In light of this first theological conclusion, we must affirm that the “normal” “civil” god of power and might is an idol, and it must be named as such. This god is not the Lord God revealed in Jesus Christ and narrated in the theopolitics of Phil 2:6-11. The “normal” god of civil religion combines patriotism and power; this is the god of many American leaders and of many Americans generally. (This god has, of course, had many other incarnations in human history.) Most especially idolatrous in light of our exegesis of Philippians 2 is the image of God (and/or of Christ) as military power incarnate, whether in the crusades or in Iraq or at Armageddon. As the Spanish historian-theologian Jaume Botey Vallès said about the political theology that underwrote the U.S. response to 9/11, including the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the god of George W. Bush (and, we might add, of many presidents, prime ministers, and kings) is a god of military might. That simply is not the God revealed by Jesus, Vallès rightly says. Neither is it the cruciform God of Paul. In other words, military power of the cross, and such misconstrued notions of divine power have nothing to do with the majesty or holiness of the triune God known in the weakness of the cross. The “civil” god, though perfectly “normal,” is not only unholy; it is an idol.
Michael J. Gorman, Inhabitating the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul’s Narrative Soteriology, 34-35.