27 September 2010

Answering Questions #1- Dominionism

Periodically, I receive questions via email and sometimes they are of a nature beneficial to the general audience. So I'm starting an ongoing series called...Answering Questions. I will keep them all anonymous.

Answering Questions #1

What do I mean by Dominionism?

Definitions can be quite vexing.

I've realized as I've perused some of the other sites where I comment on occasion that many there are writing of one type of 'Dominionism'...while I'm generally writing about something else.

The Dominionism I'm talking about is a theologically based attempt to take over and bring into submission the existing political and cultural powers. This is the driving doctrine of Sacralism...the quest for a Holy Society.

Here's a decent Wiki-article on the type of Dominionism I'm interacting with.

This teaching is based on a misreading and abuse of the 'dominion' passage in Genesis 1. Dominionism is a broad term which would certainly include Postmillennialists and Theonomists, but can also include members of the Evangelical Christian Right. Many adherents within this movement are Dispensational in theology and not specifically Theonomic, but definitely push and support the idea of a Christian America.

This is a position which I not only reject for historic reasons, but more specifically for theological ones. In fact, I view it as a gross perversion of the Gospel of The Kingdom preached by Jesus Christ.

I've indicated elsewhere that I find most of our theologically conservative cultural commentators heartily embrace the Dominionist-Sacralist worldview, and thus more often than not their commentaries are seriously skewed if not flat wrong or sometimes just worthless.

There are many who are standing for the Bible, but have embraced Nationalism which is nothing more than idolatry. That sounds harsh, but if you think it through...it becomes pretty clear.

Along those lines I listened to two recent Crosstalk broadcasts. It’s a popular radio show, for those unfamiliar with it. One of them, taking the topic of America's Christian Heritage was a perfect example of what I'm talking about. To put it simply, very bad history, and even worse theology...and thus a very skewed and dishonest assessment of current events. The host runs a website called Slice of Laodicea which often contains good critiques of what's happening in what she rightly calls The Circus Church. Nevertheless, the Americanism, and definite Dominionism embraced by the host more or less ruins its value. Other recent programmes have promoted Kuyperian views of Vocation and the Arts, without explaining the real theology behind it. I’m all for working to the glory of God and I enjoy the arts and have no wish to reject them, but what they’re promoting is quite different.

Another recent broadcast had a guest-host interviewing Bob Dewaay concerning....Dominionism.

For the most part...it was a good show.

But what they were talking about was something quite different. This had to do with the Word of Faith movement, Peter Wagner and the modern day Apostles.

This seems to be what many understand to be Dominionism. It’s an accurate label, but it just makes these discussions all the more confusing. There are so many terms for different concepts, and they overlap and aren’t always used the same way. When referencing this, I will refer to is as Charismatic Dominionism. This Dominionism is also absolutely wrong.

The position I'm advocating at Proto-Protestantism is that the historic visible Church has always maintained the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. This is often referred to as a Reformation doctrine, a claim I reject. For centuries prior to the Reformers, there were multitudes in the Medieval Underground holding tenaciously to this doctrine. They had secret schools and cells wherein the Scriptures were studied, memorized, copied, and then distributed.

They rejected the Medieval Roman liturgical system as well as the Constantinian system and their arguments were rooted in Scripture.

Thus, championing the cause of Sola Scriptura...Scripture Alone, I wish to make it clear, I do not believe we have any sort of new revelation today..the Final Word was given in Christ and his handpicked Apostles. When the Apostolic age ended, the revelation of God was complete, and the Canon established.

I view Canon as a Covenant-document concept. God specifically gives His Revelation to His people in a specific context. It is His Covenant (arrangement/administration) given to us in Word form. It is the means, the governing document by which the New Covenant Church and thus salvation is administered. There are many theologies today, especially in the anti-institutional sphere (with which I have sympathies) who completely reject the idea of means. They don’t believe God works in time and space through objective forms, like the Church...instead it’s subjective....me and my Bible. The Church also has means, Baptism and The Lord’s Supper, but for many people these things are quaint but ultimately pretty meaningless exercises....because starting with the subjective, it’s the Spirit alone that gives life.

Just because some have abused the doctrine of the Church, doesn’t mean we reject it. And, I realize some readers do at the moment feel like it’s me and my Bible, and I don’t mean necessarily to attack that. If you’ve read anything here, you know I’m arguing for a remnant-theology based in a time of apostasy. The practical reality can often end up being...me and my Bible, but that would never be the desired ideal. We might turn to it out of necessity, but we always should desire to be part of a Church, partaking of ‘the means’ God has given us.

But for many, it’s not even me and my Bible...it’s really more me and what I feel God is telling me. Even depending on the Bible alone is not viewed favourably. They pay lip service to the Bible, but in the end, it’s what they feel. I think they are misunderstanding what the Bible is. They are not viewing in terms of Canon.

This is very important in how we understand what the Bible is, and also how the Old and New Testaments/Covenants relate to each other. For those who don't know, the Greek word Diatheke in almost every case means Covenant. Only in one passage in Hebrews can a strong case be made for it to be translated as Testament. Nevertheless, we refer to our two portions of Scripture as Old and New Testaments (Diatheke).

Any claims today of new revelation are from my standpoint to be rejected, thus I categorically reject any of the claims or teachings of this Charismatic/Apostolic Dominionism.

Am I saying that all who are labeled Charismatic are lost? No, I wouldn't dare and I know there are wide variations in what people believe and practice. There are many different camps and very different concepts concerning the gifts and continuing revelation...

But with these modern day Word of Faith people....it's a totally different story.

This may sound strange but from my standpoint I guess I just take it for granted that anyone grounded in Scripture, when turning on Joyce Meyer or any of these people, recognizes them to be frauds within.....oh, about 30 seconds.

But apparently this is not the case!

I'm also sorry to say that from what I've read and heard it also sounds like these people are basically dabbling in the occult, divination and demonism. There are numerous testimonies of people who have left the occult and then encountered this variety of Charismatic Christianity only to discover their practices are almost the same, just with different verbiage.

I don't really intend to spend a lot of time talking about this type of Dominionism. There are others who have already done so and are far more knowledgeable regarding this topic.

Are there any ties between the Dominion-isms? Not sure. If someone knows, please feel free to comment or email me. I do know that D James Kennedy and a few other Theonomists worked aggressively to bring Charismatics on board, and as I've said....Kuyperian ideas via Francis Schaeffer have been dispersed and popularized by Robertson, Colson, Dobson, and many more. It wouldn't surprise me if some within this hyper-Charismatic movement have latched onto it and put their own spin on it.

What about the Kingdom being now? Isn't that what I'm saying? That the Kingdom is a present reality?

Yes, but as with so many other issues....on a surface level there might be some similarity or like terminologies but in reality what we're saying is vastly different.

Theological Dominionists are trying to bring about an actualized Temporal or Geo-political/cultural construct they call The Kingdom of God. They work toward this goal by Sacralizing Cultural Endeavours (a revising of the Biblical concept of Calling) and labouring to subvert/overtake existing governments in order to transform them.

Charismatic Dominionists are trying to return to Apostolic age of miraculous signs and wonders in order to bring about a very like minded concept of the Kingdom.

So in one sense they do share a common end....the means and authority base is quite different.

Theological Dominionists are in serious error, but they do fall within the confines of Scriptural authority. That is to say, they recognize Scripture, in fact are over-taxing it beyond what it is meant for. Their crime is not denial, rejection, or replacing the Scriptures with something else, but one of extreme Eisegesis, or reading into Scripture that which is not there.

Whether Charismatic Dominionists reject Sola Scriptura in a de facto or de jure manner is subject for debate. Nevertheless by embracing new revelation, they cannot make any claim to Scripture alone as an authority.

This alone is sufficient reason to reject their claims and system.

There is something else at work among many of these people. There is a real fleshly desire, a real pride in trying to attain be the mediators of new or secret knowledge. It reminds me very much of what Paul was fighting with the Gnostic infiltrators. With this system, if you play your cards right, you can be somebody, an inner elite, a spiritual aristocracy.

It’s also very frustrating to argue with these people and this where it takes on a cult-like flavour. When you try to argue from Scripture, they contend it by saying they have a revelation from God. How can you argue with that? Will you question God?

Obviously among the leadership there is something wicked at work. Who are the leaders? This movement cannot always be clearly defined. It’s a broad movement incorporating soft-types like Joyce Meyer, to the more extreme cases...like the demonic Todd Bentley. For some, I do think they know they’re frauds and are simply getting obscenely rich, and for others they have succumbed to self-deification. If they’re lost, which I do believe these people are, this kind of power will corrupt and expose the deep and dark perversities within the human heart. I was thinking of this over the weekend as I followed the latest scandal with the ‘Prophet’ out of Georgia that looks to be in considerable trouble.

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