The Christian Identity Movement

The Christian Identity Movement is also known as Anglo-Israelism, Israel Identity.

Founder: Some think it to be Wesley Swift, born in the 1800's.  Others claim it can be traced back to the 1600's.

Headquarters: None.

Membership: less than 50,000. In America only.

Origins: This movement has its origins in the 1800's America where it grew in the shadow of this country’s developing and successful conquering of the American continent combined with racial prejudices. Many of the Whites believed that North America was ordained by God and blessed by Him to be supreme in the world. All other racial groups were considered inferior. Early contributing movements to C.I.M. were the Nativist movement and Anglo Israelism.

Nativism was a philosophy that those not born in America (excluding American Indians) and were not Protestant, were harmful to the American System. In particular, a strong anti-Catholic disposition was advocated. Manifestations of this philosophy resulted in physical persecution of many Catholics in New York.

Anglo Israelism (also known as British Israelism) is the belief that the British and, therefore, the Americans and Canadians, are the true descendants of the ancient Israelites — the 10 lost tribes. The present Jews in Israel are really a false group descended from Cain.  Identity believers usually act out their faith through social, military, and political agendas.

An early proponent of this movement, Charles Carroll, wrote a book called The Negro a Beast. He considered Negroes to be subhuman. The KKK is usually associated with this group.

Doctrines: a theological system centered on a racist/anti-Semitic and white supremacy. It seems to use religious arguments to justify political agendas.

Structure - The movement does not have a centralized organizational structure but has groups in almost every Western nation.
Recruitment - through extreme right-wing churches, survival groups, and word of mouth.
Adherents - generally are Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nation, Nazi Party, White Separatists groups, etc.

Texts: Old and New Testaments of the Bible; some think sections of the U.S. Constitution were divinely inspired.

Comments: True Christianity is Christ-centered and focuses on love, forgiveness, and patience and is opposed to racism. However, there is none of that in the Christian Identity Movement, which advocates racism and anti-Semitism. It is a dangerous group.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.