The Spiritual Lessons of a Christian Nationalist Military Defeat

On February 24, the world’s most powerful Christian nationalist went to war, at the helm of what many people considered to be one of the world’s most potent militaries. Russian President Vladimir Putin spent more than two decades—exercising more power than any American president could ever hope to possess—forging church, state, and culture into an (allegedly) mighty instrument of raw, anti-woke national power.

And what have we seen? An incompetent army has raped, looted, and murdered its way across the Ukrainian countryside. Even its elite units lie in shattered ruins outside key Ukrainian cities, and a Ukrainian counterattack is breaking the Russian line. While the Russian elite cries for “holy war” in front of a listless crowd of state employees, the men who would be holy warriors run for the border, eager to escape conscription by any means possible. 

There are spiritual lessons here. When advanced nations collide in sustained combat, it’s not just armies that confront each other, but systems and civilizations. Hidden strengths emerge. Hidden weaknesses are exposed. And as we watch history unfold in eastern Ukraine—Russians retreating on the battlefield, Russians fleeing their own country en masse to avoid the fight, and a panicked Putin threatening a genocidal response—we are watching in real time a profound and meaningful example of the fatal weakness of Christian nationalism.

It’s not a model of national renewal. It’s a blueprint for corruption, brutality, and oppression. 

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