Here’s two articles, two guys with diverging opinions about the notion of theocracy.
One is Russell Moore, Why Theocracy Is Terrible.
Than we have Pastor Wilson’s response, “A Primer on Theocracies”
Both of them make some good points. While I often appreciate a good Baptist joke too, Russell Moore is far more aligned with my thoughts and beliefs on the matter. I found his article encouraging and I appreciated this point, “Theocracies are awful and abusive, not only because they oppress human beings but because they also blaspheme God.”
Of particular concern to me in Pastor Wilson’s response was this sentence, “The commission was not to “carry the gospel to” all the nations. Moore changes the wording of the Great Commission here. The command was to disciple the nations, baptizing them and teaching them obedience.”
That doesn’t sound like evangelism to me at all, that sounds like nation building. Totally secular communists could do the very same, go forth, disciple (discipline) the nations, baptizing them with firing squads, and teaching them obedience.
There’s a cute fishing analogy I really like when it comes to being fishers of men, “we catch ’em, He cleans them.” It’s simple, but a vitally important distinction to understand. We introduce people to Jesus Christ, we speak of His love for them, but we do not try to force a consummation of that marriage. A bit humorous, but that would actually be an invasion of privacy and not unlike a meddlesome Mother in law. If we trust in the Lord, then we must trust in His ability to nurture and lead in those relationships. Our job is to make the introduction and to love people.
Myself I would not even live in a housing development run by a Homeowners Society that fancied itself a “Christian theocracy.” I’m already shuddering and defiantly painting my house different shades of pink and purple. It’s not the “Christian” part that creates the problem, it’s the “people” part. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The beauty of America is that we have that separation of church and state, that tension that leads to creation, not unlike the tension between men and women often leads to love. We don’t want the harmony of sameness, we want the beauty of tension. President Madison once made a very good point too, when you open the door between church and state, remember it is a two-way door. The government soon walks right back through it and starts running the church.
That said however, to have a thriving civilization of the sort I would prefer to live in, we need to be heavily infused with Christian values. A good chunk of your population must share the same ideals. Your courthouses must be run by people who at least endorse the ideals held in the ten commandments.
As George Carlin once said, “The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.”
Indeed. As crazy as things can get sometimes, as deeply flawed as our leaders can be, at least we all recognize there is a standard they can fall short of. Take away that standard and we’ve even relinquished our right to complain about them.
The creation of culture, of civilization, is a natural flowing response to who we all are as individuals. It is a community response and it stems from the inside out. Now, there are always some outliers in the community who must have their values impressed upon them from the outside in. Two yr olds for example, and convicted felons. Invaders. Barbarians. Homeowner’s Societies.
A big chunk of us however, are actually motivated by the Lord’s grace, and His grace being reflected by the people around us. This how you teach obedience, that is how you make “the law,” something people love rather than fear.
“Perfect love cast out fear,” every single time.