biblical government

flag on stage.jpgThe <a href = “;sojourners post-midterm election e-mail alert subject lines read as follows:

“A Defeat for Religious Right and Secular Left”
“A Time for Change!”
“This was a Moral Values Election”

For a “non-partisan” Christian organization, these statements certainly appear to be on the celebratory side…

Ahhh, politics. I must say, despite my exploration of non-participation movements within Christianity, I did vote on November 7 and I did watch about 7 hours of MSNBC election coverage that night (Chris Mathews should run for office, no?). The circus of politics intrigues me. Sue me.

But like I have said in past posts and in other circles, I am moving more and more from the left side (or even the “Christian left” that sojourners has popularized) of the political spectrum out of the spectrum completely. We have quite a precedent in Christianity for believers submitting to their political authorities, but abstaining the rest of the way from involvement in the political process or in the military. The point being, of course, that God is our king, and we are citizens of a different kingdom (and kingdoms of this world are not the kingdom of God, and may even be corrupt systems).

Wolfgang Simson, author of Houses that Change the World, would agree, I think. He categorized the four main forms of government acknowledged by the Bible:

The Bible knows four different forms of government. In order of their preference they are

1. God is King. Before this ever happened, the idea is democratically rejected by the people of Israel in favor of a King “like all nations around us”.

2. A good King (like David)

3. A bad King (like Ahab or Nebuchadnezzar)

4. Democracy, possibly the worst form of governement according to the Bible. This is where no one really rules; the people are in control of themselves &emdash; for an extremely high price: inbuilt mediocracy, constant compromise and enslaved to one’s own strong opinions and ever opinionated leaders. This ushers in the empire of ever changing political opinions, opportunists and their esoteric political concepts, and the constant discussing, fighting and polite bickering that some call “the political process” ultimately leads to a preprogrammed ungoverneability. And this, in turn, makes room for a mammon and media-driven climate that “makes the world go round”. Does this sound like freedom to you?

We put so much stock in our government, and specifically in our liberal democracy, that we are bent on spreading around the world. When we as followers of Jesus begin to put our hope in the political structures of this Earth, we would do well to remember that the biblical (and historical) precedent for governments “of, by, and for the people” doesn’t usually end up too well.

(Thanks to Taylor and Miller for getting my wheels turning for this post)

One response to this post.

  1. Hi Sam! Photos i send on e-mail.


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