I think it was yesterday I posted on FB about the Seminary Prof interviewed by Thomas Kidd on “The Gospel Coalition” website.
This Seminary Prof is question is one John D. Wilsey, associate professor of church history at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the author most recently of God’s Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles. I lamented that someone could, with a straight face, write about John Foster Dulles as someone who could be described, per the headline of the article, as A Modernist Christian Nationalist. I have read one biography of John Foster Dulles and have come across him in several secondary sources. Everything I’ve read about both the Dulles boys is that they were screaming Internationalists and NOT nationalists.
Well, in God’s providence I was reading today about this putative Modernist Christian Nationalist named John Foster Dulles and this is what I came across;
“A crop of organizations emerged to advocate for world order. The World Federalist community, the one I tapped into in the millennium Forum, is rooted in this historical milieu.
Church groups too joined this chorus.
In 1940 the Federal Council of Churches formed the commission to study the Basis of a Just and Durable Peace. John Foster Dulles — later to become the US Sec’y of State — was the commission’s chairperson working with a board comprised of leaders from Harvard, Yale, and Chicago University, seminary Presidents and professors, and well-known ministers. Members of the Church Peace Union and the International Missionary council were part of the board too. The purpose: ‘To clarify church commitments FOR A NEW INTERNATIONAL ORDER, so that the latent power of Christianity can be galvanized into effective action.”
The Game of Gods — p. 341
Honestly though, how seriously can we take any author who not only wants to call John Foster Dulles a Christian Nationalist but also desires to speak of Woodrow Wilson as a Christian Nationalist?
From the Dulles article linked above;
Dulles is an example of a particular kind of American Christian nationalism that arose during World War I. This Christian nationalism emerged from progressive figures like Woodrow Wilson. Wilsonian Christian nationalism was idealistic, committed to something often called “Christian civilization,” and animated by a sense of American Christian duty and mission to the world.
Hells bells, by next week Wilsey is going to be telling us that Leon Trotsky was also a great Nationalist.
It is laughable to call Dulles a Christian Nationalist — modernist or otherwise. John Foster Dulles supported the League of Nations (hardly a Nationalist organization). For Pete’s sake Dulles even helped write the preamble to the United Nations charter document — the sort of thing I’m sure one finds Nationalists doing all the time. Not only that but Dulles sponsored coups in Guatemala and Iran. Further Dulles was a key instrument in building the US Imperium that found International organizations built around the world. Finally, as if all that is not enough to prove my point that it is the sign of the presence of a lobotomy to refer to Dulles as a Nationalist we have the fact that Dulles drafted a public statement, in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombings of Japan, that called for international control of nuclear energy under United Nations auspices. Dulles, the nationalist wanted to strip ownership of the bomb from all nations and just give it to the pre-eminent International organization of the day. Calling John Foster Dulles a “Christian Nationalist” is on par with faulting Gloria Steinem for being too domesticated.
Now as we consider the Christian part of Christian Nationalist we also have to howl with peals of laughter. JFD can’t represent Christian Nationalism because by any orthodox standard JFD was not a Christian. John Foster Dulles’ Father was a minister in a mainline liberal denomination. John Foster Dulles thus grew up in the tradition of the Historical-Critical anti-supernaturalism and definitely not in the tradition of Christianity. (Though admittedly those two traditions have often been strange bed-mates in history.) John Foster Dulles even served as Harry Emerson Fosdick’s attorney in the Presbyterian Church trial that was convened to toss Fosdick out of the Presbyterian Church. Dulles was no Christian and therefore could not be a Christian Nationalist.
One can only speculate as to why in the world someone would try to make not only John Foster Dulles a Christian Nationalist but also would even go as far as to intimate that Woodrow Wilson (another son of the Presbyterian manse) was also a Christian Nationalist. Either one believes there is some deeper agenda here or one has to conclude that Seminary professors are profoundly stupid.