Saturday, October 23

Christian government Part II

I've been working most of the day today, and got home late so this will be brief. I started this here, and got an interesting comment on it.

Peter Epps points out:
I would be very hesitant to derive a scheme of government for America from either the laws God gave to Israel or from the principles God has laid down for the church. The State is the sword, and the Church is not supposed to wield that sword; we have an awful lot of Western history to warn us about that. It seems that we must "render to Caesar" the power to repel force and fraud and reserve to God those things that are His: His church, His Word, His glory, and His right to dictate to His children how they should conduct their lives.
However, what I have in mind is less ambitions than a obviously Christian government. Look for example at our current government. Our founders had a strong Unitarian bent, and felt that religion is an individual/personal affair. They wrote some of their laws and comments at the founding in that light and what do we find? 200 years later, this idea is not a new strange thought for the New World, but here in America it is dogma. In fact, this idea, that religion is a personal thing is very strange to Christianity. I think as a result of the schisms in the church post-Reformation and beyond, this idea gets very much easier. But "back in the day", heresies were treated with utmost seriousness.

Anyhow, I'm getting off track. My kernel of an idea is that law and custom are married like chicken and egg. You can't make laws that are completely alien to a culture, but at the same time, laws can move the center of gravity of a culture to a place it didn't start.

By setting some laws in motion, a few generations later, these ideas can become unquestioned dogma. So the smaller challenge is for our Christian legislators is to pen laws that promote Christian ideals. The larger challenge is to consider if any larger schemes of governance might form a more fruitful garden for our Christian faith.

And I'm not yet willing to admit that our founding fathers may not have struck a winner with our Constitution. It is an amazing document. After all, it got us through the 1800 election, and I'd bet it will probably get us through 2004 as well.