A few days ago, I asked the question, “Why do Monarchies Still Exist?” and got a very interesting response from my English friend, Geoff. Since not everyone read those comments, I felt that the topic needed a follow-up post, so I decided to do that in the form of an interview.

Lily: Hi Geoff, can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Geoff: I’m originally from the U.K and have been a Christian for about 25 years. I’m an author and have written a book called “The Amazing Grace Tour” about a reconciliation journey that I did.

Lily: Awesome, thanks! Ok, let’s start from the beginning, for people who didn’t read that previous post. Why do you believe monarchies still exist? In countries where kings or queens are mere figureheads, what is the point of continuing an institution that many people feel is antiquated at best…. or elitist and unjust at worst?

Geoff: I can’t really speak for other countries as I’ve never really studied their Monarchies in depth, but in Britain it is still very much a part of the Government. As well as being head of the Church of England, she is also Head of State, not only of the UK, but also Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some smaller Commonwealth countries, and so instead of the Prime Minister having to attend and entertain foreign dignitaries, or the President in your country, she does.  This frees up the Prime Minister and is a good thing I think, in that sense. She also still has the power to veto an elected official, although she has never done so.

queen-arrives-5_1897745bLily: Ah, ok, that’s pretty much what I thought. Her duties are mostly diplomatic, but that is a job. In fact, it’s not too different than our spokespersons presidents here in the US, if you ask me, but that’s another topic entirely! I do find it very interesting that she’s the head of the church of England. That brings up all sorts of other questions. But let’s get back to the main question here.

So, monarchies do serve a purpose, but for some reason, the existence of monarchies in this day and age still doesn’t sit right with me. We already have ambassadors, why not abandon monarchies if (at least in England) their main role is something that can be filled by others – people who actually apply for the job and are selected based on their merits, not their bloodline?

Geoff: Because England was meant to be a “Christian nation” and so its whole set up on earth is meant to mirror the Kingdom of God, i.e. a King and not someone who is elected as such based on merit. God wasn’t elected as God and we as Christians aren’t elected as sons, co-heirs etc. based on our merit, it’s based on bloodline. Jesus’ bloodline.

The beauty of it is, it’s all free and anyone can receive it as a free gift. Indeed, it’s why we were created in the first place. If the fall of man hadn’t happened, we would all be Royalty and are again when redeemed through Christ. The Bible teaches that we are “A Royal Priesthood” etc. So it is true that we are all created equal, but it’s so much more than that. If the highest thing you can hope for is to become President some day, then that’s pretty sad. So basically, Monarchies give a picture of the way things are in heaven more than a secular Government does I think.

Lily: Wow! Let’s back up here a bit. For the people who didn’t read the previous post, you’re saying that the monarchy in England is a representation of God’s kingdom – in the sense that we don’t become royals based on merit, but solely on what family we belong to. Right?

Geoff: Yes, we become Christians when we receive it by faith as a free gift and we inherit a Kingdom because of this. If the fall hadn’t happened in the first place, we would have been living in our inheritance already.

Lily: Yes, I fully agree, of course. But for those who might be scratching their heads out there, about how this relates to the earthly monarchies… you believe that we shouldn’t abolish earthly monarchies because they serve as a representation of the true kingdom. When you brought that up on the previous post, I thought that was fascinating. But I did have a couple objections. One of them is, are earthly monarchies doing a good job in serving as a physical representation of the true kingdom? I don’t think so.

Also, unlike God’s kingdom, you can’t be adopted into the “royal family”, you either won the genetic lottery, or you didn’t. So how does that fact go along with your view that earthly kingdoms serve as symbols for God’s kingdom?

Geoff: I think the present monarchy has done a good job, not a perfect one but a good one. Ones in previously years certainly haven’t but that goes for lot of leaders, whether they were monarch or not. You can’t be adopted into the Royal Family no, but that’s not the point. I think they’re there as a symbol that represents Christ’s kingdom. I know what you’re saying and as I said recently, I grew up thinking that they were a waste of time and money. Remember that we still also have a secular Government too and anyone can become Prime Minister. We are just as secular as any other country in that sense, but when you see state ceremonies in England, it’s all centered around God and The Bible. Look at the last Royal wedding. World leaders from all over the globe were there sitting in a cathedral, watching something that was a representation of a wedding that will take place in heaven between Jesus and His bride. Where else would that happen?

Lily: I see what you’re saying, and it is true that – at least on the surface, and in theory – England is a “Christian nation.” But that doesn’t actually make it so. I can bring up lots of examples, but then we’d be opening up a whole new can of worms. I don’t think the U.S is either, although there are many Christians in the US, at least cultural Christians.

Maybe I’m being too critical here, but I just feel that if something is supposed to be representing God, then that thing – or person – needs to actually represent God in a true, compelling way, or not at all. There are many times when I don’t feel worthy to call myself a Christian, because I don’t want to mislead others who look to me as a representative of Christ. I disagree with England’s foreign policy (as well our current US foreign policy) and with many things about their government. I also don’t like how the royal family treated Princess Diana, who I liked a lot. I’m sorry, but I’m just not a fan of the royal family. But I digress.

Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. I would really love to hear from other people… and it would be especially interesting to hear from some atheists or non-christians. Is there anything else you want to add for now?

Geoff: This adds to the the last point. I think it was deliberate that they set things up like that, so that people could always be reminded of heavenly rather than earthly things.

Now to your final point. You’re probably right and I think that’s what the head of the church of England’s job is more. In reality, they are all human beings and so are imperfect at the end of the day. Prince William seems like a decent humble chap though (son of Di). I think they did treat Diana badly, but then again I wasn’t there and the staid, snobbish part of being English is not something I subscribe to at all.

I guess the one thing I would add is this. Imagine if England didn’t have this representation of Christianity at the heart of its foundation. It’s secular and socialist enough as it is. At least as Christians, we have this to call people back to and explain about God’s kingdom because of it. That in itself is value enough in my view.

Lily: That is true, it is definitely a good conversation starter, and a way to bring up the Gospel and explain what you just said – that human kings are imperfect, but God isn’t.

Thank you so much for talking about this! I really like hearing your point of view on this, and you have caused me to look at the monarchy in a whole different way now. I appreciate your insight!

  • Mark

    Hi Lily,

    Obviously, as you know, I’m not religious at all, so the idea of a royal family as representations of the kingdom of heaven on earth, have no appeal to me whatsoever. I’d also ask whether such a view represents a case of idolatry?

    On the broader issue of the monarchy as a whole, it’s just not a big issue for me tbh. I would like to see a proper written constitution with serious root and branch reforms of our systems of governance. Whether or not we keep a monarchy is one of the most minor parts of that and its importance as an issue is overstated by republicans and monarchists alike imo.

    Mark

  • lily

    Hi Mark! Thanks for your thoughts! Idolatry is putting something above God, or worshipping a false “god.” An actual Christian would definitely NOT put an earthly kingdom above God, or get too caught up in being a fan of the royal family in England or other places. It seems to me that the people who are really into that are not Christians, or maybe they’re cultural Christians but not bible-believing followers of Christ.

    Also, Geoff might disagree, and he can give you his answer, but if you ask me… The point isn’t that they actually ARE a representation of God’s kingdom. The fact that earthly kingdoms are symbolic of the true kingdom doesn’t mean that the royals are Godly or true Christians. Does that make any sense? I feel like that was worded poorly. In other words, they mat not be a good example, but certain things about earthly kingdoms, namely royalty being unelected, is a parallel to God’s kingdom. The difference, of course, is that here on earth (in my opinion) that is not a good thing… But God is the TRUE power of this universe, and unlike fallible human beings, God is good – He is good personified, so you can’t compare God to a fallible human being,

    About your last point, I feel that way too. It’s not a big issue for me… as long as it’s inconsequential. But as I was saying to Geoff, I don’t agree with the idea of monarchies as a form of government or with ANY system (in this world) where leaders are unelected, or unaccountable to the people. I think we have something similar to a monarchy now, in that there are people behind the scenes, who are unelected but have the actual power, and presidents are figureheads, for the most part. But that’s a whole other topic. :-/

  • Geoff

    It would be idolatry I agree, if they were supposed to be Gods representatives on earth, but I don’t see it like that. Some people do make idols of the royal family also, sadly. I don’t think any of the royal family would claim to literally be Gods representatives on earth in this day and age either, if you asked them personally. I think they are fully aware that it is a role that they play that is mainly symbolic. And it’s a reminder of the nations identity as a Christian nation, which you probably disagree with. I never used to think this way believe me, but I actually feel like God is pleased with the fact that a nation identifies itself with Him and makes a covenant that reflects that.