Virtue is the Necessary Support for Democracy

“…abide in my word.”  John 8:31

There is a direct link between the Bible and virtue. Abiding in Jesus’s Word produces virtue in believers. Gregg Herrick defines virtue in its Biblical context.

Christian virtues are settled dispositions that cause us to act in certain ways—ways that are Christ-like. All godly virtues are integrally related to the overarching Christian virtues of holiness and love and are produced by the Spirit as we strive to see them matured in our lives. (see “Herrick” below)

II Peter 1:5-8 enjoins us to pursue virtue.

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Different forms of Government

Aristotle lists four different forms of government: democracy, oligarchy,
aristocracy, monarchy. Each has a specific definition. We may omit Oligarchy and combine Aristocracy under Monarchy today. (see Aristotle” below)

Aristotle also enumerates the goal of each form of government:

oligarchy, exists for the accumulation and increase of wealth;
aristocracy insures the maintenance of education and national institutions;
tyranny has the intention of the protection of the tyrant.
democracy produces freedom. (see Aristotle” below)

We love democracy because its sole reason for existence is to give us freedom!

William Wallace in the movie, “Braveheart” ,makes an important statement all elected officials should take notice of—

You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. (see “Braveheart Movie Quotations” below; emphasis mine) 


William Wallace statue in Aberdeen, Scotland

John Calvin describes necessary character traits in citizens for the various forms of government to prosper.

In a Monarchy the citizenry must exhibit respect.
In a dictatorship the citizenry must have fear instilled in it.
In democracy the citizenry must have virtue

The necessary support for democracy is virtue. If people lose civic virtue, the nation fails.


Aristotle. ( 4th Cent. BC). Rhetoric and Poetics. Accessed  6 October 2018 from

Braveheart Movie Quotations. Accessed 6 October 2018 from

Herrick, Gregg. (2004). “Virtues Leading to Christlikeness.” Accessed 7 October 2018 from

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

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