Question: “What is the Christian Identity Movement?”
Answer: The Christian Identity Movement is a name that applies to a variety of different religious cults all identified by racist, anti-Semitic principles. These cults are typically found among radically anti-government, extremist, right-wing groups and “survival groups.” Christian Identity cults are connected by various unbiblical theological similarities, mostly centered on a white supremacist mindset that seeks to replace national Israel with British or American whites as the chosen people of God. This racist theology is followed by over 50,000 people in the United States. The largest Christian Identity Movement group is the infamous Ku Klux Klan.
There are other groups with similar theology to the Christian Identity Movement, including British Israelism (the milder philosophy that gave rise to the Christian Identity theology) and Kinism, but Christian Identity is more virulently racist, and there are other differences. Christian Identity followers believe that the end of the world is going to be preceded by a cleansing war, during which all non-whites will be exterminated. This dangerous and scary mindset has given rise to terrorism and other nefarious behavior from Christian Identity followers. The history and activities of the Christian Identity Movement are extensive, but there are two main perversions of Christian doctrine that have led Christian Identity followers to some very wrong conclusions about the world and about God.
First, the Christian Identity Movement is famous for the idea that the British (and by extension Americans, Canadians, and others) are the spiritual and literal descendants of the 10 lost tribes of ancient Israel. They believe that the white race now represents God’s chosen people, a belief founded in some creative interpretations of migratory history, but not based on fact. The Bible tells us that God will restore Israel, as a nation, to fellowship with Him after protecting them from the many nations that will come against them in the end times. Contrary to the beliefs of the Christian Identity movement, it is clear from the Bible that the nation of Israel will be made of the same ethnic people group that was responsible for Christ’s death, namely, the Jews (Zechariah 12:10).
The second main unbiblical belief held by Christian Identity followers is that the end times and the return of Christ must be “ushered in” by a genocidal war. Interestingly, this belief fits more closely with the teachings of Islam than of Christianity. The Bible teaches that Christ will return to set up His kingdom without the aid of mankind. The aforementioned passage in Zechariah makes this clear, and it is supported in numerous other passages. Revelation 1:7 says that “all tribes” will witness His coming. Titus 2:13 was written by a Jewish man (Paul) to a Jewish church, as they were all joyfully anticipating Jesus’ appearance. There is mention that “wars and rumors of wars” would occur before the end (Matthew 24:6), but there is no indication in Scripture that the Jewish nation would have to first migrate to northern Europe.
Furthermore, there is no biblical reason to believe that non-white races will ever be eliminated by the hand of God or by His true followers. In fact, the New Jerusalem in heaven will house all nations, and the kings of the earth will bring the glory and honor of the nations into it (Revelation 21:22-27).
The Lord has always protected the sojourner and the foreigner (Deuteronomy 27:19; Isaiah 56:1-8) and though He commanded Israel not to marry the daughters of foreigners, and so be tempted to worship their idols, He has always drawn, and will continue to draw, converts from other nations, tribes and tongues (Ruth 1:16-17; Revelation 7:9). What distinguishes these converts from those who reject God is not their skin color, but their acceptance of His offer of forgiveness through the shed blood of Christ on the cross.
Favor with God is a matter of the heart, not a matter of race or nationality (Galatians 3:28-29).