ACH Study Groups
Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders
7659 Gingerblossom Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
August 1, 2015
This is a letter to our friends –
Nothing exists without a set of rules to govern it (i.e. direct, regulate, control, restrain). Every
human organization is governed. There are three types of organizational rule (that is
“polity”): Rule of one; Rule of a few; Rule of many. Human organizations are a mixture of
these elements of polity.
Rule of one is called, “Monarchy.” Rule of a few is called, “Aristocracy.” Rule of many is called, “Democracy.” Think about it – Rule of one, few, many are the only possibilities. Sir William Blackstone (1723 – 1780), father of the legal profession, wrote about the good and bad attributes of each.
I summarize what Blackstone wrote in “Commentaries”:
Democracies (think, “majority rule”) – public virtue and good intention, want what is right and just, patriotic and public spirited. Often foolish (unwise) and weak in getting things done. Democracies are usually the best for making laws.
Aristocracies (rule of a few) – wiser than the other two, but less honest than a democracy and less powerful than a monarchy. Aristocracies are fitted to judge the laws.
Monarchy (rule of one) – More powerful than the other two, can get things done, BUT, is most vulnerable to misusing that power. Monarchies are best for executing the laws.
To quote Governor William Penn (1682), “…any government is free to the people under it (whatever be the frame) where the laws rule and the people are a party to those laws:” But what happens if the government steps outside those laws?
A democracy becomes an “Anarchy.” An aristocracy becomes an “Oligharchy.” A monarchy becomes a “Tyranny.”
I find all three forms of polity in the Bible. Human nature is such that we are tempted to say, “Since our form is Biblical, yours must not be!” God appears to have endorsed each at different times. I will speculate upon why that is. –
It is a law of nature – The quality of an organization’s government is determined by the over-all self-government of its members.
God loves and wants the best for everyone. Suppose He is considering an organization whose members have poor self-government: Because He wants the best for them, He gives them a top-down (rule of one) polity. If He gave them majority rule, they would likely turn it into anarchy.
On the other hand, consider an organization made up honest law-abiding members. They would chafe under top-down rule. I see a spectrum that morphs from rule of one, through rule of a few, to rule of many – depending upon the corporate quality of self-government at the time.
Another law of nature – Every society has a dominant corporate relationship with a “higher power” of some sort. That vertical (church) relationship will always determine the horizontal (civil) relationship. Never the other way around.
A parting thought – If America’s civil government has shifted from liberty toward monarchy (even tyranny), what does that say about the corporate character of our vertical (church) relationship with God?