SHOULD AMERICA BE A THEOCRACY?
By Dr. Patrick Jonston
January 14, 2009
Whenever I have brought the Holy Bible to bear upon the duty and role of government, inevitably the criticism arises, “America’s not a theocracy!” As if that were a coup de’ grace of some sort that proved that we should be a godless nation.
Since Jesus is Lord of all, as individuals and as nations we have only one of two choices: submission or rebellion. We will be ruled by sinful man or we will be ruled by God.
When your pastor gives the invitation for unbelievers to repent and trust in Christ for salvation, the call often goes out, “Make Jesus Lord of your lives!” However, strictly speaking, no one can make Jesus the Lord. He is the Lord, whether we want Him to be or not. Our choice is submission to Him and His will or rebellion.
As King Saul learned after his partial obedience to God in his dealings with the Amalekites, partial obedience is complete disobedience (I Samuel 15). It is rebellion according to the prophet Samuel, and it is as the sin of witchcraft, which seeks another power and another ruler rather than the Creator. Samuel equated Saul’s partial obedience with idolatry, for he worshiped another god when he refused to obey the true God.
Consider these passages, which clearly draw the line in the sand for individuals:
“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity [hostility] with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4b)
We are either God’s friend or foe.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24). “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin… If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:34, 36)
We either love Christ and hate sin or love sin and hate Christ. We either hold to Christ and despise sin or hold onto sin and despise Christ. We either serve Christ or sin.
“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Matthew 12:30)
We either gather for the Kingdom of God or we scatter others away from God’s Kingdom.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:16-18) “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (I John 3:10)
We either are yielded to sin and serve sin, or we are yielded to God in obedient love and righteous living.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him… If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings…” (John 14:15-24) “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (I John 2:3-4)
We love Christ and obey His commandments, or we do not love him and disobey Him.
There is no de-militarized zone where we can be at peace with both sin and with Jesus. There is no lukewarm in-between that God finds acceptable. As a matter of fact, he tells the church of Laodicea that He will spew them out of his mouth because of their lukewarmness (Revelation 3).
According to Scripture, this dilemma is true not only for individuals but also for nations. For what are nations but groups of people? If a person has no right to rebel against the King of Kings, then why do we think their representatives and their government do?
Consider these passages from the Bible, which clearly draw the line in the sand for nations:
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” (Psalm 33:12a)
“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Psalm 9:17
“At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” Jeremiah 18:7-10
God’s rule over governments is not limited to Israel. These passages teach that God blesses nations who serve Him as Lord, and judges nations that forget Him and do not serve Him. In the second Psalm, God visits judgments upon those nations whose leaders defy God’s rule. The books of the prophets warn of severe judgments for sin upon many nations besides Israel. In Deuteronomy 4:5-6, God tells Israel that surrounding Gentile nations will see the wisdom of their law. Israel’s law was to be a light to the Gentile nations, to call them from sin to God, from judgment to blessing.
“Which God?” the secularists rebut, as if casting aspersions upon the true God by bringing idols up to his level will abate our obligation to obey Him. There is only one God, and the Holy Bible is His revelation to mankind. It is to Him we owe supreme allegiance, both as individuals and as a nation.
“But we have a separation of church and state” the attorneys rebut. The separation of powers of the church and state is a Christian doctrine, for the truth is found in Scripture, in the relationship between the Jewish religion and the leaders of their state. However, it should never be a separation of God and state, for this is sin and rebellion to God. The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Congress, not Ohio. As a matter of fact, the states who signed the Constitution had tax-subsidized Christian denominations, and this was not a violation of the First Amendment as our founders intended it. Even the leaders of the federal government publicly prayed to the God of the Bible and spent taxpayer dollars for the printing and distribution of Bibles in public schools. This was not a violation of the First Amendment as our forefathers intended it. Even our Supreme Court, in 1892, citing a plethora of historical evidence, said, “This is a Christian nation.” This judicial decree did not defy the First Amendment as our forefathers intended it. The First Amendment was intended to prevent a tax-subsidized Christian denomination, such as England’s Anglican church. The First Amendment was not intended to prevent the free exercise of religion for the states and the people, as it is so often abused today, but rather, was designed to protect the free exercise of their religion.
The Holy Bible, God’s Word to man, speaks to all matters of life; not just pertaining to personal salvation, but also to economic health, family life, the right to self defense, the right to liberty and property, criminal justice, the role and limitation of civil authorities, the relationship between the church and the state, and when armed revolution against established civil authority is justified. Where God speaks, we would be wise to listen and obey, for disobedience to God’s Word in a single matter is rebellion to God and brings judgment. He is a jealous God who will not share His glory with another. When we despise His Word in deference to autonomous leaders who seek to kick God out of His throne and put themselves there in His stead, we have already received “the mark of the beast”, for the mark is a man’s name and a sign that you worship the image of a man over God (Revelation 13-16).
When put in light of the Scripture and the lordship of Christ, we see that the whole world is a theocracy, for God rules over all and His Word is not bound. It is also easy to see that our government has become a godless government at war with God. The United States must repent, and serve the Creator instead of rebel against Him. We must obey His Word. We must not defer to sinful men who seek to pass laws that defy God’s law, who refuse to be “ministers of God” and “a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” as God’s Word instructs civil authorities (Romans 13:3-4). It is not those who take the mark who survive the wrath of God, it is those who resist idols to serve the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ.
America, choose you this day whom you will serve.
© 2009 Patrick Johnston - All Rights Reserved