need to be sober and careful in our rhetoric because there are a lot of irresponsible people — Christians in name only — that could get stirred by this, and it could lead to real harm," he said.
If Christians first begin to look in the mirror and "put emphasis on repenting from sin in our own lives" instead of prioritizing a political movement or political figure, the country will recover from the turmoil of recent years.
"If the Church will be the Church, we can avert bloodshed," said Brown.
As Congress met to certify the election results, hundreds of Trump supporters — many of them Evangelical Christians — violently stormed Capitol Hill, claiming the election was either stolen or fraudulently conducted.
According to the DOJ, hundreds of individuals were charged with various offenses for their alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 riot, including a youth pastor from Colorado Springs.
Five people died during or after the attack, including four protesters and one police officer, while approximately 140 officers suffered injuries.
Unarmed veteran Ashli Babbitt was the only person killed by lethal force during the riot. She was shot trying to climb through a smashed door pane into the House Chamber. U.S. Capitol Police concluded the officer who shot Babbitt acted lawfully when using deadly force.
Three others died of natural causes, and 34-year-old Trump supporter Rosanne Boyland was trampled to death by protesters fighting a police line.
Brown said while "only God knows" whether the 2020 election was fraudulent, Christians across the nation "prayed and prayed" for God's will to be done.
"If this went all the way through the courts, and no one overturned what happened, then we must accept this is the result," he added. "Maybe it's divine discipline. Maybe things were stolen. But we prayed, we cried out, this is what we got."
"I accept this as the will of God," he said.
Despite his personal views, Brown said he understands why some Christians don't agree. He urged them to use "legal means" to expose any alleged fraud, adding: "Just don't break the law."
While he doesn't believe any "organized insurrection" was involved on Jan. 6, Brown said the way Trump handled the rally before the event was "abysmal." He pointed to crowds chanting, "Hang [former Vice President] Mike Pence."
"The rhetoric leading up to it was dangerous," said Brown. "It gave the Left all the ammunition they needed to make all of us who voted for Trump into 'white supremacist insurrectionists.'"
"This hurts our cause deeply, and it was part of the downside of the president," Brown stressed. "He was irresponsible in his actions on that day."