Christian Pilgrim


21. Democracy

Genesis 11:6 - The tower of Babel is the classic example of men asserting their sinful ways in a One World government. Man is a sinner - that is why he should never be put in control of his own destiny.

Numbers 16:1-3 - 250 of the congregation exalt themselves above God's chosen leaders Moses and Aaron.

Judges 9 - First of all (v.6):

"all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king."

Then (vv. 22,23):

"When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel, then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech."

Then (v.26):

Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him.

(and subsequently ousted Abimelech from power).

People change their minds every five minutes. They should never be allowed to decide who should be in power. It causes gross instability.

1 Kings 12:16 & 2 Chronicles 10:16 - The people of Israel decided to reject Rehoboam, God's chosen descendant of Solomon, as their king.

Daniel 2:41-43 - Iron mixed with clay. This developed from the Roman Empire. It seems on the face of it so strong, but rather it is fragile (like clay) as men do not get on with each other very easily and people change their minds who to vote for all the time.

Hosea 6:9 - The priests murder "by consent."

Matthew 27:15-26
Mark 15:6-15
Luke 23:17-25
John 18:39,40 - The release of Barabbas rather than Christ was at the people's will.

Acts 1:15-26 - It is commonly thought that the disciples voted on who should replace Judas, but this was not the case. They realised that the qualifications for an apostle was someone who had (vv. 21,22)

companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

They picked two men who qualified for the shortlist according to this principle. Then, after prayer, they cast lots (v.26). This way, there is no arguing, no political factions forming (which may foment hatred later on, and cause power struggles), and no-one can complain.

Ideally, in church decision-making, we should try to get a unanimous decision wherever possible, and only after much prayer. If this is not possible, the last resort must be the lot (again, after prayer), which is still far preferable than giving in to the will of a majority. The result of the lot will make sure that God's providence will prevail (for good or ill, as He sees fit) rather than the will of men.

Acts 27:12 - the view of the "most part" prevailed and they set sail from Crete despite Paul's warning.

Anyone who has been bullied at school KNOWS that the will of the mob is a terrible thing.

The Fallacy of Democracy

In a world in which we see totalitarian regimes oppressing their people, it is all too easy to go along with the media bandwagon declaring that giving the people "democracy" is the answer to all their problems. "This will finally give the people the freedom they should have by right," is the cry. Indeed, when we think of democracy we tend to compare, for example, oppressive muslim lands controlled by powerful, unelected Emirs, with the wonderful "free" democratic countries, all of which tend to be "Christian," at least in name. We therefore get the impression that democracy is somehow connected with Christianity. However, if we look biblically at the situation, we see that this is far from true.

Democracy throughout history has not necessarily been a good thing. The greatest war this world has ever known, was brought about by one man, Adolf Hitler, who came to power in Germany.... by the vote of the people! Democracy as a form of government is no better or worse than a dictatorship. The only difference being that a dictatorship is ruling at the whim of one man, whereas democracy is ruling at the whim of the mob.

Democracy falls to the ground because man has a wicked sinful nature, and does not know what is best for himself. This is one thing the politicians will never tell the people. Oh yes, he knows what he wants, and the politicians pander to his lusts all right, but the very nature of man is to exalt himself and abase God. This is anti-Christian. Therefore living our lives simply according to the will of the majority will always be a mistake.

Biblical history is replete with examples of the will of the people in action. Every time it is in connection with rebellion against God. The Tower of Babel in Genesis Chapter 11 is an example of what men will do if left to themselves, namely build a one-world government to the glory of man, without any reference to God. In the Exodus, time and again the people complained to Moses about their lot, even causing Moses to speak unwisely himself at one point (Numbers 20:10-12). In the time of the Judges "every man did what was right in his own eyes," following every charismatic leader they could find, and changing their minds continually as to who they should follow (e.g. Judges 9:22-23).

After Solomon's death, the people of Israel rejected Solomon's son Rehoboam to set up a man of their own choosing instead (1 Kings 12:16,19,20). Subsequently whenever they had a king they did not like, they simply overthrew him and set up another, until God finally cast them out of their land. In the church too we see no difference. The priests "murder in the way by consent" (Hosea 6:9). The majority always get their way. And of course the greatest of all acts of wickedness was the crucifixion of Christ: it was the people who chose Barabbas to be released and Christ to be crucified, a decision which Pilate, being a good democrat, gave in to.

If the Bible teaches nothing else, it teaches us that if people are allowed to choose their own way, they will apostatise from God and set up their own false, self-exalting philosophy instead. The truly Christian form of government is not to make our decisions dependent solely on the will of the majority. This simply encourages political manoeuvering, with the most persuasive always getting their way. Rather, our way should be to continually seek the mind of the Lord in prayer and supplication, humbling ourselves before Him, and not making our decisions until we have clear light on the matter. Let us away with man and his reason and decision-making. Instead, let us, "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts," live "soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:12-14).

October 2005