Christianity generally believes in the exclusivity of believers in Jesus the Christ.

John 14:6 NIV

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

What is the biblical basis for a majority Christian society allowing religious freedom, as opposed to establishing a Christian theocracy?

  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. Dec 10, 2015 at 14:26
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    Related but not duplicate: Biblical basis for the separation of church and state Dec 10, 2015 at 14:58
  • What makes you think there is a Biblical basis? I think there is Biblical justification, but the basis is civil.
    – Flimzy
    Dec 11, 2015 at 10:22
  • I would say most of the Christians I know would eventually reject freedom of religion if they ran the country.
    – user3961
    Dec 16, 2015 at 0:33
  • @fredsbend absolutely, the exclusivity of Christianity would have it no other way. Just as Christians mock other religions but ironically, how to live, treat people, and worship God (different rituals) are similar. Dec 16, 2015 at 14:02

2 Answers 2


In Revelation 22 it says:

Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”

Christianity is not by nature a conquering faith.

In 1 Corinthians 5:

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

The church is to regulate its members' conduct, not the conduct of outsiders.

Romans 12 says:

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”d says the Lord.

Persecuting others is discouraged, because we are to love our enemies.

Above all, to not respect the religions of others would be contrary to the ways of servant hood. As Matthew 23 says:

The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

I believe the example of ancient Israel in Joshua 7, when they lost a battle because Achan took plunder, is a good illustration. The Old Testament is used by some to justify Holy wars, and by others to attack Christianity. God is perfectly free to employ people to fight Holy wars, but he holds those soldiers to a high standard: you must serve God and not greed. Centuries later, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain - even those that had converted to Christianity - was not an act of piety, but one of greed. They wanted to confiscate the wealth of those they despised.

  • When Daniel is ordered to partake in a diet he felt violated the law, he didn't launch into a sermon and chastise the other Jews who went along with it. He was concerned for his own integrity and holiness. I wouldn't be surprised if he encouraged others too join him, as the three others did, but he goes about it very calmly and civilly. Paul understood that you can't expect righteous behavior from the wicked. Rather than telling everyone else how to live their lives we should take a closer look at our own.
    – Joshua
    Dec 11, 2015 at 1:55

In John 18:36 Jesus states:

My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, My attendants would fight that I might not be betrayed to the Jews. But now My kingdom is not from here.

Jesus makes it clear here that the Kingdom of God - his life's work - is not something that is part of human government.

Furthermore Matthew 10:14-15 states:

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Which would seem to imply that if someone or some city does not accept the voluntarily offered Christian message, Christ's disciples are to "shake the dust off" and walk away, because Divine judgment will eventually win the day. A Christian theocracy would be a rejection of this teaching, as a theocracy by its very nature would not permit someone the freedom to reject the Christian message, neither would it (nor could it) behave as Jesus instructs here.

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    I was going to add those verses to my answer but you beat me to it! Dec 10, 2015 at 21:59
  • Nice! That's pretty incredible actually.
    – schulwitz
    Dec 11, 2015 at 23:47
  • Very nice. I wonder if modern Christians lost this message in regards to the US. Matthew is easier to follow as the minority, but when Christians are the majority, it's a little difficult to walk way. Dec 15, 2015 at 13:02

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