Russ, I apologize for taking so long to get back to you.
Getting back to your original point about solid data being necessary at the beginning of our investigations into truth, I wanted to list a few of the facts I’ve been working with:
· Christian monarchy is an old and venerable tradition, dating from Constantine, and was intrinsic to the first Christendom.
· Social order was preserved in Christian monarchical societies past the Reformation period.
· The modern era, notable for its egalitarian ethos, is simultaneously characterized by iconoclasm, antisacerdotalism, and the decline of religious faith and practice.
· Democracy, civil rights, and free markets have as yet failed to produce a devout citizenry that elects righteous leaders, frames laws to codify divine law, or produce an economy that cultivates the earth for God’s glory.
· Furthermore, there seems to be spiritual, moral, intellectual, and aesthetic decline in each succeeding generation (in both the ruling and working classes).
· Social order has declined to such a degree that less than half of our countrymen recognize the sanctity of human life (created in God’s Image), the fixed nature of human sexuality, the natural order of marriage, or even the existence of good and evil. All these things were taken for granted for nearly two-thousand years in Christian monarchical societies.
· This social disorder is historically linked to the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity and the Romantic ideal of individual autonomy which are in turn developments of radical Protestant Gnosticism (the rejection of fixed natural order and structure).
Now, back to the meat of your comment:
Just a quick remark here. I prefer vice-regency to the term vice-gerancy for obvious reasons. Such highlights the biblical idea that man was created to not only “manage” creation as God’s steward, but also to eventually inherit dominion over all created things as God’s king crowned with glory and honor (Ps. 8:4-8).
a) I do not grant that Authority (the lawful structure of command and obedience) is infinitely malleable; it has a certain form. It was originally granted in the form of Adam’s fatherly headship. And we neglect or subvert this form at great peril.
Tribes, being essentially extended families, have familial authority structures. Ideally, familial heads should exercise their covenant headship and swear fealty to a prominent familial head on behalf of their constituent families.
Aristocracies and oligarchies are basically democratic confederacies of powerful men. I say this because they are arrangements of compromise that fail to realize unified, coherent rule.
Republics attempt to balance the Rule of the Many with the Rule of the One. Such may provide a stable government for a temporary period, as in our United States, but ultimate policy commitments will be made either by presidents (for example, Lincoln and FDR) or judges (a Supreme Court majority) overstepping their constitutional authority and imposing their wills at opportune moments.
A nation must be impelled by the lucidity of One or the confusion of Many. Just as God is not ultimately one and three in an oppositional sense (the Son and Spirit submit to the Father’s will), so unified society has a basic identity and purpose articulated and interpreted by a ruling head. This ruling head being both biologically and spiritually dependent on his predecessors is under natural obligation to honor and preserve the heritage bequeathed to him. There is no more fitting figure for such a role than the Son-Father-King.
[Note: I'm prepending the formula "Father-King" with "Son" here to highlight the related facts that Adam was the original Son of God, that every human father is the son of his father, and that all the baptized are sons of God in Christ, who is the eternal Son of God.]
b) I agree, Russ, that kings can and have been unfaithful. But I do not thereby concede there are four (or more) categories of rulers. Authority is a kind of law; indeed it is the fundamental law. A change in office implies a change in law (cf. Heb. 7:12) God is not worshipped because he commanded it; he is worshipped because he’s God. The force of any law issued is derived from the status of the lawgiver.
Certainly, only one Man can be wholly identified with God, so only the commands of Christ Jesus are perfectly just and wise. Yet, the attempt to divide the form and content of authority is a terrible mistake. Lesser kings who administer Christ’s authority on earth must be respectfully obeyed until their actions wholly subvert the reason for their being.
To reiterate, there are only two categories of rulers: those who govern by imitating the form and manner of God’s rule and those who govern in the form and manner of their own devising, of which there can be infinite variation (oligarchy, aristocracy, democracy, etc.).
Well, Russ, I’m going to have to break off for now. I look forward to any thoughts you have on what I've presented thus far.