Friday, October 22

Thoughts on a Christian theory of government

Joe Carter posted a question earlier this week, wondering whether a Christian could be a Libertarian. I also ran across an interesting post pointed to by a comment in Joe's discussion following his post here. Anyhow, the direction Joe's question pushed me in a different direction.

Here's my question:
If one were starting from first principles, what sort of government would one derive, based on Christian scripture and tradition?

Alas, it is late, and I'm not going to finish tonight. But here are a few starting thoughts from which I'm going to start "working":
  • A societies laws and its peoples personal ethics are intertwined. Take for example, Ancient Sparta. The Spartan peer had a strict moral personal ethic to which he rigidly adhered. At the same time, the Laws of Lycurgus which shaped him had to start somewhere. Which came first, the law or the people?
  • Leviticus teaches us the same lesson, but from a different angle (and perhaps with not as much success). Leviticus teaches us that the Hebrews were to be a priestly people. For example, they were taught not to mix "things" (many things, foods, clothing, etc.). Why? Because this was to remind them of Genesis 1 in which God separated "things" (day/night, water/earth, etc.). So their lives practices should recapitulate their theology.
  • As Christians our "laws" should reflect what we learn from the New Testament & Torah, as well as the Nevi'im, Kethuvim, and our Christian traditions, i.e., especially the "Early Church Fathers".
So the challenge is to brainstorm/think/talk about what laws/customs one would have like order for the society to reflect a "Christian" priestly (monkly) people?

Part 2 is here.