The best method of government is theocracy. Theocracy is the rule of God (theos kratos = god rule). Theocracy is the same as the Kingdom ofGod. Kings rule over kingdoms. God is king of the Kingdom of God, so he rules in the Kingdom of God. This means that the Kingdom of God is the same as the rule of God.

Christians believe in the Kingdom of God, so we should be supporters of theocracy over democracy. The rule of God is the best, because it is the only way to blessing.

For the LORD is our judge,
the LORD is our lawgiver,
the LORD is our king;
it is he who will save us. (Isaiah 33:22)

The rule of God is the best, because it is the only way to blessing.

Not Ecclesiocracy

Theocracy has a bad name in the modern world, because it confused with ecclesiocracy, the rule of the church (ecclesia kratos = church rule). The rule of the Islamic clergy in Iran is often incorrectly described as a theocracy, because the clergy have control over the government. Theocracy is not God ruling through the church or the clergy. Ecclesiocracy is not the same as theocracy. The church must never rule the state. It becomes dangerous when it rules in the political sphere.

The church must not attempt to control the state. Christians must never use the coercive power of the state to advance its cause or to enforce Christian standards on the world. This has been a strong temptation for the church in every century. For many years, the church used the power of the state to force people to become Christians. During the crusades, "the heathen Moslems" were killed to advance the gospel.

The use of force to advance the gospel did terrible damage and for most the last 400 years, the world has been trying to throw off the control of the church. Hatred of church control has often led to an unnecessary rejection of the gospel, as most people cannot tell the difference.

We are now living in a season where the influence of the church is disappearing and the gospel is at a low ebb. Despite this rejection, we do not seem to have learned our lesson and the impulse to use the state to advance our cause is still strong. The prohibition movement is a recent example, and Christian support for the war in Iraq springs from the same well.

God's greatest gift to mankind is freedom, so we must not force our faith on an unwilling world. Our Father will never force sinners to live righteously, if they are unwilling. He will allow them to experience the consequences of their choices, but he will not stop them choosing. God wants people to obey him, because they love him, not because they have to. The most that he will do to make them obey him is the Holy Spirit's stirring in their conscience.

Following God's example, we should never use political power to enforce Christian standards on a non-Christian world. The state is the only institution in society that has the power to force people to do things against their will. This coercive power of the state is very dangerous, so it should be used sparingly. Christians should never use it to force people to live by their standards. (This is one of the features that distinguish Islam and Christianity. Islam has always used force to win converts, because force and submission come from its heart. While Christianity has sometimes used force to win converts, this has always been a denial of the gospel that weakened the Church.)

We should only attempt to implement Christian laws when the majority of people are Christian, or if the majority of people accept Christian standards. That means that the battle in the marketplace of ideas must be won before we can achieve victory in the political area. We are currently a long way from that goal. While most people accept the wisdom of Jesus, they are very hostile to the idea of Christians imposing their standards on the rest of society. (I suspect that God agrees with them, as he has never forced people to obey him).

Making It Work

Because God is spirit and in heaven, we have to find a practical way for him to rule on earth. People with political and judicial power must surrender to God's will.

God does not want to rule the world through the church. He created us to be free responsible and wants us to freely choose to love him. If we love, him we will probably choose to obey him, and that will change things on earth, particularly in the political scene.

God is not interested in is any "ocracy" where one group of people attempt to force their will on the rest. He is not interested in forcing people to become Christians. He is not interested in using the law to force people to live like Christians.

Bad Word

Theocracy is not a good word for describing the Kingdom of God.

God's kingdom is his will being done on earth as it is in heaven. To understand what this means, we have to think about how his will is done in heaven. The citizens of heaven do not do his will because they fear him, or because they are forced to obey. They do God's will because they respect him. They understand that his wisdom and his will are perfect, so doing his will is the natural thing to do.

God's kingdom comes on earth in the same way. His will will be done, but that does not mean that people will be forced to do his will. It will not be done because people are afraid of him. God's will will be done, because people with new hearts choose to love him. As those who love him begin to understand his will, they will realise that his ways are perfect. They will freely choose to do his will out of respect for him.

Just as there is no fear or force in heaven, there is no room for fear or force in his Kingdom. This means that any word that ends with "ocracy" does not fit with the kingdom of God.

There is only one situation where God will permit humans to use force against other humans in his Kingdom. He allows the punishment of theft, assault and murder to be enforced by human judges. That is the limit on the use of force. And even when punishing these sins, human force must be tempered by mercy.

Almost all humans would accept that force is justified for dealing with theft, assault and murder. Therefore, even the most ardent anti-theocrat would be hard pressed to find anything objectionable about the Kingdom of God.

The other "ocracies" involve far more force being used for a wider range of purposes. For example, democracy allows the majority to force a minority to bow to the will of the majority. Those who fear being forced to do things against their will should fear democracy far more than they fear the Kingdom of God.

The Church has always been tempted to seize the power of the sword, so it can force people to do the right thing. The problem is that the church that uses force loses credibility. We must resist the temptation to take up the sword, because it chokes the power of the trumpet.

More in Government of God.