What are some key problems with Christian theocracy? Why shouldn’t Christians seek to have a Christian theocratic nation?


There is no direct statement in the New Testament which commands Christians to not create a theocratic state.  If believers in some country decided to found a state based wholly on Christian principles, I suppose there is no biblical mandate telling them that they may not do so.
However, a bit of common sense, along with a few principles in the New Testament, combined with the lessons of history tell us that forming a Christian theocracy is a bad idea—not wrong or sinful, but just a really bad idea.
It has been tried, with disastrous effect in the long run.  Theocracy was tried in Geneva under the leadership of John Calvin.  It soon devolved into wrangling, chaos and power struggles amongst supposed believers.  Ulrich Zwingli tried it in Zurich as well, with dubious results.  The Catholic Church tried to develop a theocracy in the Middle Ages, with Rome as its capital.  The verdict of history?  This was a big mistake for Christianity.  A “Christian” state soon starts behaving in a decidedly unchristian way.   One problem is that in any given location, only a relatively small minority will ever be true disciples of Jesus.  In Geneva of the 1500s, as in the Roman states during the Middles Ages, as in the Roman empire in its later years, when Christianity was the official religion, the large majority were never true believers in Christ.  They were, at best, nominal believers.  When the state tries to use force or coercion to try to get non-believers to act like Christians it is always a disaster.
Like Paul said, we do not use the weapons of this world (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).  One thing I can say for sure is that politics is one of the “weapons of the world.”  Governments always have politics.  When Christians wear the weapons of politics, it has historically always had a negative result in the long run.  Jesus did not try to force his way of life on those who did not want to be his disciples.  Neither should we try to force people to behave like Christians if they do not accept discipleship to Jesus.  This will not work, and Jesus did not do it.  No political party, no nation, no government will ever be truly Christian, and trying to force this to happen is a really bad idea.
I have not made a strong biblical case against the idea of theocracy, although I have pointed out a reason or two it is not helpful.  However, the experience of history is clear, as is a common sense analysis of what governments are required to do and the Christian lifestyle.   As believers, we should not seek to create a theocracy which forces the vast majority to do Christian things when they do not claim to be Christians.
John Oakes

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