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Theocracy or God's Laws

Theocracy has gotten a bad reputation. The word basically means to be under God's laws. The Greek word is theokratiatheos “God” + kratos “rule” = “the rule of God.” Unfortunately, many Christians cringe under the thought that a nation should be under the laws of God. They have read descriptions by theologians that oppose God's laws as being under domineering Christian dictators that want to regulate every part of one's life through the coercive powers of a Christian controlled state, much as the abuses that occurred through the Roman Catholic Church when it tortured people.

This was an unbiblical merger of the church and the state jurisdictions within a church organization that considered the church as God's Kingdom on the earth. The correct biblical position is to separate the jurisdiction of the church and the state in which both are under the sovereignty of God and his laws. Merging the two jurisdictions has led to corruption and tyranny in the past. However, to condemn God's laws as unjust because the Roman Catholic Church acted in a tyrannical manner in the past is not correct. God's laws are a reflection of God's character. Therefore, when theologians condemn God's law, in reality they are condemning God and His character. 

The reality is that God's law is a gift to the people of the world. Without God's clearly articulated moral laws we would be in confusion regarding what is right or wrong. The result would be cultural chaos similar to that which we are currently experiencing today. They key is to use God's laws in a just manner so we can all benefit from them as the Gospel spreads to the nations of the world.

The following article explains how all nations follow some form of religion and how their laws and cultural norms are a reflection of the religion the people worship. In a sense, all nations live under a theocracy that is a reflection of the God they worship within a culture.


Whyevery nation is a theocracy

 by TrevarisTutt 


Theocracy: Greek theokratia; theos “God” + kratos “rule” = “the rule of God.”

In every nation there are different types of government such asrepublics, democracies, dictatorships, monarchies, etc. The structure of thegovernment is based upon who is ultimately in control of that government. Thestructure of the government depends upon whom the laws derive from and whoenforces them. The types of governments that exist are endless and are createdeither by those who have the most power in a society or those who have the mostinfluence. Unfortunately, power is delegated to those who have the most wealthin many cases. Laws being influenced by the people is not a bad thing unlessthat influence is one that is not submitted under the authority of the trueGod.

In our case, Christians would rarely say that our country isoperating in a godly manner, and they will say our nation needs to “repent” or“turn back to God.” The first problem with this statement is that it assumesthis nation as a whole was at one point submitted to the authority of God. Wemay have seen some glimpses of this, but we have not seen Christ truly exaltedover this nation. The other issue with such statements is that these sameChristians who are claiming our nation is wicked based upon not only theimmorality of criminals who break the laws of the land, but also due to thecorruption of legislations and judicial rulings, many times have no answer asto what exactly the nation is to turn to in terms of law. You cannot call anation to repentance and not be able to point them in the right direction. Ifwe say we are pointing them to Christ (which we should), how then shall welive?

How is a nation under the influence of people who are submittedto the Lordship of Christ—in their own personal lives, in their households, andin their Churches—actually supposed to rule? We have avoided thinking throughthis question critically because we are afraid of offending those who are notChristians in the public square in the name of “freedom of religion,” or wehave avoided it due to our own bad theology in regards to our role in thisworld and the continuity of the Scriptures.

The truth is every nation has a “god.” Even a nation that claimsto have “freedom of religion” has adopted some “god” or “gods,” and that nation willrule based upon the supremacy of that “god.”

In some nations, one man or woman will act as that god, such asin some cases Kings, Queens, and Dictators. Some Kings obviously have ruledunder the authority of God, but in cases where God’s law is not the standardthe laws derive from the King himself. In other nations a certain ethnic grouphas been their god and in others certain classes.

You cannot separate the laws of a land from their god. In ournation we seem to have many gods. For some secularists of all sorts, the godmay be the Constitution, the “law of the land,” “we the people,” “democracy,”nine robed bandits on the Supreme Court, and many other sources. Forconservatives and liberals alike, god is ultimately the State: for themwhatever the government says goes, and they want to be in control of it. Unfortunately,many Pastors are unwittingly teaching that the State is god as well—by theirmisinterpretation of Romans 13 andother passages.

Our nation is controlled, or at least highly influenced, bywealthy people and large corporations, yet it portrays that the people bymajority rule are in control. In either case, we have elevated man as theobject in which we find truth. In the case of the Constitution, we elevate adocument as god. As much as many Christians want to find refuge in theConstitution, it falls short of the Lordship of Christ and opens the door forthe tyranny we see today. How is it though, that those who support theConstitution as a biblically inspired document deny that they want a theocracy?

Our nation strives to find objective truth and law apart from Christ. This is due to theinfluence of the Enlightenment. In the quest by unbelieving andskeptical man to free the people from “religious authoritarianism,” however,what changed was not authoritarianism, but the religion. We were taken from asociety in which God is God, to one in which man plays god. This is not to saythat everything was perfect before this, but to show that escaping religion isimpossible. When we look at the laws of a land, the question is not “is thisland ruled by religion or not,” but rather “what religion?” The question is not“do they have a god from whom they get their laws,” but “which god?”

No matter which way you look at it, every society bases its lawsupon its religion. You cannot have laws without claiming to have a standard ofmorality, and you cannot have a standard of morality without claiming to have abelief system. The belief system we adopt is our religion. The object ofworship of our religion is either the Creator (Yahweh) or the creation (aperson, the people collectively, animals, nature, etc). So, no matter thestructure (republic, monarchy, democracy, etc) it is still ultimately atheocracy.

We can see this all through Scripture. When God speaks of othernations, the main culprit is the god they follow. Interestingly for Rome, theEmperor Caesar had exalted himself as a god desiring the people to declare“Caesar is Lord.” He was not just wanting them to recognize him as “lord” in thesense of being a ruler or someone simply in authority, but he wanted to beacknowledge as one who was divine. Instead Paul calls Christians to confessthat Jesus is Lord in Romans 10:9, which resulted in muchpersecution. Sadly, before the crucifixion of Christ, Jews cried out to Pilateto take Jesus away to crucify him proclaiming “We have no King but Caesar” (John 19:15). I hear the sentiment of thatstatement echoing throughout the church today as well.

What isour standard of law?

We must ask ourselves: can man come up with better laws thanGod? If man has the freedom to create his own laws, how can we measure whether theyare righteous or not? If we answer “by God’s word,” then we have to use Hislaws. We cannot say a law is immoral and then not be able to give an answer asto why it is moral. If we have an answer as to what is moral, it has to bebased on objective truth and not how we feel. It all comes down to the question“By what standard?” By what standard are we to make righteous judgments?

Many Christians will quote R. J. Rushdoony, Greg Bahnsen, orCornelius Van Til when using Presuppositonal Apologetics in evangelizing ordebating, but do not apply it to the laws of the land. If they do apply it,they may only apply it in an area that is most important to them, such asabortion, but not consistently across the board. It’s time to get consistent.

Even when people attempt to make laws that appeal to everyone’spersonal belief system, it falls short once there is any regulation at all.Once there is any regulation made, a belief system has been declared. This onlycontinues to prove that humanistic thinking is always inconsistent andultimately cannot please everyone. In this type of thinking there is noobjective truth, but nations result to ruling subjectively, elevating thebelief of some over others making themselves a god. If one person says that anabortion at 20 weeks is just and another says 21 weeks, which one is right? Howdo they determine righteousness in regards to that, or any law? When God’s lawis not the standard, righteousness is based upon whatever logic man pulls outof thin air.


I believe Christ has authority over all of the nations and thatthe rulers of nations are to implement God’s laws. I believe people are fearfulwhen they hear the term “theocracy” because of misconceptions of how God’s lawwould be applied.

I also believe people are fearful of a real responsibility. Thecurrent punishments we have in many cases are not corrective and do not promotereal responsibility. Ultimately man has a hard heart against the law of Godbecause the law of God represents God himself. Therefore, our priority isalways the preaching of the Gospel as we believe it is the power of God untosalvation, which changes the hearts of man, which then would lead thesubmission of God’s rule in households, then communities, then states, thennations. When we look at the government we can tell what god is dominating thatculture. If we look at the United States government we clearly see a nationthat has rejected God and a church that has retreated. When Christians say theydo not want to be under a “theocracy,” they are actually saying they do notwant to be under the rule of the God of the Bible in that nation, but under therule of another god. When they say they want God’s rule, but refuse to specifyan objective standard that comes from his laws in Scripture, they areessentially saying the same thing. We want the God who saves eternally, but wedon’t want his Kingdom and rule here. Christians say God is judging our nationbecause of its lawlessness, but we’re the first ones to say we don’t want hislaws.

It’s time to return to the worldview of the Bible. If we believewhat we say about God, our nation, and judgment, then let’s also act like webelieve what He says about the rule of His son in this earth:

Why are the nations in an uproar and the people devising a vainthing? And the peoples devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”
He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
“But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
“I will surely tell of the [e]decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Worship the Lord with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Psa. 2).