Saturday, May 07, 2005

Christianity Today and Theocracy

A good sign of how widespread theocratic sentiment has become in evangelical circles is in a blog by Ted Olsen posted yesterday at the Christianity Today website.

Christianity Today has always been on the right, but it has clearly moved farther right than many comprehend. Here's how this blog about persecution and theocracy ends:

Evangelicalism, however, has always been a reform movement. And there is always more to reform. The Kingdom of God has arrived, but is not yet here. And we won't be satisfied until the king comes in all his glory.

And that's evangelical Christianity's little secret right now. We really are theocrats. Only in exactly the opposite way from how some op-ed columnists think we are. Our hopes lie far beyond the next election, or the next judicial fight. Our king isn't elected, and our judge isn't appointed. Sometimes we forget that. But it's what we're all about.

Evangelicalism has indeed always been a reform movement, but it was lives that we were concerned about seeing reformed and transformed, not the culture. The political agenda of the religious right has only come to the forefront in the last twenty-five years. It is sad to see Christianity Today lending its voice to those who believe the mission of the church is to set up a secret theocratic political kingdom for Jesus to receive.


Anonymous said...

Bruce, I think you are really reaching with this "theocracy" theory. If as a "Christian" minister, you would put as much enthusiasm into reaching the lost as you do putting fears into susceptible individuals; and blaming phantom enemies - that you would be a happier person. You don't seem to have much joy.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...


25 years ago people said the same thing to Cecil Sherman and Ken Chafin about their concern that Fundamentalists were taking over the Southern Baptist Convention.

We all know now who was right on that one.

Anonymous said...

It was not your side. If liberals have their way, our churches will be nothing more than social clubs with feel good messages that do no good for society and we will do nothing that the church was commissioned to do. If a child runs toward the road and is hit by a car, while a person standing close enough to prevent it and does not, the dead child will still be dead. A world headed to eternity should be warned of consequences and the church is the one whose responsibility it is, but if we have to be seperated from them, how can they hear? Theocracy is the lastest buzz word of the day. When you have no good argument, grab one of those good ole talking points and head toward the media.

JP Manzi said...

Hello anonymous,

Just curious as to why you would make some bold statments without identifying yourself. You make some pretty harsh statments against brother Bruce here. I am not going to get into a political debacle with you but please do not associate the word liberal with anti-christian. All these "liberals" are trying to do is spread the Kingdom of God here on earth, they are progressive because they believe that is what best achieves that goal and what best carries out the Sermon on the Mount. We are all branches from the same tree anonymous

TheGreenKnight said...

Anonymous is also forgetting or choosing to ignore the very language of the Christianity Today article that Bruce quotes. What part of the sentence, "We really are theocrats," suggests that the writer is not perfectly happy to be considered a theocrat?

greg said...

Bruce will have to vouch for my non-conservative credentials, but I do understand the "we are theocrats" in precisely the way the writer intends for us to, I think, and it has nothing to do with Barton and company. We, Christians that is, are theocrats. We believe that we have no higher authority than God. We believe that the kingdom of God is a present reality in whichever country it finds a collection of believers who will live the Gospel, the evangelical and social aspects. It is precisely this ethos that allows us to speak prophetically to secular government, right or left. I fear there are theocrats of the more pernicious sort near the President, although it's doubtful that he is one--more likely he's a pragmatist or a whore. CT is becoming increasingly conservative, but I wouldn't cry wolf about them being Barton-esque just yet.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...


The spiritual kingdom you are talking about is no secret.

The CT writer said, "that's evangelical Christianity's little secret right now." That's a coded message for political kingdom theocrats.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

The writer of the CT piece said, "Our king isn't elected, and our judge isn't appointed. Sometimes we forget that. But it's what we're all about." What concerns me is that many of these people think they know what the King wants done and what the verdict of the Judge is (and how it should be executed), and they are willing to carry out those perceived commands through political (or other) means, if necessary, intruding into the private lives of others.

While the writer's statement is true, what he might mean by it is frightening.



Greek Shadow said...

You know Judas made the same mistake as these Theocrats. He felt that he could force Jesus into setting up his Kingdom by forcing the issue. He succeeded, but was so blinded by the physical he forgot about the Spiritual. The King and Judge they speak of are in the Spiritual realm, remember Paul admonshes us to obey and be good citizens in the book of Romans, when Nero was about the most dispicable of tyrants that ever lived. Every time someone has tried to set up a Kindgdom of God, or a theocracy it has been repressive and oppressive in nature. Calvin's Geneva, Cromwell's England, Puritan New England when the they couldn't fuss about the Maypole, Shakespeare, and whistling on the Sabath anymore in Great Britain. Trying to create Heaven on Earth, only creates Hell on Earth.

Ted Olsen said...

Hmm. You know, guys, it might help if you actually went and read the article rather than just taking what Bruce posted without context. Rather than guessing what I was "secretly coding" to my readers or what I "might mean," maybe you might want to read what I actually said.

You have two options, folks. 1) You can stop freaking out, or 2) You can start crusading against all those who believe Jesus "will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end." The proper term for such people, by the way, is Christians, not theocrats.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

Hi Ted,

Having read the article through a couple of times now, I still find that it was you who said, "And that's evangelical Christianity's little secret right now. We really are theocrats." That seems plain to me. You equate Christianity with theocracy by saying that when we oppose theocracic ideology we are "crusading against all those who believe Jesus 'will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.'" You know, Ted, not all Christians are theocrats. Not all of us are on the "crusade" wagon. Some of us just love Jesus and want to walk humbly with our God and seek justice and peace.

We are seeing more and more Christians being driven from their evangelical churches because they do not share the right wing theocratic political ideology of their pastors. You advise us to "stop freaking out." Just how many believers should be excommunicated by the theocrats (your word, remember?) before we do start to freak out?



Dr. Bruce Prescott said...


I've read your blog more than once.

What's the secret?