- Thursday, April 4, 2024

The recent online debate surrounding the phrase “Christ is King” and its alleged antisemitic connotations has sparked significant controversy.

Subscribe to have The Washington Times’ Higher Ground delivered to your inbox every Sunday.

The controversy arose when Candace Owens, a former Daily Wire employee, tweeted the phrase to Ben Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew. Responses within Mr. Shapiro’s circle were swift and critical, with some labeling Ms. Owens’ tweet as antisemitic and even racist.

However, a deeper examination is necessary. Is the controversy truly centered on the literal meaning of the phrase itself, or does it reflect a broader societal trend? As a society, are we losing sight of the core values that bind us together, becoming increasingly susceptible to the allure of division and conflict over nuanced understanding?

To navigate through the division and clarify the phrase “Christ is King,” let’s first start with intentionality and then work our way into the historical and theological significance of the phrase attributed to the power and authority of the Messiah in Christianity.

Do you struggle with knowing what to say and how to say it when a controversial topic arises? “Challenging Conversations,” hosted by author and expert Jason Jimenez, is designed to help Christians overcome their fears and learn to engage people of different belief systems respectfully.

Abuse of the phrase

A growing movement among conservatives and alt-right nationalists has attempted to hijack the phrase “Christ is King” as more than just a statement of belief, using it as a symbol of their political goals. This has caused it to become a flashpoint, a term imbued with specific intentions and, for some, a derogatory label aimed at particular groups.

Many white nationalists on the far-right are using the term “Christ is King” in a derogatory manner towards individuals of Jewish descent and other minority groups, invoking anti-Semitic sentiments and spreading hate under the guise of religious superiority.

Consider one particularly antisemitic voice, the white supremacist Nick Fuentes, who stated, “All I want is revenge against my enemies and a total Aryan victory… I’m just like Hitler.” In various rallies and speeches, Fuentes is known for getting his crowds to chant, “Christ is King,” as a way to anoint and sanctify his antisemitism ideology.

You can also see the abuse of the phrase when Sneako tweets, “Christ is King.” Sneako, a Muslim, doesn’t believe Christ is King. He’s just mocking Jesus and the Jews. Or when Andrew Tate, also a Muslim, tweeted: “As a Muslim, it warms my heart to see the resurgence of spirited Christian declarations. Christ is King.”

After facing significant backlash for her initial response to Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens felt compelled to go back on X and make this post: “I’m not even Christian, but them saying I can’t say it makes me wanna say it. CHRIST IS KING! ✝️✊.”

Blake Callens, author of “The Case Against Christian Nationalism,” went on X to express his concern about people who use the phrase “Christ is King.” He stated that those who use this phrase without being associated with the alt-right movement may be unintentionally promoting a narrative that is misleading and confusing, which has been propagated by white nationalists.

Whether it be from Ms. Owens’ low blows or the alt-right’s antisemitic rhetoric, these behaviors are a blatant distortion of the actual teachings of Christianity and perpetuate division and intolerance in society.

The proper meaning of the phrase

The phrase “Christ is King” is more of a declaration of praise than anything.

One of the fundamental beliefs in Christian theology is that Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords. The Bible contains several references to Jesus as the Lord and King, from the Psalms to the New Testament. However, some individuals who do not share this belief might view this statement as derogatory or offensive.

For Christians, believing in Jesus as King is part of a larger theological framework. This framework centers on Jesus as the Son of God, who came to save humanity from sin and reconcile them to God. This belief is based on the doctrine of the Trinity—the belief that God is three persons in one: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.

The declarative phrase “Christ is King” literally means “Messiah is King.” It’s vital to first start with His name. Jesus means “Jehovah-Saves,” and the name Christ is “Messiah” (Heb., Mashiach; Gk., Cristos), which means “Anointed One.”

God promised to establish a great nation, Israel, from Abraham’s bloodline (see Genesis 12:2–3; 18:17–19). More than 900 years later, He made another everlasting covenant with King David, promising that a Redeemer would come from one of his descendants to restore God’s people to Him (see 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17:11–14). The eighth-century prophet Isaiah (739–681 BC) foretold in very comprehensive terms the costly atonement of the coming Messiah who, through His sacrificial death, would forgive humanity’s sins and bring healing and restoration (52:13–53:12) to their relationship with God.

The theological concept and truth “Christ is King” is honored and proclaimed throughout the New Testament, and no group — political or religious — can hijack something with such rich theological significance to Christianity.

“Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, ’Are you the king of the Jews?’ ’You have said so,’ Jesus replied.” – Matthew 27:11

“So Pilate asked Jesus, ’Are you the king of the Jews?’ ’You have said so,’ Jesus replied.” – Luke 23:3

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” – John 18:36-37

“Which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” – 1 Timothy 6:15

“They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” – Revelation 17:14

“On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” – Revelation 19:16

Christians believe Jesus’ role as King extends beyond just the Christian community. Part of the Christian mission is to share the Gospel with everyone and encourage everyone to acknowledge Jesus as King. However, this does not mean Christians believe they are superior to others. Instead, they believe that Jesus can bring salvation to everyone, regardless of their background or beliefs.

The claim that “Christ is King” is antisemitic or should be abandoned entirely is an overreaction. Christians should confidently affirm this core doctrinal belief. While some extremist groups misuse this phrase, we must not allow their actions to silence our faith. Instead, let’s address antisemitism directly by educating the public and those who misuse the phrase about its proper historical and theological significance within Christianity.


Jason Jimenez is the founder and president of Stand Strong Ministries and is a respected Christian-worldview speaker, and faculty member at Summit Ministries. He is the best-selling author of “Hijacking Jesus: How Progressive Christians Are Remaking Him and Taking Over the Church,” “Challenging Conversations: A Practical Guide to Discuss Controversial Topics in the Church,” and “Parenting Gen Z: Guiding Your Child through a Hostile Culture.

Copyright © 2024 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide