Est. May 2008

06 October, 2013

Monarchy and Democracy

I think one of the reasons why so many people resist the idea of the teachings of the Bible is because of the governing systems they grew up under and are familiar with.

Most Western countries are under some form of democratic rule. Yes, yes, there are still kingdoms over in Europe, but what kind of monarchies are they really?  Andorra, Belgium, Denmark, England, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden are all constitutional monarchies, ‘which means that the monarch does not influence the politics of the state’.  Only the Vatican comes close to the original style of monarchy, but even there the ruler – the Pope – is elected – he’s not ‘born to the purple’, as it were.

And when you’re raised under some form of democratic rule, anything else is considered ‘bad’ because only democracy takes into account the thoughts, ideas, and feelings of the people.  In fact, democracy is defined as ‘government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system’.  Or, even more simply, ‘a state or society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges’, which is actually more to the point of our current discussion.

When you read the Bible it’s apparent there’s a kingdom involved. No, not just the various kingdoms of men, like the kingdom of Israel or Aram or Edom or the rest.  I’m specifically meaning the kingdom of God.  God rules the universe as a king, but even more than that, He rules as a king with ‘absolute, unlimited power’ – He is, by definition, a ‘despot’.  And ‘despot’ has a really bad connotation, doesn’t it?  After all, we use the term to describe unscrupulous, vicious, evil human rulers of history.

This ‘absolute, unlimited power’ comes clear from the very beginning, where God says, ‘Let their be light’, all the way through to the end, where He vaporizes His creation and re-creates it.  This is a ruler Who definitely has ‘absolute, unlimited power’.  And His rule is law, His word is law, and His creations (us, in particular) haven’t anything to say about it.

And that’s unacceptable for many of us.

But all we’re really working from is the perception of what life under a despotic, absolute sovereign would be, a perception based on our own earthly history.  The problem with that is that humans are fallible creatures soaked with the evils of sin (thanks to the fall of mankind), and as the old saying goes, power corrupts. 

But God is sinless; sin has no power over Him, so His absolute decrees cannot be evil, no matter what we think of them.  His decrees are for our good, if we’d only obey them.  We can’t, though, because we’re sinful and we really can’t be ‘good’ – at least not to God’s standard of good, which is perfect.

God’s absolute sovereign reign demands our obedience, and because we can’t – and won’t – obey, we see His decrees as restricting of our freedoms.  And anything that so much as tries to restrict our freedoms is something to fight against.  So we ‘kick against the goads’.

This is why, I think, so many preachers and teachers of Christianity have such problems these days clearly and cleanly teaching God’s word – it’s because it’s the word of a despot – friendly or not, benevolent or not, He’s still an evil despot in the minds of those who’ve only earthly examples of despotism.

How can this be rectified?  I honestly don’t know; scrapping democracy for monarchy isn’t going to happen.  Even the church today is wound through with democracy, electing ‘church councils’ to run the church, rather than having elders who are the final word in church decisions, guided by the Word of God in the matters before them.  Perhaps a return to that original church-governing method might be in order, if for no other reason than to bring back the idea of God’s sovereign and monarchial rule over His kingdom and His church.

Beyond that, all I can offer is that preachers and teachers should preach and teach the word of God – be the messengers and ambassadors you were meant to be.  God will open the ears of those who will hear, and they will come; the rest will remain closed-eared and hard-hearted and will not come.

Spread the message; God will take care of the rest.

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