Recently I was discussing the perfect state with some friends.
I think most Americans are satisfied to consider a Democracy, or more accurately a Democratic Republic, as pretty close to the perfect state and humankind can ever get.
A Democracy is a government run by the people; all the decisions are made by the polity at large and it’s hard to get things done if the population is big.
A Republic is a government run by representatives of the people; all the decisions are made by the representatives and it’s a good solution to the population problem. It is not a necessary part of a Republic to have general elections.
A Democratic Republic is a government run by representatives of the people who are elected by the polity at large; it’s like a Republic with the benefits of social consent that come from a Democracy.
I agree; Democracy is pretty sweet.
But because I like to argue and simple agreement gets us nowhere; I was arguing that a Democratic Republic is not God’s idea of a perfect state. I was arguing that God’s ideal state is a Theocracy.
A Theocracy is a state under the authority of God. Unlike a Democracy where votes ultimately make decisions from the ground up, a Theocracy is governed from the top down – with God as its head. In practice it is very similar to a Monarchy.
A Monarchy is a state where a, typically God-ordained, man or woman (the Monarch) governs a state with absolute authority. In the case of England, which is a Parliamentary Monarchy, the figurative leader is the Monarch while the power resides in the Parliament.
Here was my argument.
In the Bible, there is no example of God taking a people from the State of Nature to a state, except one – Israel was formed from the seed of Abraham to a Theocracy. Israel briefly became a Monarchy but it was not God’s idea.
A State of Nature is a philosophical device used to describe man/men without any political structure. The imaginary construct allows political philosophers to trace the cause and effects to an eventual type of government and the possibilities of an ideal type.
I continued that since the Bible shows only one example then we have to use that example. (Reality check; my two little girls were racing around the table like rug rats at the time so I am embellishing the quality of my argument here).
Should Christians try to make America a Theocracy?
I don’t think that the Bible is calling Christians to revolt against anything that is not a Theocracy. Indeed, the New Testament doesn’t have any examples of this at a time when the state was very hostile against the faith. So it does not play out that Democracy should be the enemy of the church either.
We don’t fight against princes or principalities anyway.
Final note: If a Christian were to find himself in the State of Nature someday and could influence the type of state to ultimately govern him, I believe he should shoot for a Theocracy. I cannot imagine a better head of state than the bridegroom of the Church.