Darrow Miller and Friends

A Voice from Hungary: Toward a Moral Nationalism … (special offer at the end of this post)

National Parliament Building of Hungary

In our time, globalization as a philosophy is rapidly expanding. It is marked by moral and cultural relativism, groupthink, and the rise of the algorithm, that 21st century phenomenon which is eroding our ability to think. The individual is being subsumed into the universal. Nations are pressured to open their borders, to abandon their cultures and histories. Elites are demanding that we exchange truth for postmodern distortions. We are choking in a moral fog of sexual aberration, transgenderism, and post-truth insanity.

While much of the world is uncritically celebrating these trends, at least one heroic statesmen is challenging the slide into postmodernism, calling for a virtuous nationalism that honors its own history and identity while celebrating the integrity and sovereignty of its neighbors.

I speak of Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, recently elected to a third term by a two-thirds majority, defying the unelected European Union bureaucracy.

Viktor Orban Prime Ministry of HungaryAt his May 10, 2018 swearing in, Orban gave a powerful, courageous speech calling for the restoration of Hungarian national identity and the celebration and redemption of Hungarian culture. Upon his second re-election, Orban recognized the unprecedented trust of his people and demanded humility for himself and his party. He placed the glory where it rightly belongs.

Let us recall the words of warning from King Stephen of Hungary: “Nothing but humility can raise one up; nothing but arrogance and hatred can cast one down.” Let us acknowledge that hidden behind the successes one always finds the grace of God. So the following is not just a rhetorical flourish, and not just tradition, but a deep conviction: Soli Deo gloria – Glory to God alone.

When have we ever heard this Reformation declaration – Soli Deo gloria – from the mouth of a modern governing official?

Hungary can help lead Europe to a better future

After reflecting on the foundations laid in his two previous terms, Orban spoke of Hungary’s place in the future of Europe.

I believe that by 2030 it is an achievable goal for Hungary to be among the five best countries in the European Union in which to live and work. … there are larger, more populous and richer countries than ours. But one could hardly find any that are more beautiful, safer, more steeped in ancient history or well protected as our Carpathian Basin – and, within it, Hungary. … This is why we undertake to halt demographic decline – indeed we will succeed in returning Hungary to an upward trend.

Orban continued with the language of national reformation based on biblical principles. Before the structures and institutions can be changed, the culture must be reformed.

Before 2010 I already saw the task that lay ahead of me as highlighting and explaining to people the fact that we had entered a new era, and that this demanded change of everyone. I saw my mission as convincing Hungarians that it was not enough to perform better at doing the same thing that we had done the day before. We must aspire to doing new things, and this was true for everyone, for the whole of Hungary – including the Government: all of us were in need of renewal. I finally managed to convince Hungarians that this is not only unavoidable, but that we are also capable of it – individually and collectively.

Hungary: A Christian Democracy

Modern Europe is dying: it has severed its roots. Orban has witnessed the failure of liberal democracy. He understands that Europe was born out of the Bible, that the moral and cultural relativism of atheism and the absence of historical perspective deprive a nation of the reason to live. European nations are committing cultural suicide. Only by returning to the ideals that gave them life will they survive.

Liberal democracy is no longer able to protect people’s dignity, provide freedom, guarantee physical security or maintain Christian culture. Some in Europe are still tinkering with it, because they believe that they can repair it, but they fail to understand that it is not the structure that is defective: the world has changed. Our response to this changed world, the Hungarian people’s response, has been to replace the shipwreck of liberal democracy by building 21st-century Christian democracy. This guarantees human dignity, freedom and security, protects equality between men and women and the traditional family model, suppresses anti-Semitism, defends our Christian culture and offers our nation the chance of survival and growth. We are Christian democrats, and we want Christian democracy.

“It is not the structure that is defective.” The problem is the metaphysical infrastructure. Modern Europe is trying to build a free and prosperous society on an atheistic infrastructure that will not support freedom, but lead only to intimidation and power.

Orban envisions a reformed Hungary in which her people can flourish. Contrast that to the vision of the left: tryanny leading to the death of the national culture and fostering internationalism instead. Mao’s China and the USSR represent the disastrous end of that path.

Hungary makes the world a better place

Orban’s vision is also distinct from the immoral nationalism of the right as witnessed in Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. Instead, he calls for a virtuous nation which honors the dignity of all people, upholds the traditional family—the bedrock of any nation—and celebrates Judeo-Christian virtues.

Fundamentalist atheism would crush politically incorrect speech and eliminate moral standards from the public square. It forbids the celebration of ethnic and cultural identity and insists on a global culture. Orban recognizes this threat to a unique Hungarian society. His nation could disappear, leaving in its place only a geographic area called the Carpathian Basin.

Viktor Orban Prime Ministry of HungaryWe are a unique species. We have a language that is unique to us. There is a world which we alone see and which we alone render through the prism of Hungarian language and culture. Without us human civilisation would certainly be deprived of a language, a view and a characterisation of the world. This must sustain the firm resolve of the government of the day. … We must have the confidence and dignity of a country which knows that the Hungarians have given more to the world than they have taken from it.

The world would be reduced if Hungary ceased to exist as Hungary (or if England ceased to be England, or Thailand ceased to be Thailand). Not that every nation has a moral right to exist; some become so evil the world is better off without them. But virtuous nations contribute blessing to the world.

Freedom is the gift of God

Finally, Orban posits the place of Hungary in Europe. He would not be swallowed up by a secular Europe, nor does he desire to dominate other nations. He seeks rather a free state in the context of other free European states: “The EU must operate as an alliance of free nations, and must give up the fever dreams of a United States of Europe.”

The three-in-one God created this one and many principle: unity without uniformity, diversity without superiority. This was God’s intention in creation, and it will characterize the end of history.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10 ESV

For Viktor Orban’s full speech, go here. I close by repeating once again his splendid statement ascribing to God the glory of his nation.

Let us acknowledge that hidden behind the successes one always finds the grace of God. So the following is not just a rhetorical flourish, and not just tradition, but a deep conviction: Soli Deo gloria – Glory to God alone.

  • Darrow Miller

NOTE: Hungary’s story echoes a theme in Darrow’s book Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture. Here’s how Discipling Nations ends: “On that day, with the discipling of the nations complete, the kings of the earth will bring the glory of the nations to the Lamb—to our King, Jesus Christ (Rev. 21:24–26). Until that ultimate day, we have work to do. Let’s joyfully finish the job, shall we?”

The third edition of Discipling Nations is due for release September 6! Go here to preorder this new edition at a reduced price.

print this page Print this page

Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).

1 Comment

  1. Ana Roncal

    August 21, 2018 - 3:37 am

    I wondered some times if somebody would stand for the truth about President Orban and Hungary. Thank you