The Nation, the Nations, and the Third Nation: The Political Essence of Early Christianity

  • György GerébyEmail author
Part of the International Political Theory book series (IPoT)


Christianity has been from its very beginning a missionary religion. Its role on the “international” level arises from its original universal calling articulated in the gospels: “make disciples of all the nations” (Mt 28:19). The object of the mission is the conversion of the nations. This mandate arises not from some kind of “colonialism,” added later to the original kerygma, and neither is it individual spirituality. The Christian idea of nationhood differs from modern concepts, since it relies on the Biblical history of humanity conceived as a history of salvation, lasting from the Creation to the end of times. The central role of nationhood emerges as a key theological concept, which is tied to the Biblical events of Babel and Pentecost. The kingdom of God is anticipated (but not yet realised) by the idea of the Church, as a “third nation” over the “two nations,” that is, the Jews and the Gentiles into the new nation of God. The reconstruction of these central concepts shows remarkable consistency in early Christianity.


Biblical origin of nationhood History of salvation Christian universalism The concept of the Church Babel and Pentecost Kingdom of God 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central European UniversityBudapestHungary

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