This may not be a good title for an essay, especially one written by a Christian minister who is deeply sympathetic with the people of Hong Kong. I suspect that many of our friends there would be overjoyed at the prospect of a significant infusion of “democracy.” They even raise the American flag and sing the American anthem.
So, what is the point? Why should I call for God to condemn democracy?
To begin with, “democracy” is fundamentally wrong. The one-man-one-vote approach to solving all political problems — that many American people seem to believe is the “American way” — is as misguided as the dreams of socialism that were embraced by the National Socialists of Nazi Germany and the International Socialists of Communist Russia.
In fact, Walter Williams has demonstrated in a brief but excellent article, that antipathy toward democracy is one of the virtues of the Founding Fathers who created the constitutional government of the United States to be decidedly different from democracy.[i]
In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison wanted to prevent rule by majority faction, saying, “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”
John Adams warned in a letter, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide.”
Edmund Randolph said, “That in tracing these evils to their origin, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.”
If these men, and many others like them in the founding era, are correct, democracy is the tyranny of the majority, a system bound to end in suicide because it is inherently turbulent and filled with folly. Why should God not condemn such a system?
Note: voting as a method for electing leaders is only one among many possible procedures for deciding who should govern. There have been other systems in history and they have worked well at certain times and places.
The clearest example in the Bible might be the monarchies of David and Solomon — not without their own problems, of course, but still a government that eventually created peace, prosperity, and freedom so wonderful that it was praised among the nations. The Queen of Sheba traveled long just to view Solomon’s monarchy in practice.
Even the much maligned emperor Constantine has found in Peter Leithart an eloquent and thoroughly Christian defender.[ii] Also, America’s “Empire,” has been rigorously evaluated in his followup work.[iii] Both of these books should be part of the education of every Christian minister.
But please do not misunderstand. My point is not that the Bible is simply pro-monarchy or pro-imperialism. Samuel warned the people of Israel in his day of the dangers of monarchy (1 Samuel 8:11-18), and Moses, long before Samuel, set up checks and balances against the danger of tyranny in monarchial government (the whole book of Deuteronomy, especially 17:14-20).
The reality of the human condition is that sinful men tend to be tyrants — in the family, the church, and the state. Democracy as a system based on the principle of “one man, one vote” to decide any and every issue defines the tyranny of the majority faction. Antifa is demonstrating publicly how severe that tyranny could become.[iv]
Where then to go? Poland has partially and imperfectly pointed the way by declaring Jesus as her King. What this will actually mean in the everyday reality of Polish life remains to be seen. In other words, Jesus as King, which is just “theocracy” — which even N. T. Wright endorses, with proper qualifications[v] — does not really work without actual obedience to His commandments, which teach us the way of righteousness and love.
But we should make no mistake: the Polish declaration that Jesus is King is in line with Christian faith. How so? Though a full elucidation of Christian faith would be complicated, involving the study and exposition of the entire Bible, the basic Christian confession can be summed up in three words “Jesus is Lord!”
This confession is the starting point to the Christian solution to the substantive issues faced by Americans today. Voting, within the complicated system established by the American constitution, is a good means of choosing leaders at various political levels, but popular vote — which is what many Americans mistakingly believe is the American system — is one of the worst imaginable means for determining the right course for the social issues of our day.
Christians must begin with the basic Christian confession: Jesus is Lord!
But what would that mean in concrete terms?
It would mean, for example, that if Jesus is Lord, the fact that abortion is murder could not be more clear. If Christian churches believe that Jesus is Lord, they should excommunicate politicians that support abortion and medical professionals who serve the abortion industry — unless they repent. And denominations should defrock Christian ministers who will not cooperate with the excommunication policy.
If Jesus is Lord, then we know that God created man male and female (Genesis 1:26). Whatever confusion some individuals face, this is the foundation upon which to stand. All political and practical solutions to gender issues begin here. Politicians and medical professionals who support gender confusion should be opposed from the pulpits and denominational leadership in every church. God created the family to lead us to the church to be baptized into Jesus, in whom only we may gain our true identity.[vi]
If Jesus is Lord, then we know that marriage is between one man and one woman. The LGBT+ agenda is anti-Christian and anti-Christ. It must be vigorously opposed by Christian churches and denominations. Politicians and intellectual leaders who support this agenda have no place at the Lord’s Table in any church that confesses that Jesus is Lord.
If Jesus is Lord, then we know that it is profoundly wicked for our governing bodies to spend above their budget and drag the country into deep and dangerous debt. The American tax system is filled with injustice and inequality for all. Christian churches should speak out against this. Debt spending generates heavy taxation. Together they consume the consumer and kill the prosperity that enables us to bear fruit for God’s kingdom.
Of course, there is much more.
But for now, it might sound like I believe that excommunication is the solution for everything, however I have only spoken about excommunicating leaders, the shepherds (cf. Ezekiel 34:1-10), not the sheep. I have spoken about excommunicating professionals who make their living by preying on young confused women, not the unmarried or impoverished mothers who need the church’s help. I have only spoken about excommunicating those who adamantly refuse to repent and follow Jesus.
It might sound like I am calling for a Christian revolution, but I am not. Remember China. China has always had corrupt oppressive government. Only the dynasties and forms of government have changed. But the communist revolution to end corruption and oppression increased the miseries of the Chinese people a thousand-fold. Revolution in France, barbarous as it was, cannot begin to compare to the horrors of the Russian and Chinese revolutions — not to mention their less powerful imitators.
If democracy is folly that results in a suicidal tyranny of the majority and revolution even worse, what is it we need?
What we need is reform, one that begins with serious confession that Jesus is Lord of life — Lord of the individual, Lord of the family, Lord of the church, Lord of the nation.
The only way to lasting freedom is in the program that Jesus Himself outlined.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
One last word: when I say/pray, God damn democracy, I do not mean, God damn America.
I mean, Please, Jesus, save America from those who would impose an anti-Christian, anti-Christ solution to America’s problems by the political salvation of “Democracy.” I refer to “Democracy” as, popularly understood as one man — oops — one person one vote as the solution to everything. The ever evolving/devolving humanist tyranny of the majority is the way of folly, the way to political and cultural suicide — not to mention the destruction of the soul.
Only Jesus can save.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Ralph Smith is pastor of Mitaka Evangelical Church.
[i] https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/why-we-are-republic-not-democracy?fbclid=IwAR3QJgkSPM-uOD_66PvIKkQnmahnfFhZS3Yr0Kvxq37lF-IxyDwquc5_py0 Quotations from the Founding Fathers are all from Walter Williams.
[ii] Peter J. Leithart, Defending Constantine: the Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010).
[iii] Peter Leithart, Between Babel and Beast: America and Empires in Biblical Perspective (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2012).
[iv] The deep irony in their name “Antifa” = “antifaschistisch” = anti-fascist” is that they are the most fanatically fascist organization in the United States.
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