When Democracy Comes to Church: The Intersection of Theology and Politics: A Study Guide

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Many years ago, in 1972, I completed my doctoral dissertation at the University of Iowa.  The title was :Boyd H. Bode, A Study of the Relationship Between Democracy and the Kingdom of God.  The conclusion of that study, endorsed by the University, was that Democracy and The Kingdom are antithetical.  God’s Kingdom is “top-down,” while democracy is “bottom-up.”  God’s Word teaches, and we profess, that God is the Law-giver, and we are called to obedience.  He makes the rules, and we obey.  Democracy is the philosophic system that teaches human autonomy:  we make the rules that we want and we only obey the ones that we make.  Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson preached that fervently.  America’s public schools are committed to that today, arguing that we have “separation of church and state,” implying, falsely for sure, that no Biblical or religious influences may affect the education of our sinless, autonomous little educands.

What has transpired over the last few decades is that many of our nation’s churches and denominations have become so enamoured with democracy that they unknowingly operate their churches from those principles.  Democracy has as one of its cardinal principles the idea of “equality.”  Jefferson argued that he and all his fellow citizens were equal to King George and no longer needed to obey his laws.  They, therefore, claimed independence and started a war of revolution.  They didn’t practice what they preached, but that did not bother them.

Many denominations today insist that men and women are “equal” and therefore should have equal access to all  the offices of the church.  Others have applied this principal to gays and lesbians, giving them full rein in the church.  When Democracy Comes to Church explores these issues and more.

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