Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by 2cents, Jun 13, 2007.

    and the Rise of Christian Imperialism

    By Sarah Leslie

    Conspiracy theorizing about the Christian Right’s supposedly “secretEagenda involves highlighting the hate-mongering and bizarre ideas of a handful of Christian Right players while neglecting the broad popularity of dominion theology.

    Sara Diamond, “Dominion Theology:
    The Truth About the Christian Right’s Bid for Power,E

    American churches are to a large degree defined by what they choose to rebel against. The Christian right has set itself in opposition to liberal, secular government and, as a political consequence, declared itself a buddy of big business.E

    Russ Rymer, Mother Jones, Dec. 20052

    The ambassador's words seemed prophetic a couple of weeks later, when a Dream for Africa draft plan found its way into Swazi newspapers, turning public opinion sharply against Mr. Wilkinson. Under the headline “British Colony or Dr Bruce Colony?Eone op-ed writer in the Swazi News wrote, “Why can't he simply tell us that he wants to be given the whole country so that he can gloat to his friends overseas that he owns a modern day colony in Africa called Swaziland?E

    Michael M. Phillips, “Mr. Wilkinson Hits Wall Trying To Push 'Orphan Village'E
    Wall Street Journal, 12/19/053

    For the past several decades the political Left has focused attention on the Christian Right’s political activism in America. Particularly, the Left has been highly critical of a select group of dominionists called Reconstructionists, whose aggressive verbiage, extreme Calvinist theologies, and religious political agendas have made it an ideal target for outrage. But, as Leftist researcher Sara Diamond has astutely observed, “the ReconstructionistsEreligion of Calvinism. . . makes them unlikely to appeal to most evangelicals.E Indeed, few Reconstructionists would consider themselves to be evangelicals. Nevertheless, their influence has been considerable over the much larger group of patriotic evangelicals.

    There are two other dominionist sects within evangelicalism that have escaped in-depth scrutiny from the Left. These dominionists have been able to function virtually incognito for several reasons: 1) They have been deeply embedded within the evangelical subculture; 2) They cloaked their dominionism with new terminologies and doctrines over a period of thirty years; and 3) They figured out how to package dominionism using sophisticated mass marketing techniques. Also noteworthy: these two other dominionist camps have been operating in a dialectical fashion Ewhile one group appealed to the TBN charismatics with all of its emotional excesses, the other group carefully managed its more intellectual public image to conform to traditional evangelical standards.

    This paper is a brief overview of the three main dominionist movements operating inside evangelicaldom and examines how all three of these sects are now converging around a global “kingdomEagenda. This paper is not a treatise on doctrine, nor is it an historical record, nor is it a thorough analysis of the multifarious streams of evangelical dominionism. This paper does not cover the broader issue of dominionist sects within other world religions, except for a few brief noteworthy mentions. To examine the totality of the individuals, the organizations, and their cross-linkages would require an exhaustive study which is beyond the scope of this brief synopsis. Even so, every point made in this paper could be validated by dozens, sometimes hundreds, of pieces of documentation. The inquiring reader may check out the footnotes and references.

    Only a small handful of Christian discernment and apologetics ministries, of which this writer is a part, have been paying attention to the intersection of the dominionist streams. The apologetic ministries fulfill a Scriptural role to examine and expose false doctrines and teachers, and to warn other believers of heresies (Jude 3, 2 Peter 2:1). Increasingly, over the past two decades, many apologists have become seduced by dominionism, blunting their ability to critically examine the roots and fruits of this rapidly rising new church era.

    Dominionism in brief

    Throughout the 2000 year history of Christianity there has always been a vein of dominionism embedded in the strata of doctrines. This seam has ebbed and flowed for 20 centuries, sometimes submerged, sometimes exposed. Whenever out in the open, it has given rise to horrible abuses done in the name of Christ. In the early 21st century, once again this vein is now showing and active. Keep in mind:

    Dominionism is always an aberration of true Christian theology.
    A remnant of believers has always opposed it, often suffering a martyr’s fate at the hands of intolerant dominionists.

    Traditional Christianity teaches:

    The Gospel of Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the cross. The emphasis is placed upon repentance and conversion of individual souls. The Kingdom of God in this age is spiritual and grows through efforts of evangelism based on teaching the Bible. It is “not of this worldE(John 18:36), but a spiritual rule in the hearts of men (Luke 17:20-21). Furthermore, the Kingdom of God is only finally realized upon Christ’s second return to Earth, whereby He Himself establishes His literal and physical reign.

    The evangelism mandate by Word and Spirit

    Christ never intended that His gospel should be propagated by fire and sword or His righteousness wrought by the wrath of man. When the high praises of God are in our mouth with them we should have an olive-branch of peace in our hands. Christ’s victories are by the power of His gospel and grace over spiritual enemies, in which all believers are more than conquerors. The word of God is the two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12), the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17).5 [emphasis added]

    Matthew Henry, circa 1700

    Dominionism teaches:

    The Gospel of Salvation is achieved by setting up the “Kingdom of GodEas a literal and physical kingdom to be “advancedEon Earth in the present age. Some dominionists liken the New Testament Kingdom to the Old Testament Israel in ways that justify taking up the sword, or other methods of punitive judgment, to war against enemies of their kingdom. Dominionists teach that men can be coerced or compelled to enter the kingdom. They assign to the Church duties and rights that belong Scripturally only to Jesus Christ. This includes the esoteric belief that believers can “incarnateEChrist and function as His body on Earth to establish His kingdom rule. An inordinate emphasis is placed on man’s efforts; the doctrine of the sovereignty of God is diminished.

    The new dominion mandate by control

    Dominion theology is predicated upon three basic beliefs: 1) Satan usurped man’s dominion over the earth through the temptation of Adam and Eve; 2) The Church is God’s instrument to take dominion back from Satan; 3) Jesus cannot or will not return until the Church has taken dominion by gaining control of the earth’s governmental and social institutions.6 [emphasis added]

    Al Dager, Vengeance Is Ours: The Church In Dominion

    Dominion theology is a heresy. As such it is rarely presented as openly as the definitions above may indicate. Outside of the Reconstructionist camp, evangelical dominionism has wrapped itself in slick packages Eone piece at a time Efor mass-media consumption. This has been a slow process, taking several decades. Few evangelicals would recognize the word “dominionismEor know what it means. This is because other terminologies have been developed which soft-sell dominionism, concealing the full scope of the agenda. Many evangelicals (and even their more conservative counterparts, the fundamentalists) may adhere to tidbits of dominionism without recognizing the error. This is because dominionism has “crept in unawaresE(Jude 4) to seduce an undiscerning generation.

    To most effectively propagate their agenda, dominionist leaders first developed new ecclesiologies, eschatologies and soteriologies for targeted audiences along the major denominational fault lines of evangelical Christianity. Then the 1990s Promise Keepers men’s movement was used as a vehicle to “break down the wallsE i.e., cross denominational barriers for the purpose of exporting dominionism to the wider evangelical subculture.7 This strategy was so effective that it reached into the mainline Protestant denominations. Dominionists have carefully selected leaders to be trained as “change agentsEfor “transformationE(dominion) in an erudite manner that belies the media stereotype of southern-talking, Bible-thumping, fundamentalist half-wits.

    The 3 sects of evangelical dominionism

    There are three predominant sects (or movements) that propagate dominion theology which hold considerable influence over evangelicaldom.

  2. Not what I taught.

    What part of "not of this world" is not understood?

    Why would I come back to establish an earthly kingdom when the Kingdom is "not of this world"?

    Dominionism is seeded in the idea that this world is real, important, and worth fighting for.

    On all three accounts, its not.

    Dominionism was already growing when the bible was being edited, and words were put into my mouth.